That was awesome.
So good to be back. Thanks to all of y’all: especially Bullfrog, Rebecca, and little Miss Callie.
I got interrupted from my top ten this morning by an airport cab driver who had the gall to arrive early, and my laptop’s currently checked into a baggage hold somewhere so I can’t finish it…
So I’m sitting waiting now for my flight to Jackson, Mississippi to board. This’ll be the first time I’ve been back to Meridian since summer camp out at Camp Binachi in 1996. Really looking forward to seeing Bullfrog, Patsy, Cindy, Tony, Ranger Bill, and whoever else we run into, and going for a trip out to the campsite if it isn’t lashing with rain.
Does anyone know what it is that makes a good pint of Guinness?
I guess it isn’t difficult to assess a bad pint, but what categorically puts a good one over a mediocre or even average one?
The question’s prompted mainly by my meeting in Dublin on Wednesday – in the cab to the airport my distinguished cow-orker said to the cab driver “There’s nowhere at the airport you can get a good pint of Guinness, is there? Can you drop us somewhere near the airport which does a good pint?” (thereby demonstrating that he’s a man of the people who appreciates cultural nuance, and not just some smug English businessman). The cab driver dropped us at a place a short walk from the airport which apparently the air crews all go to when they knock off, which does a good pint. Two black pints duly arrive, and as promised, they tasted a lot like Guinness does.
The thing is, Guinness tastes like Guinness, and my limited understanding of it is that it’s all chilled & dispensed from nitrokeg, and that when brewed under license it has the same ingredient list (with the exception of Nigerian brewed Guinness, whose grain component is sorghum and which has it’s own distinctive taste).
So assuming the starting materials are the same, the variables you would have are: the nitrogen pressure (assuming that’s the propellant gas), the length of time the kegs been there, the line distance between cellar and tap, the refrigeration temperature, the distance between the tap nozzle and the glass when the pint is poured, the cleanness of the glass, the technique of the pourer, and how often and well the lines are cleaned. Height of the bar above sea level may be a factor too.
I can’t quite put my finger on what makes a pint “good” – I used to think that an easy indicator was the structure that the head made: on a good one you could hold the glass up and tip it by 5 or 10 degrees about a fixed point. The top of the head would remain level, and the “wall” of the head would remain intact, giving the head the appearance of a chunk of icecream.
I imagined that a good pint was slightly more viscous than an average one, although I can’t substantiate that.
I’ve heard anecdotal stories about pub landlords so proud of the quality of their Guinness that they’ve taken pub regulars on trips to Dublin to make comparison, although if what the cab driver said was true then the landlord could have preplanned to take his punters to certain pubs which he’d figured out supported whatever his theory was.
As it was, you couldn’t get a good pint of Guinness at the airport: the bars we saw only sold Murphy’s, another local stout, which I find easily as drinkable as Guinness.
Someone out there MUST have an answer to the question, surely? I’m not going to write on it any further however, as I’m stuck standing in a train vestibule, and this is just making me want a pint.
Woooo! Hello from Leicester Square for the charity screening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark:The Adaptation” – a fan made tribute to one of the best films ever, shot over 5 years and on a budget of about 5 grand. Co-pilots Neonwombat & HC join me at this exciting event.
The fun part is that even on the miniscule budget, it’ll be better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Here we go!
For some reason I was recently alerted to a new word for my vocabulary. Ordinarily this is an opportunity to be relished, and customarily this initiates an intesne but short-lived campaign for me to try to work my newfound linguistic extension into the earliest possible conversational window it will fit into. Unfortunately options for this word are more restricted than some others. The word in question (and please don’t ask who I was talking to or how this came up, because I genuinely don’t remember) is “feague“. Wikipedia cites a dictionary entry from the early 19th century to provide meaning for the term:
To feague a horse is to put ginger up a horse’s fundament, and formerly, as it is said, a live eel, to make him lively and carry his tail well. It is said, a forfeit is incurred by any horse-dealer’s servant, who shall show a horse without first feaguing him.
Thankfully the practice is now frowned upon in equestrian circles, as it’s not difficult to imagine that “lively” is possibly an understatement of the description of the reaction of jamming a hunk of ginger into a horse’s ringpiece. Apparently the practice is performed by humans in some fairly “specialist” circles, albeit with what I understand to be a smaller piece of ginger.
But it’s not the seasoning of one’s freckle, nor that of one’s horse, that inspired this post. It was in fact the 18th century term – fundament. The common meaning is as described above: the arse.
This is interesting when considered in terms of the label “fundamentalist” – now obviously a portmanteau of the words “mentalist”, and “fundament”. Or to put it another way: someone who is both insane, and an arsehole.