Corkey Trivia Blog

Corkey Trivia: The Guinness Surge

Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, bars around the United States serve pint after pint of green beer.  The Irish emerald green you’ll find everywhere in the city of New York: green bagels, green Entemans, and the Empire State Building glowing a bonnie Irish green on the day that everyone is Irish.  But if you go to Ireland on Saint Patrick’s Day, the beer is never green. It’s black – or actually “dark ruby,” according to the Guinness brewery’s website.

In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed an astounding 9,000-year lease on a dilapidated Dublin brewery. The rent: £48 a year. Competition was fierce among Dublin brewers. Friends of the 34-year-old entrepreneur thought he was being ridiculous. He began pumping out two varieties: an ale, and a darker “stout porter,” so named because it was popular among porters in London. Against big odds, his dark beer thrived, By 1914, Guinness had the largest brewery in the world.

The Guinness Book of Records first appeared in Britain in 1955, having been commissioned by the Guinness brewery as a book for settling bar bets. A number of spin-off books and television series have since been produced. It is said that in pubs, it takes a full two minutes to pour a Guinness from the tap because the beer is so thick and rich.  But, the results are worth the wait, a one inch head of Guinness foam imparting the beer with a layer of satisfying creaminess.  Sympathetic to the headless plight of Guinness drinkers at home, in the 1970s,Guinness spent £300,000 (a lot of money on those days)to develop the widget. (“Widget” is a term commonly used in textbooks as a replacement term for situations where the identity of the product or function is irrelevant and could be distracting.)Guinness’ widget (small nitrogen filled plastic balls inside Guinness cans) made the frothy head of their draft beer available anywhere anytime.  It’s very close to what you would find in a pub.  When pouring Guinness from a can, one long smooth pour is all that is needed to enjoy perfection.

Their latest advancement in bringing the Guinness pub experience home is their “Surger”.  This Guinness experience is a wee bit more involved than simply pouring the beer out of its can, but it makes a great show.  The “Surger” is a small metal plate that sends ultrasonic pulses up through the dark beer creating a cascade effect which creates the same creamy thick rich foam head in the black Guinness stout that you would find in a pub.  It looks really cool cascading through the beer, and the taste is spot on.  But there’s more than just one step involved in creating this magical experience, so, at the present time in Hawaii, we are leaving the “Surge” process to sober professionals in bars without taps.

Guinness Joke: The CEOs of the big beer companies meet at a bar for a drink.  The The CEO of Corona orders a Corona.  CEO of Budweiser orders a Bud. The CEO of Miller gets a Miller, the CEO of Coors drinks a Coors.

The CEO of Guinness orders a Coca-Cola.  The bartender asks, “Why didn’t you order a Guinness?”  The CEO of Guinness replies, “If you guys aren’t having a beer, then neither will I.”

Erin Go Braugh! (a St. Pat’s day Irish Toast)

Liane Fu

About Liane Fu

Certified Sommelier, General Manager, President Liane was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated from the Kamehameha Schools in 1977, and worked in the bookkeeping department of Villa Roma, a women’s retail clothing store owned by her mother Audrey Fu, before flying off to college in New York City. She was a physics major at New York University (NYU). In her first semester, she attended a concert that was interpreted for the deaf. She became fascinated by the idea of communication through movement which for her was kind of like hula on steroids.


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