A Conversation With Guinness Brewmaster Fergal Murray

1204656687We believe that it’s never too early to start thinking about St. Patrick’s Day, largely because we have to remember to take the day off if we want to spend it sitting in our favorite local Irish bar. But the people at Guinness would like to change all that with Proposition 3-17, which would make the day a national holiday.

We talked to Guinness Brewmaster Fergal Murray about how he got his sweet job, the best way to drink a pint, and how St. Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day can coexist peacefully.

Murray got his start brewing the famous stout, but now serves primarily as an advocate for the brand. He gets to travel to the 147 countries that sell Guinness to make sure bars are pouring pints correctly and talking about his favorite beer.

His ambassadorship will bring him to Boston next weekend to round up signatures for the Guinness petition and participate in his first Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade. It’s exactly where he wants to be.

“Where would I want to be on St. Patrick’s Day if you had a choice? I’d be somewhere in North America. We don’t throw a party like you guys do.”

Murray didn’t know about Boston’s Evacuation Day, but thought it was great that some locals already have the day off. But he believes everyone should sign the Proposition 3-17 petition, which needs slightly less than 906,000 signatures to make it to Congress.

“Let’s have a fun day, instead of representing presidents or veterans or God knows what else you represent. Let’s have a day where we have some fun. St. Patrick’s Day is known for that.” And yet Murray isn’t keen on the public drunkenness that the holiday has come to stand for — largely because he wants us to slow down and enjoy our pints.

“I will suggest that 99.9 percent of people in the world have never been taught how to drink a pint of Guinness,” he said. Since we cannot be agents of ignorance, here are the steps you should take to drink your beer.

Never look down at a pint of Guinness.

Next, bring the pint to your lips instead of lowering your head to the glass on the bar. “People sometimes take the head first and don’t really get into the liquid,” Murray said.

Break the seal. No, don’t take a trip to the bathroom—resist the urge to sip the head of the beer. Let the head touch your lips, keep your head up, and tilt the glass. “You must get enough liquid in your mouth to energize your taste buds to give it the full balanced flavor of Guinness.”

Don’t forget to drink from the same side of the glass. You should be able to see rings (like on a tree) that represent how many sips you’ve had. Resist the urge to drink the head until your last sip, which will cleanse your palate and should have you craving another pint.

“Go out there and have one now to get into training for St. Patrick’s Day.”

You heard the man. You don’t want to look foolish while decked out in your “Kiss Me I’m Irish” swag.