Iam not a big beer drinker. I really struggled in my early days living in London serially downing pints of lager to keep up with my colleagues at the pub after work. A pint is a lot of liquid you know, you metric minded europhiles, 0.56 litres to be exact. And beer is an acquired taste, as someone said, I haven't yet fully acquired. The fact that in Bangalore one was used to big bottles of Kingfisher drunk slowly poured into glasses doesn't help either. I gradually settled into drinking light lagers in pints, but still often drink the first pint too quickly. This led, so many times, to more pints being consumed in total - especially during summer months when Fullers of Chiswick bring out their summer brew Discovery - that I now restrict myself to long neck bottles on principle. I don't like half pints.
This ambling preamble was needed for you to understand why I don't do well on social outings in Dublin. I have just been to that very enchanting city for two more days of business meetings. And even the recession softened pliability of my clients couldn't mitigate my dejection at being severely out drunk by those fun loving Guinness worshippers who actually revere Arthur's Day, perhaps, secretly, a wee bit more than St P's. Today I drank a half pint of Guinness.
The well informed will tell you a Guinness drunk in Ireland is different. From anywhere else in the world. In London a pint is a pint - a bored pub worker quickly pulls it spilling a bit and charges you close to 250 rupees - even if it's a Guinness. Not so in Dublin. My man Donnchadh pulled the namby half pint glass full, set it on the counter, and instead of letting me have it, he disappeared, good man. I kept an eye on my soon-to-be-drink and slowly discerned the method in the madness. The brown fluid slowly, surely, purposely settled. Until the glass was only half full. Then he topped it up, charged me a hundred and fifty odd rupees, and let me have it. Finally. Boy what a head, and what a body. Aptly, Grand ! So my initiation was a cold summer Guinness drunk quickly in a half pint glass while the last call for Aer Lingus 184 was booming out across Dublin airport. When the well informed tell you a Guinness drunk in Ireland is different, take their word, it is.