How To Spot A Sh*te Pint Of Guinness According To 2 Of My Favourite Pubs In Ireland

Dick Mack's & Gus O'Connor's Tell All

I was recently sat with a friend in a pub in Dublin that will remain unnamed.

It was a Saturday afternoon, the sun was shining, and we had just nestled ourselves into seats that offered a mighty view out over the River Liffey.

On the table in front of us stood 2 fine looking pints of Guinness.

After easing ourselves back into our squishy seats, we took a quiet moment to size up and admire what lay before us. 

guinness mayo
Not the pints in question

Now, I always try to gauge the quality of a pint by sight first – if the head looks plump and creamy, I’ve learned from drinkers experience that it’s likely to be a tasty pint.

This isn’t always the case though.

And it certainly didn’t prove true on this occasion. After carefully picking up my pint and taking that first, all-important draw, the bitterness of the liquid battered my tastebuds.

A sure sign of a shite pint.

How to tell if a pint of Guinness is likely to be shite

I don’t know many barmen or women that have been working in the trade for more than 2 years.

So, I decided to ask two of my favourite pubs in Ireland, Dick Mack’s in Dingle and Gus O’Connor’s in Doolin, both of which have served me many a velvety pint in the past, how best to spot a shite pint.

Here’s what the lads at Dingle’s Dick Mack’s had to say

dick macs pub dingle
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

What to look out for when you’ve ordered

‘A pint takes time, there’s no point in the pourer rushing it! It’s a ritual and people drink with their eyes first.

Glassware should be spotless!
 
Watch out for a film on the glass – it kills the pint! This can come from too much detergent or grease.
 
Many bars use 2 glass washers if they serve food and coffee/tea to avoid this grease.
 
At Dick Mack’s, we don’t serve food, tea or coffees – just plain old porter.’
 
guinness at the dingle Skellig hotel

How it should look

‘A pint should look the part – dark and wavy with a nice white creamy head on top that sits a little over the rim of the glass. Just enough to cause the carrier to use a steady hand!

It should not be bubbly, or have lots of dots in it – if it does it could be rushed or the line/tap head could need cleaning!’

How it should taste

‘Well, we all know a tasty pint when we receive one!
 
It is hard to find a bad pint these days as Guinness clean all their own lines regularly. A slow moving line will taste flat, almost watery. A fresh clean line will taste refreshing.’
 
Here’s a pint I was served in Dick Mack’s a while back… delicious.
 
guinness in dick macs pub dingle
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Here’s what the lads at Doolin’s Gus O’Connor’s had to say

gus o'conners pub doolin
Photo via Gus O’Conners on Facebook

What to look out for when you’ve ordered

‘A bad pint can be spotted before it is even served.
 
A good pint needs to be served in a proper Guinness pint glass (known as a tulip glass).
 
The pint glass has to be held at a 45-degree angle when the Guinness is being poured and it has to settle before it can be finished, that’s what we call a double pour.
 
If any of those elements aren’t done properly, you know already that you won’t get a good pint, so make sure you watch your bartender closely!’

How it should look

‘After the pint has settled, pouring can resume and the pint can be filled to the top slowly.
 
Once it has settled again, you could recognise a bad pint easily by looking at its head.
 
If it has any bubble or if it is either to thin or to thick (a good head should have a height of about 2cm) it’s not a good sign!’
 

bar in the shandon

How it should taste

‘The taste that defines a good pint of Guinness the most is that roasted taste Guinness has, a bit coffee-like.’

Final Verdict

A quick Google when you arrive in a city or town in search of a pint will usually lead you on the right path to a great pint.

Places like Reddit tend to have an ample number of threads surrounding the subject.

Happy drinking, folks.

Related Read: Here’s the best pint of Guinness in Dublin for a fiver or less.
Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

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