Irish-born Bostonian Kieran McWilliam still remembers
his very first Guinness at Reddy's in Carlow - his preferred stomping ground on
the old sod. Clearly, it made an impact: for more than 20 years, McWilliam has
been behind the bar at Brighton's Irish
Village, pulling perfect
pints of the lauded stout. With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner and Boston on the brink of
transforming into a shamrock-sprinkled Guinness wonderland, we tapped McWilliam
for tips on getting the most out of our swigging.
On pouring: "The
effort that goes into pouring the perfect pint, and the satisfaction that comes
after a customer takes a swig and says, ‘That's a great pint - well done, lad,'
makes my day," says McWilliam. He recommends using a 20-ounce tulip glass for
the optimum pint. Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle, fill it three-fourths of
the way, and let it settle for a few minutes; then top off and serve. Pouring
the pint straight and serving it immediately doesn't allow the beer to achieve
the creaminess you're looking for.
On pairing: Pair
your pint with oysters on the half shell - McWilliam's personal favorite - or
any traditional Irish dish, like beef stew, fish and chips, or shepherd's pie.
On what you should be
looking for: Right from the get-go, you
should be tasting toasty barley notes, with a soft note of hops. Keep an eye
out when you put your glass down - when you see the cream or head sticking to
the glass, your bartender knows what he's doing.
On Guinness tasting better
is the most popular, iconic drink in Ireland," McWilliam says. "The damp
or cool weather, friendliness of Irish folks, and traditional music provide a
festive atmosphere that make a pint taste even better. It may be a placebo
effect, but we're lucky enough in the US to have great Irish pubs that
create an authentic Irish vibe to go along with a perfect pint."
On the best Guinness mixed
drink: McWilliam goes in for the Black Velvet (Guinness and cider), the
Blacksmith (Guinness and Smithwick's), or the Black and Blue (Guinness and
The Irish Village
:: 224 Market St,
Brighton :: 617.787.5427 or