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Pouring a perfect pint of Guinness

Scripps Howard News Service

Must credit Tampa Bay Times

By SUSAN THURSTON

Tampa Bay Times

More people raise a glass of Guinness on St. Patrick's Day than on any other day of the year. And while there might not be an art to drinking it, there's certainly an art to pouring it.

For particulars, we went straight to Four Green Fields, a Tampa, Fla., Irish bar.

Here's a guide on how to create the perfect pour from bartenders John Nolan and Adrian Moloney. Read it with your best Irish accent for full effect.

1. Start with a tulip-shaped glass with the Guinness logo. It holds 20 ounces, quite a bit more than a traditional pint. The glass should be stored at room temperature. (A chilled glass will yield a smaller head.)

2. Pour the beer at a 45-degree angle until the glass is three-quarters full. The Guinness should be stored at about 45 degrees -- 10 degrees warmer than most draft beers. To be poured correctly from the keg, the beer requires a mix of 75 percent nitrogen and 25 percent carbon dioxide. Forget the nitrogen, and the head will be flat -- and totally unacceptable to Guinness drinkers. A special valve mounted on the end of the tap limits the flow.

3. Let the glass stand a good 90 seconds as the beer settles. Guinness fans are patient and consider it well worth the wait. In the interim, make sure a newbie doesn't try to grab it early and walk away. Surprisingly, this does happen, Nolan said.

4. Fill the glass to the top, creating a 3/4-inch creamy head. Authentic Irish pubs will form a shamrock in the head to bring the drinker good luck. Four Greens does it for new customers as a novelty, Nolan said. Regulars just want the beer. Nolan creates the clover by moving the glass under the beer stream in the shape of shamrock. It takes a little practice.

5. Pass the finished Guinness to its owner. Collect payment. Watch the customer enjoy it to the last sip and wish you had one, too.

(Email sthurston(at)tampabay.com.)

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com)