Guinness go Bragh

16 Mar

(Apologies for probably mangling the Gaelic there.)

While you’re getting ready to go out, drink beer, and sing “The Wild Rover” until your heart’s content (or your bartender shuts you off), I thought I’d throw some interesting tidbits about Guinness at you.  But first: The Dropkick Murphys:

First fun fact:  Arthur Guinness negotiated a 9000-year lease for the land on which he built the Guinness brewery in Dublin.  They have the original document on display as you walk in for the tour:

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They are indeed tied to that famous trivia book.  The one that always has the pictures of the people with the longest fingernails that squicks me out.

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You can’t see the story of how it started very well in that picture, so from the wikipedia page:

On 4 May 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Breweries, went on a shooting party in the North Slob, by the River Slaney in County Wexford, Ireland. He became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe, the koshin golden plover or the grouse. That evening at Castlebridge House he realised that it was impossible to confirm in reference books whether or not the golden plover was Europe’s fastest game bird.

Beaver knew that there must be numerous other questions debated nightly in pubs throughout Ireland and Britain, but there was no book with which to settle arguments about records. He realised then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular.

I am terribly sorry to say that the video I really, really wanted to show you here seems to be no longer available.  A friend of ours introduced us first to Top Gear, and then to James May and Oz Clarke drinking their way around France, the US, and Britain.  During a trip to Dublin, May challenged the normally long-winded Oz to give the complete history of stout and porter in the time it took them to walk through a tunnel.  It was hilarious and informative, and is sadly not easily found on teh intarwebz.  So instead, I will leave you with another bit of Oz and James wisdom, in which Oz theorizes on the backbone of civilization:  beer.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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