How to Drink a Guinness the Irish Way

Again and again, Portland finds itself at the top of every list for the best beer city anywhere in the world. We know beer because we love beer. But do we know the proper way to drink beer? On Jon and Rainer’s recent pub-crawling trip through Ireland, they were schooled on the proper way to pour and drink a Guinness and now they want to share their education with Portland’s beer aficionados. Because, as one Irish bartender told them, “Great bartenders know how to craft a perfect pint.”

Here are the finer points of pouring the perfect pint of Guinness:

FIrst beer in Dublin at the Hairy Lemon

FIrst beer in Dublin at the Hairy Lemon

The “Two Step Pour”

  1. Use a Guinness drinking glass, with the Guinness logo.
  2. Grip Guinness glass with fingers placed vertically along the side with your forefinger on the harp.
  3. Tilt the glass 45 degrees under the tap letting the beer pour onto the harp.
  4. Pull the tap handle all the way down, pouring onto the harp .
  5. When the beer level reaches bottom of the harp, SLOWLY rotate the glass upright and “STOP at the top” of the harp.
  6. Set on bar for viewing and wait 2 minutes, or when the liquid part of the drink reaches the bottom of the harp and the foam is settled on the top.
  7. Finish filling the glass with the glass held straight down under the tap.
  8. Pour to the very top to create a head that is 3mm above glass and 18mm below to create “provide of the rim,” or the beautiful presentation of a traditional pint of Guinness.


The “One Step Pour” for Guinness in the can.

  1. Place the can on a level surface.
  2. Open the can and allow it to sit for five to ten seconds.
  3. Tilt the glass 45 degrees, and pour onto the harp.
  4. When the level reaches the bottom of the harp, level the glass vertically and finish the pour to create the famous Guinness head.

Yukon - Guinness Can.jpg

Note: Don’t be surprised when you pop open a can of Guinness and hear a rattling sound inside. All Guinness cans come with a patented “widget” ball. It’s a little plastic ball that provides movement inside the can to create the optimal head on their thick and creamy stout. Those Guinness brewers think of everything!

And most importantly: How to Drink a Guinness, according to the Guinness master brewer.

Guinness drinkers stand proud! You’ve earned your space at the bar.

  1. Elbow up to a horizontal position
  2. Eyes to the horizon.
  3. Tilt the glass head and enjoy the flavor of the beer. The head should be same size from the first sip to the last.

If you want to practice your skills at drinking Guinness the traditional way visit us at the Yukon Tavern in the Southeast Portland district, Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood. Jon and Rainer have just purchased brand new Guinness glasses, so we’ll be ready for you when you want to study the finer points of Guinness drinking!

Yukon Tavern2

One thought on “How to Drink a Guinness the Irish Way

  1. Pingback: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day With a Beer and a Whiskey at the Yukon Tavern | Yukon Tavern Blog

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