Out of the multitude of holidays and occasions that I celebrate in my garage bar each year, few are as eagerly anticipated as Saint Patrick's Day, or St. Patty's Day to some. It’s always a bit tough to properly celebrate as some years it may fall on a random weekday, but this year it happens to fall on a Thursday, which, in my garage coincides with “Thursday Night Drinking Club” or what we affectionately refer to as “TNDC.” Although it doesn’t occur every Thursday night, it happens several times each month and a variety of friends and neighbors show up to my garage bar for happy hour. I typically have a taco bar with all the fixings and, as always, more brown water than you can shake a stick at. We’ll forgo the typical taco extravaganza March 17th for more traditional fare and ask that folks bring a properly themed dish or dessert to share. I have taken to making Guinness Beef Stew most years, which is a hearty meal that tends to be a crowd pleaser – google it and you'll find a number of equally good recipes!
Just like any other year, this year is no different and as tradition holds, I’ll have Guinness on draft – and although the occasional car bomb may sneak in, we’ve largely matured past that phase of life, sadly perhaps? I recall quite fondly, the first time I had Guinness on tap in my garage, and I must say, it really felt like I’d transcended into some elite club – I mean, it had been a life goal. Guinness on tap – in my home. CHECK!!! Rather foolheartedly, the first time I poured a draft on nitro with the whistling of the tap at some forty PSI I thought how cool it was going to be to be making a killer shamrock on top…turns out, it’s a bit more difficult than you’d think.
Guinness Beer Foam Art
My first attempt at beer foam art – yes, I identify as a beer foam artist - kind of looked like my youngest who’s three, had taken and made one of her famous “scribble scrabble” drawings. It sucked. The trick I’ve found through pouring what at this point feels like thousands of glasses of Guinness is time. I’m frankly not a patient man so this is probably the most damning step of all for me but is the most mission critical in being able to properly build head and make a nice shamrock. It’s the exact reason that nine times out of ten when you get a Guinness out and about at any commercial establishment it's not poured right…people are in a hurry and time is money.
So, what is the proper amount of time to wait? It’s about two minutes. In two minutes time, you’ll have built up enough head to artfully craft whatever the heck you want – be that a shamrock, or in the case of me pouring a cold one for my buddy Jason, a large phallic symbol…because…friendship.
The 4-1-1 on Guinness on Tap
If you’ve never had Guinness on draft, just be sure that you have all the things including a nitro faucet, beer gas (a 75 percent nitrogen, 25 percent CO2 blend typically available at your local welding supply store --- given it’s a mix, be prepared to drop off your cylinder and come back to pick it up another time), and a U System keg coupler. I’ve got all these things (minus the gas) linked out on my shop page here to help you find it quicker. Just know that if you’re pouring from a can or a bottle it’s not going to have the same energy that it has on draft and you won’t be able to make much of a shamrock I’m afraid.
Show Off Your Shamrocks
*Beer foam art only, please! Have Guinness on tap in your home bar? Follow us on Instagram @thebourboneur and share your best shamrock foam art to celebrate St. Patty's Day with us. Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit, friends!