How to survive your first Guinness

Due to popular demand, I have updated this information with a step by step pictorial guide.

-oOo-

Most visitors to Ireland can’t wait to try a real pint of Guinness.

They are right. It’s the only country where you can get a real pint. The foreign stuff is the piss they scrape off the top. They have to get rid of it somewhere.

However, your first pint is potentially the most lethal trap you will have to encounter. 99% of tourists give themselves away on this one. So here is how to do it….

Enter the pub. Look nonchalant. Don’t look as if you are about to have a life changing experience. Walk casually to the bar and wait. Don’t call the barman. Don’t rap a coin on the counter. He’ll come to you.

If he speaks with a foreign accent, get the f*ck out of there. He won’t know how to pull a pint.

He’ll ask you what you want. Just say “pint, please”. If he asks “a pint of what?” then scowl at him and snarl “Guinness, of course”. Most barmen won’t ask anyway, as Guinness is the ‘pint’ by default.

He will then take a pint glass and fill it about two thirds to three quarters full and place it on the counter.

First Trap: LEAVE THE DRINK THERE. DON’T TOUCH IT! The barman will probably walk away. Don’t mind that. Just stare into the distance. Go have a pee or a quick fag. But you must wait.

After a minute or two, he will come back and top it up to a full pint. Again DO NOTHING. Just wait. He will tinker around with it for a moment, and will eventually bring it over to you.

If he has engraved a shamrock in the head of the pint, then I suggest you sit down and write out your Last Will and Testament. You are as good as dead. The barman has spotted that you are a tourist and has flagged you. The locals look for this and will be quietly loading ammunition into their guns.

Second Trap [assuming you are still alive]: DON’T TOUCH THE PINT. It will still be settling. You have to wait until there is a crisp demarcation line between the black and the white. The longer you wait, the better. At this stage, it is perfectly acceptable to stare at the pint.

Guinness

Third trap: The locals will be watching you to see how you approach the pint. If you try and slurp the white head off [or even worse, blow it off] you have signed your death certificate. The chances are that you will be hung off the wall and the locals will use you as a dartboard for the rest of the night.

Another fatal error is to sip the pint. Sipping is for nancies and their glasses of wine. This is Guinness, for f*ck’s sake. You grasp the glass firmly in your fist and gulp back at least a quarter, if not a third of the contents. Act like this is the first drink you’ve had since coming out of the desert [which it is].

At this stage, the locals will begin to relax. You are quite entitled to burp at this stage [actually, it's unavoidable], but don’t do it too loudly.

If you are a wimp, and don’t like the taste, DON’T SHOW IT. Keep calm. Nip up and order a whiskey. That is acceptable. It’s called a Chaser. But you must finish the pint before knocking back the whiskey. [Which would you rather? Drinking a Guinness, or being shot?].

The chances are, you will like it. You can relax now. You can now savour it a mouthful at a time.

To really convince the locals that you are not a tourist, wait until you have about two inches left in the glass. Then catch the barman’s eye and raise one finger. This is the signal to start processing the next pint. This should arrive just as you finish the first.

Of course this now means that you have to continue ordering pints. Don’t worry about it. You have survived, and that is something to celebrate [if you need an excuse, that is?].

All this has made me thirsty. I think I’ll go and have a pint or five.

It is, after all, Puppychild’s third birthday.

It is time she was introduced to her first pint.

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Comments

How to survive your first Guinness — 181 Comments

  1. Grandad, you are a genius. My boyfriend is French and before visiting Ireland for the first time I made him undergo strict Guinness ordering-and-drinking-training for 6 months. I, never mind him, would have been sent back to France on the first plane if, when my father asked him “So, what are you having?” he hadn’t said a pint, and thereafter followed all the steps you outlined in your post. If only I’d had this 4 years ago- I guess I can save it for the next boyfriend…

  2. The Guiness in Ireland is better I can testify to this! Mind you the guiness you get in north america is brewed in Seattle I think and what do the yanks know about beer

    Having said that I am more of a lager man and enjoyed many a pint of Tennants and Harp in the pubs of the North.

    Did have some guiness thoughI prefer my beer cold

    • Sean, leave the thinking to someone else if all you're going to do is throw out hearsay…. guinness is brewed in ireland, and exported to the US via canada. In no part of the US do they BREW guinness. Fun fact though, the guinness you taste in ireland IS different, and it has nothing to do with "the piss off the top". Guinness Original is only available in the UK and western Europe, or was until recently. Funilly enough, the beer that gets exported is actually a HIGHER abv% than in Ireland. Why? Because the UK taxes their drinks on the alcohol percentage (this might have changed in the recent past) and since Guinness is considered an after work, blue collar drink, they wanted it cheaper so they could drink more! And to respond to your condescending remark about how much yanks know about brewing beer…. we've been winning awards across Europe for over a hundred years with our lagers, and more recently have topped the charts on microbreweries and varietal beers. I myself am an accomplished home brewer and would love to school you on your pathetic attempt to look smart.

       

       

      • Hell yeah Clint! stupid ass sean not knowing whats up with real beer. you gotta love people who come onto posts, either informational, educational, funny or all three and do nothing but make it harder on others to enjoy what is being said. anyways. keep up the good work Clint. 

  3. I took the Italian to the Guinness Storehouse on his first trip to Ireland (obviously he had already had an intensive course on pint-ordering before being allowed touch Irish soil). In the bar at the end my “complimentary” pint had a 3mm flat bubbly yellow head which I promptly marched straight back to the bar and demanded be replaced with a decent pint. The Italian was mortified and said I over-reacted.

    If I didn’t leave him that day then I never will.

  4. Grandad, they should make posters of this and stick them in Dublin airport, and tourists should then be quizzed by the nice people at passport control.

    • the capitol of what? smelly men and hairy women? no thanks. imma stay in the USA and continue kicking ass with the greatest beer, bitches and warfare. murphys sucks cammel dick and beamish is toddler spit. 

  5. Well, when I’m obliged to enter a pub I’m usually extremely nervous as I’m just not a pub person. I know I’m bound to ask for the wrong thing, drink it in the wrong way and generally make a total arse of myself. I can’t stand Guinness for a start (general shock horror rage lynching etc). I prefer cider which thankfully after years of being a laughable blunder has come back into fashion. So I’m now marginally more at ease.

  6. Gosh! As I woman, and an American, I didn’t quite do it right on my spring visit to Ireland. I’m afraid I sipped. Of course we had a female tour guide. Anyway, I survived, as is evidenced by the fact that I have been back in the USA for several months since my trip. I confess to being more of a white wine type anyway, and I can imagine your attitude towaard that!

  7. I was so thirsty, when I had my first “true” Guinness that I downed it in one continuous motion. I received quite a few snarls and scowls for that! :)

    Wish Puppychild a very happy birthday from all of us bloggers and podcasters. :)

  8. I love Guinness but the only place I really enjoy it is when in the West of Ireland. It slips down ever so easily with a plateful of fresh crab salad and brown bread – yum!

    I holidayed there this summer with someone from New Zealand and took great pleasure in introducing her to the art of drinking Guinness. After a day or so she insisted on getting the drinks while I sat outside to enjoy some rare sunshine. She soon returned with two pints but both only three quarters full and announced in a rage that the barman had buggered off without a word, leaving them for her on the counter. We fell about the place laughing once I’d explained her mistake! By the end of the holiday she was downing more pints than I ever could.

    I’m planning to send her your detailed instructions, Grandad, as I’ve no doubt she’ll be back again and I wouldn’t like her to get shot!

    Hope you had a good celebration in today’s lovely sunshine 8)

  9. Sean – You started off well and on the right track. Then you let yourself down with a bang, talking about beer and lager….

    Caro – You did the right thing. Bad pints should ALWAYS be returned and a new one demanded. [Unless, of course, you enjoy a nice dose of the squits?]

    Cathy – NO!! On no account should the contents here be passed on. I am writing purely to ensure the safety of my readers. Anyone who doesn’t read my blog deserves to die….

    Grannymar – Thanks! And your congratulations were passed on. Puppychild is now drunk as a skunk and is throwing rocks at Herself [in between throwing up]. She’s having a great time.

    Robert – Other way around. Guinness is for real men. Murphys and Beamish are for Red Neck Culchies who can’t hold down a real pint.

    Nick – Just stay at home….

    Marlys – If you had properly slugged back a pint of Guinness, you’d never look a wine bottle in the neck again.

    Jefferson – Fair play to ya!! To slug back a full pint is the sign of a true [thirsty] man. Anyone who snarled and scowled must have been a tourist.

    Puppychild has now passed out and is beyond congratulations.

    Steph – You are my kind of man woman. Guinness is great with seafood. As for your New Zealand friend – I rest my case!

  10. Those crab salads or crab meat on toast with the bread, to die for. Yummy.
    Grandad unlucky of me that I had not read such a post as yours prior to my first visit to Ireland. It was quite the embarrassing experience to get slapped on the hand and then being sent back to my seat with clear instructions to wait. Nevertheless, we learn much quicker and never forget, by making the mistakes instead of just reading instructions and trying in vain not to make any mistakes. The latter leads to a chain of tourist style faux pas one after the other, hence rendering one prime target for a bit of tourist shooting at worst and butt end of cruel jokes at best.
    Thank you these two posts were full of brilliant survival information! Maybe one day, eventually I will be able to take out my bullet proof vest….

  11. I wish you’d hold a seminar in the UK to this effect. I’m sick of giving out to barmen about their one-stage pouring. You’d think being so close geographically they’d have a clue.

    Somebody told me that Guinness isn’t actually (for the most part) brewed in Ireland, but rather Nigeria. Is this true or am I being a gullible twat again?

    For the record, the Guinness in the brewery in Dublin is one of the worst I’ve ever tasted. They clean their pipes way too often. You want a good pint, you go swimming in the Irish Sea and then jump into your nearest Sheebeen for a pint. THAT’s Guinness. Dirty Guinness from dirty pipes. Yum.

  12. Oh! And I’ve passed on all your happy birthdays to the ickle one, thank you! :) She’s now in overload mode and sitting on the couch very quietly with a caned expression. What goes up…

  13. Sorry, can’t stand the stuff. I guess Irish pubs will be out of bounds unless I can learn to do shots of Irish Whiskey and redeem myself on that level. Tastes like Rusty Poo but it makes a great hair rinse and gives you’re casserole a lovely rich gravy!

  14. My brother introduced me to Guinness originally (I had been a lager drinker before that, and not too happy about it). He made the important point that you have to drink the entire pint, not just try a sip, or you just won’t appreciate it. How right he was!

    I’ve just noticed that “pint” and “shot” are the same keystrokes on a phone…

  15. K8 – Guinness brewed in Nigeria? What? You must be getting confused with the colour of it?

    Good point about the Guinness served in the brewery though – gnat’s piss. Best Guinness in Dublin – Mulligan’s of Poolbeg Street [or it used to be....]

    Infidel and Robert B – Whiskey is a suitable alternative to Guinness, but it must be Irish. Scotch is passable at a pinch, but bourbon? Yech!!

    Robert [without a 'B'] – You got there before me! I noticed that too about the keystrokes! :)

  16. Despite being a regular reader I came across this post via Stumble. Gave you a thumbs up.

    Just to inform you, Guinness is made all over the place. It was either Nigeria or Lagos that had the third Guinness brewery in the world. All Guinness consumed in Ireland and the UK is produced here but as far as I know a lot of other countries get their Guinness from Nigeria and Indonesia.

    Also for people who don’t know, Guinness police the pubs in Ireland for quality control. Up until a few years ago they used to spot tests on the quality of the beer lines and give awards for consistent quality. A guy also calls around to pubs, orders a pint, watches how you do it and not until the end does he tell you if you did it correctly. They check to make sure its in the correct glass, that the glass appears clean, you pour at the right angle, you stop at the right time for settling and that you server with the correct head. This and the fact that its produced St James gate is why Ireland has the best Guinness in the world.

    Just in case you think I’m a psycho, my parents own a pub and I worked in it for years.

  17. TomTom – Well, I learn something new every day. I never knew they brewed the stuff in “Darkest Africa”!!

    Ireland is certainly the only place to get real Guinness!!

    So your parents own a pub? Can we be friends? Please? Pretty please? With a cherry on top?

    P.S. Thanks for the thumbs-up!

  18. Fuck off the man at the top and his “real” capital, but i have 2 agree wit him about the murphys its cheaper after all and its almost the same stuff

  19. Hey, Carl!! Are you my long lost son?? You’re welcome anyway.

    Ross – The key word in your comment is ‘almost’. Silver is almost as good as gold, and it’s cheaper.

  20. The Murphys is the same price as Guinness down here. But Beamish is 50c cheaper. Don’t know about prices elsewhere.

    Guinness/Murphys – €3.70
    Beamish – €3.20
    Smithwicks – €3.90
    Lager (all) – €4.10

    8 pack of 500ml cans Guinness in Tesco – €18.95

    But if you were to believe the hype, Beamish apparently has won more awards then the other stouts.

    For the record I drink Guinness but in pint bottles (€4.10).

  21. Meant to add that the reason I drink bottles of Guinness is that usually during the summer and at slightly warmer temperatures, the quality of the draught goes to complete shite. Most of the others stouts too. Usually noticible by a a slightly larger head with more visible bubbles than the usual silky head that we come to expect.

    The gas used to vary in mixture (carbon dioxide and nitrogen) according to the season but this is no longer the case since the breweries no longer supply gas with their weekly delivery. In the past 5 years or so gas is supplied in gigantic cylinders of which most pubs have two supplying at any one time. One for stout and one for lager.

    Lager – 50% CO2, 50% Nitrogen
    Stout – 25% CO2, 75% Nitrogen (Usually)

    More Nitrogen in stout = smaller bubbles which is why it is used.

    Big bubbles in the head of your stout means that the wrong gas is being used (highly unlikely) or we are in the middle of a hgh pressure weather front.

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  23. Heh! I wrote this as a guide to visitors on the traps they fall into when ordering their first pint. Now we are into discussing the proportions of gas used in pulling pints! Not to mention the old war about Guinness/Beamish/Murphys.

    It’s amazing where a simple blog post will bring you!!!

  24. Guiness is OK, and just that… ok. But the fact that in order to get a decent pint (and this is true) you need to go to Ireland is disheartening, the Irish are such sh1ts that drinking anywhere in that country is a real disapointment.

  25. I won’t begin to tell you of the awful stuff we used to call Guinness in South Africa.
    It came in a can, with that silly little widget.
    Some would say I moved to Ireland just for the Guinness…

  26. The first time I tasted a Guiness was 3 years ago and since then this is the only beer I drink. I hope in near future have the the opportunity to visit Ireland and drink a pint on a real Irish pub and follow your advice.

  27. Never been to Ireland but my lady and I plan on it this summer. I just have to visit since she’s of irish heritage but more importantly the fact that guiness made me the beer drinker i am. After years of drinking my watered down bud and miller light beers i purchased a 6 pack of guiness(and while it may not be as tasty as the real stout from the country) it taught me what beer is supposed to be. The first bottle made me think I was drinking fermented dirt but then i realized it was all of the flavor i had been missing out on all those years. Anyway, thanks for the heads up… i didnt realize there was ‘proper etiquette’ to follow in the pubs.

  28. Hi Steve,

    The gnat’s p*ss they serve over there isn’t drink at all. I’m delighted you have found your true calling.

    The only problem is that you’ll have to stay here permanently, as it’s the only place you can get the Real Stuff.

  29. That was the best blog I’ve read in a long time, and it made me want to fly over to Ireland and order a pint. I didn’t much care of Guinness when I tried some of my dad’s a couple of years ago. (I’ll have to show him this so if he ever goes back over there he’ll know the right way to drink a Guinness.) Could it have been because I sipped it instead of drinking it the right way? Shame on me. I guess I’ll just have to go back over and try again!

    And personally, I thought the Irish people we met over there were wonderful.

  30. Guiness in Australia isn’t too bad, Grandad, though the keg stuff is brewed here. The cans are imported from Ireland apparently, but nothing compares to tap beer. I’m Irish on my mothers side, so im genetically partial to a pint of Guiness

  31. This made me properly laugh, pretty much a 100% accurate description of me and the old man walking into a pub in Ireland a few years ago except we were blatantly tourists because he always wears shorts and a t-shirt, even in December.

    Luckily, years of practice drinking Timothy Taylor’s Landlord bitter have schooled me in the art of getting a round in in a pub you’ve never been to before. After the 1st round had been sunk, the jukebox came back on and people stopped staring and talked to each other again. ;-)

  32. Echo – Welcome and thanks! Sipping Guinness just doesn’t work for some reason. At least a couple of good mouthfuls to get the full flavour.

    Andy – Maybe you’ll know better next time? ;)

  33. Finally. Proper drinking advice. I now comprehend my lack of enjoyment. I’ve never had a true Guinness. The American Guinness is complete piss.

  34. MacDuff – There is no such thing as American Guinness. There is American Wannabe Guinness. I believe there is one pub in the States [and I bet it's in Boston!] that is supposed to serve the real thing, but a true Guinness must be enjoyed in its native land.

  35. I like to see the strippers coming out of the dessert.

    Guiness would be good to drink when coming out of the desert.

    Dumbass.

  36. This post is brilliant!!!
    I am in the states. I have never been to Europe, but i am saving up to spend an undetermined amount of time backpacking in that part of the world (somewhere between 6 months to the rest of forever).
    Anyhow, Guinness is all i drink in the bars here… Domestic is swill, and there is no true pub life, just drunken frat boys and gutter wash.
    I hope not only to drink what god truly meant man to drink, and experience real pub culture. I will have to end my trip in Ireland though. Because of my already great affinity for Guinness I fear the real thing might keep me trapped there forever!!!

  37. No wonder I haven’t liked that overhopped “meal in a can” you Irish are selling as if it were the real thing.

    Now a nice oatmeal stout or a Three Floyds Alpha King. That’s beer.

  38. SpellsCorrectly – Strippers? Where??

    NonCents – Great idea to end your trip here. Not only can you build up a nice thirst on your travels, but you can settle down here then.

    Jimmy – You’d better come over. We can’t have you drinking your local muck because you think that canned stuff is the Real Thing.

  39. I think all that needs to be said is good lad Grandad. Guinness should be drunk in Ireland it’s were its from and were it belongs. not in a can on a supermarket shelf. tut tut tesco i’m not fooled by your piss in a can.

  40. I recently had a friend of mine get me acquainted with the taste of a Guiness here in the US. He started me off with what he called a “snakebite” (Guiness poured over a shot of Strongbows). Funny thing was, as I drank these each time we went for a beer, I began to want less and less of the cider. Thanks for the tip on how to properly order a pint.

    I haven’t had a pint other than here in the States and wonder what the difference in taste truly is.

  41. I am a regular ‘Zulu Blood’ drinker…have been for donkeys years. But I must say, the best pint of Guinness is in the Horse and Groom in Merthyr, South Wales. It was far better than the crap I had in Cork. I assume it must be better in Dublin.

    Just my 0.02 cents worth.

  42. I love the Irish. They can drink like Venezuelans. ;-)

    Don’t believe me? I dare ya to come down here and try to unload a pint of Polar. Better yet, a whole CASE of ‘em. If you can do that you win a complimentary Polar calendar. Before you scoff, this is what I mean (it show’s Venezuela’s finest): http://polarpilsen.com/ (say “Si”, then “Descargas”, then “Calendario 2007″). I’m waiting. :-)

  43. Rebenga – Congratulations! You the only fucking person in the whole world who has never ever made a wee spelling mistake?

    Now mind your fucking manners, or fuck off. ;)

  44. Hey, Flirty! You stuck in a comment without me seeing it! I don’t know how that got past the guard dogs. [Mind you, I don't know how Rebegna got past the guard dogs either!]

    Thanks F! :)

  45. Reimy, a ‘snakebite’ is any lager and any cider mixed half and half with a dash of blackcurrant added to give it colour.

    fyi if you are drinking cider as ‘shots’ I’m assuming you think anything above 4% counts as ‘the hard stuff’… what are you? 14 years old?

  46. I have nothing but respect for the Irish gold. Having tasted the original I was appropriately impressed. Having said that It is but one great beer. We in the states specifically the Great Northwest share a love of beer and we brew it with the same gusto. Come to Oregon and try a Terminator Stout and taste what beer with personality inspired by and some say surpasses that of Guinness.

  47. I’ve always dreamt of the day I’d fly across the pond and have a real Guinness. It’s sad how pathetic American Beer is. The closest thing we have to good beer in Lawrence, KS is found at the 23rd St. Brewery, which produces a halfway decent collection of beers every now and again. Now that I have this guide, I’ll be able to walk into an Irish pub, first try, and get a real pint. Amen to that. You better believe I’m saving for that trip. Better start drinking more too, otherwise I’ll never keep up.

  48. Thanks for the info, already knew some of that already but spot on for the trap listing.
    Something you missed: what’s an acceptable price for a pint?

  49. I missed it, because it varies wildly.

    To a local, anywhere from €3.50 – €3.80
    To a tourist anywhere from €5 upwards, depending on what the barman thinks you’re worth, or how drunk you are.

    And I’m not going to convert that to Sterling. If you insist on staying with old currencies, that’s your problem!

  50. This is a really great site… I have been drinking beer since I was about 14… and I do have to say that I can’t to go to Ireland some day. I am actually going to Amsterdam this spring and hope to make it to Ireland on the way home.

    Thank you for the good advice, I’m sure I would have taken when they first set it down or made some comment about it not being full.

  51. I would like to go to Ireland some day…. instead of I can’t to go to Ireland some day…

    that is what I meant to say… sorry

  52. And be very sure to ALWAYS order a PINT not a half pint, at lease if you are male. On a couple of occasions, bringing an ordered half pint to a male, I heard the bartender say “Here’s one for your lady, now what can I get you sir”

    I nearly spit perfectly good Guiness all over the bar when I heard that.

  53. Heather – Make your mind up. Insist on a stop-off for a pint. It’s worth it.
    Incidentally, if you have been drinking since you were fourteen, isn’t it time you stopped to have some food and sleep?

    Dáithí – Good point. I should have mentioned that. A half pint is a waste of bar space.

    Another point I should have mentioned – ALWAYS order the Guinness first. You can order the other p*ss and peanuts while the pint is settling.

  54. loving your blog grandad. just got a wee guinness related question from out here in glesga. I always got told that if no other crusty irishmen are drinking guinness then its folly to do so yourself, as the pipes goin down to the celler are still all encrusted with last nights dried stout, and the first pint from it will taste god-awful. can you clarify? whats the correct decorum in this situation?

  55. Thanks, Max! A very good point. Any decent pub will pull and discard a few pints at the start of the day to clean the sh*t out.

    Correct decorum? First check if others are drinking Guinness [as you say]. If not, try another pub! Unless, of course you are first in the queue in the morning, in which case hold back and let someone else order the first!

  56. Grandad, what a wonderfully informative and potentially life-saving blog! I am quite proud to say that my first pint (ok… it was a half pint) was in Ireland. In my defense, I was young, and female.

    and the sh*t served over here does not even compare. I can’t drink it here at home. Might have to move to Ireland just so I can get decent Guinness again.

  57. Liz – You sound like a dedicated pint drinker to me. I will overlook the half-pint as beginners error. We all learn by our mistakes. You really will have to move. There is no other way.

  58. There seems to be much debate on how to recognise an actual Irish Guinness and distinguish it from the real English Guinness. It’s easy – you simply look on the bottom of the bottle and if it’s Irish you will read the words “OPEN THE OTHER END” !!!

  59. Nice and informative Grandad, I will try to remember this when I go over to Ireland. I knew about waiting for the Guinness to settle but not about the two step process it takes to fill the whole pint. Good to know!

    To all the naysayers, not all American beer is piss and water like Bud or Miller. In fact, the only beer I think is worth drinking in America is Sam Adams. They at least have the sense to keep flavor in their beer. As for American Guinness, it’s tolerable if you pour it into a glass…

  60. I’ve never been to the blessed Emerald Isle, but as an American I can attest to some of the comments above. First, Sean’s right — American breweries have no f*cking clue what a good beer makes. I have heard many legends of the true taste of Guinness, and how it simply cannot be found anywhere other than Ireland. Hearing this legend always makes me want to get off my barstool and catch the next plane — until I realize I haven’t finished my Guinness yet. So I sit back down.

    You’re also right Grandad, so very right! A small handful of my friends share in my passion for Guinness. When we’re all together at the bar with pints in hand, we look so content we practically sell the brown nectar for the bartender. And then the fun begins. Watching newcomers f*ck things up with their haste makes me think there should be a Guinness drinking class. You’d teach it, wouldn’t you, Grandad?

  61. Worst Guiness I ever drank was in a bar in Paris about 15 years ago. Not one of those hundred pubs you see in every fashionable “arrondissements” but in a typical french bar.

    To cut a long story short : I ordered a pint and watched in horror the worst profanation ever. The guy drew the Guinness to the top of the glass in ONE go, then removed the overflowing froth with a kind of spatula and banged the glass in front of me.

    A terrible trauma, believe me. Damn, I still keep an eye on bartenders whenever I order a Guinness or a Caffrey’s.

    I think I understood that day what Conrad really meant with Kurtz’s “Exterminate all the brutes!”. :-)

  62. Guillaume – This might come as a shock but believe it or not. I’m Irish and I have never seen Caffreys for sale in any pub in Ireland. And I’ve been to quite a few across the length and breadth of the country.

  63. Robert – What ? Caffreys ain’t available in Ireland ? Do you mean it’s just a tourist thing to be sold for export only, like our plastic Effeil Towers souvenirs ? Will people in pubs stop talking and look at me as if I just pulled out the Communist Manifesto at McCarthy funeral if I try to order one ?

    My god, that’s a terrible blow for my liver and my beer belly.

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  65. A droll post to be sure. A downloadable PDF version, without the threats of violence please, would be a useful thing for every Guinness drinker to carry on his person–to turn over to the feckless barkeeps in London and around the world who cannot pull a pint properly.

    Come to think of it, Guinness should have a video on YouTube and then one could just leave the URL on a beer mat. With a bullet if you really insist.

    I’ve had Guinness in many places, from Windhoek to Beijing. Without a doubt the Guinness in Dublin is the best and some of what is branded Guinness elsewhere is NOTHING like it. It is “adapted to local tastes”–and sickeningly sweet in many places. In Africa it’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac!

    Now here’s a geological phenomenon you can see when you have taken that first gulp from a pint: Look at the boundary between the white and the black. You’ll see the black bulging upwards where you have slurped. The same thing happens with continents. When the mountains are weathered down, they are uplifted some more by the earth’s mantle beneath them.

    You can murmer ISOSTACY to yourself as you eye the line.

  66. A downloadable version in PDF is out of the question. Tourist spotting is a tricky business, and if Dubya’s request to kill all tourists is to be carried out then we don’t want the secrets to be too widely known..

  67. Cool article, but at the end of the day, I’ll drink my brew any fartin’ way I please, and anyone who don’t like it can kindly piss off.
    As for what yanks know about brewing beer, I can think of several good ones, my personal favorite being Rogue.

  68. Go screw your sister redneck, that’s what your best known for, moonshine is about the best y’all know, sheesh.

  69. Damn, good thing I stumbled onto this before I ventured over the pond, I was likely to get my ass kicked. I did have the pleasure of drinking with an Irish couple on a cruise this year, but they didn’t serve Guinness on the boat.

    On a side note, I also heard it’s a really terrible idea to kiss the blarney stone as it’s fairly common for locals to get shit-faced and piss all over it. True or False? (I wasn’t planning on kissing it anyways, just want to know if it’s BS or not)

  70. Aaron – Always glad to help ;)

    I know nothing about the Blarney Stone. I’ve never seen it, let alone kissed it. I leave that to the visitors. It is more than likely the locals do piss on it, or even cover it in BS?

  71. This is a class blog!! Stumbled here and had to give it the thumbs up!! Love it!!

    Oh and i doubt they piss on the blarney stone, its on the top of a castle so i’d imagine its locked at night and when the security people arent around…wouldnt kiss it anyway…prob get the herpes virus or summit, the amount of peolpe that kiss it, some1 is bound to have a cold sore!!

    Back to guinness though..Was over in Cardiff for the wales v ireland match and had to say, the black stuff was pretty nice, may as well have been at home, so it can travel a bit…It’s piss in Europe and America though…

    well that’s my tuppence worth!!

  72. Stop it now, you’re giving me a terrible thirst! The Guinness is still poured the same here in the States, but you’ve got to find the right barman. I pine for the day that I’m able to have a fresh pint served to me in good old Ireland.

  73. What you do Sean, is offer to train the barman. Eventually he’ll get it right, and you can drink all the duds as well.

    [And congratulations on being the 100th comment :) ]

  74. Wow. I usually drink Guinness in Black and Tans alongside Bass at a bar, or in a car bomb, but this totally made me want to run out and buy a six pack of the bottles.. see what the rave of an actual straight up Guinness is all about :) Great post by the way, if ever I visit Ireland I’ll hopefully be able to drink like a local…hopefully ;)

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  76. Hey Grandad, I have spotted your blog this morning and I’ve been reading since then.
    Enjoying it a lot, getting all the tips about Guinness and hope that you wont include me in the tourist list that the Tourist Shooting Association keeps in its drawers.
    I live in Greece and taste the pints they offer the local places in Athens. I have to tell them though, every time I order mine how to serve it. Since I am not lucky to live close to Ireland I have to accept that kind of situation. I you have any advice or good word for a humble Greek I will be more than happy to read it, here on my next visit.

  77. Hilarious <–already a giveaway huh?

    Anyway, I’m coming over in a few months. I’m not a drinker…at all. Not for taste reasons, more that I don’t like being drunk or even mildly impaired. I’m not uptight – I used to love getting pissed on the weekend, or even at 3 am when I worked the next day, I just don’t really like it anymore.

    ALTHOUGH, after this article I have to go try one now. I know I’m going to be a dead giveaway no matter what (I’ve got my own sense of style), but being the only time I’ve tried Guinness (or as you’d refer to it here – piss) was after being totally plastered on none other than whiskey (which I can’t drink anymore because that same time I also threw up from drinking for the first time; and now the smell makes me nauseous). So alas, as I’ve always been a natural chugger (of various things including water, juice, liquor, and of course – beer), I’ll have to restart this odyssey and have my first REAL pint of beer (really no “beer” from the US counts as a beer, yeah?)

    By the way, I’m a 5’5″, 115lb. American girl with no tolerance, how much you want to bet I can drink it all in one go?

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  79. This is all common sense surely? As a hardcore Guinness drinker from birth, (Irish family, all us kids got milked on the stuff!) you tend to see that all the etiquette and paraphernalia associated around the magic drink is fairly well known and most people know how to approach their pint. Although, as a barman, I have been known to grab a Guinness back from a customer as they’ve started to sip an unsettled pint! It just isn’t right! If they don’t know how to drink a Guinness, they shouldn’t be wasting their money on it!

  80. Hi Brad, and welcome. Most of us [Irish] are reared on the stuff, so it comes naturally to us. It’s surprising though how many still don’t know the ritual involved. Not that long ago, I was in the UK, and had to teach the girl behing the bar how to pull a pint. She thought it was the same as beer!

  81. For years I heard, the Guinness is better in Ireland, its different.
    I always thought that sounded silly but when I finally made it there I was like, wow, the Guinness is better in Ireland. I did notice quite a few places where they had currant juice on the counter to pour in the Guinness but in reality I saw quite a few locals doing that.

  82. Welcome, Marcus. I’m no great expert on foreign Guinness as I’m not exactly a world traveller. However I have tried Guinness outside Ireland and it isn’t up to standard! Some reckless people do add things to Guinness, from blackcurrent juice to champagne. Not my style though!

  83. I’m proud to say I am now here in Ireland, and had quite a few Guinness already. It’s my 5th day out of the 28 I’ll be here and the cities I’ve been to (Cork and now Galway) are absolutely stunning. I don’t understand how anyone can complain about the weather when the grass is so green year round, where I’m from the weather looks the same, but everything is dead.

    This country is clearly alive year-round!

    Anyway, I had to try at least one Murphy’s while I was in Cork and I have to say it’s not nearly as good as Guinness, and I DON’T EVEN LIKE BEER. Well, I don’t like it where I’m from, but compared to back home Guinness is like candy.

  84. Amazing post. It really made me thirsty. I do apologize to anyone who has drank Bud, Miller, Coors, or the like. I hate american beer. I’m not a huge Guinness fan, but, I’ve never had a proper pint. I usually spend the night drinking some Killian’s red. Is that a very popular brew in your neck of the woods? I know it is made by Coors here and that takes away from it right there. But the bar i frequent has it for $5 pitchers. It is the best $5 beer you will find anywhere around here.

  85. I’m sorry guys, this will be controversial…I’m just simply not a Guinness drinker, born and raised in Northern Ireland but sorry i just don’t like the taste. I’ve tried though, God knows i’ve tried people! I’m hoping though that my inexplciable love for our native whiskeys more than makes up for it though…I’ve had my fair share of samples and nothing on this earth quite matches a rainy day in Ireland with an open fire and a glass on Black Bush from the distillery up the road on the rocks. That my friends is just as Irish as any Guinness in my opinion.

  86. P.S. By the way folks I’m from Northern Ireland (hence the UK flag) but I’m just as Irish as anyone above me for those that don’t understand the semi-dual nationality thing that we have going on up in NI.

  87. Sophia – Another convert?! Welcome to Ireland. Murphys and Beamish try to pass themselves off as stout, but then they are from Cork [which explains a hell of a lot].

    PubGrubber – Please don’t judge Guinness unless you have had the real stuff. I have never heard of Killians. Is it sold here? My local is a bit conservative. ;)

    Tyler – Guinness drinking is not compulsory. I’m quite fond of a class of the hard tack myself, and have been known to demolish a bottle or two. They serve a damned good pint of Guinness in Ballintoy though [not far from Bushmills].

  88. Killians was originally brewed in Enniscorthy, Ireland, but was purchased by coors in the 80’s and is now brewed here. It is marked as George Killian’s Irish red ale. Very smooth, strong hops taste. mmmmmm

  89. okay, havent tried the k named crap you speak of, too drunk at the moment to even look back up at what its called, on guinness none other!

    fucking fantastic.
    galway has a lot to offer. hi-ho!

    this country is awesome!

  90. I stumbled this website, also gave it a thumbs up…but there is a hesitant feeling in the pit of my stomach. You see, I myself and 80% Irish, and Guinness is most definately my top beer. Sure, we have decent microbrews stateside, but Guinness is my favorite beer. Myself and the lady have been talking about a trip to Ireland….but shes got some English in her. Do we dare take the trip?

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  92. This is pure (black) gold! I had my first pint in America, and even though its not rated by the Irish, it is better than anything else you get here. I drive 30 min to a pub just so I can get Guinness that is poured right (the owner is Irish and insists on it)! Of course, being Indian, my biggest fear going back to India is that I will not be able to get a proper pint back home! Granddad, can you find me a job in Ireland? I promise to buy you a couple of pints each day for all the time I am in Ireland!

  93. Sailesh – Welcome! I will agree that the piss we export to America has to be better than the dish-water that is served for ‘beer’ there. The big question is though – have you ever had a real [Irish] pint? That is one hell of a promise you made! I have a vacancy at the moment for a slave if that is any use to you?

  94. Rodrigo – Anyone who mixes blackcurrent and Guinness should be shot on sight. ]Unless of course they are under the age of three, when it is acceptable.]

  95. a Grandad:

    I can’t understand this talk of blackcurrant syrup. Blackcurrant syrup FFS!!! Dreadful thing to do to stout. There is something worse however. Over Christmas my son was home and asked if he could have some of my Old Tyrconnell single malt Irish. I said of course and he came back into the room with Old Tyrconnell and COCACOLA!!! What an awful thing. I thought I had brought the boy up to be a decent person and he puts single malt Irish in COKE!!! I just hope he never drinks that in front of my friends. The shame! The shame!!

  96. Dáithí – Don’t be too hard on your son. At least he had the sense to choose a single Irish Malt. The Cocacola is definitely a major transgression though. On second thoughts – disinherit him straight away.

  97. i have recently acquired a great affection for our american guinness. I’ve also been drinking smithwicks quite a bit lately. Is that available/popular in your neck of the woods? sure beats the hell out of the american piss water that people tend to love around here. Any time someone tells me there fav beer is Bud or Miller ect, i always ask them if they have ever even tried anything imported. its always a no. i serve up a Guinness or a Samual Smiths and there lives are changed forever. Speaking of which, it’s cheap import night at the bar! what am i doing at home?!

  98. Pub Grubber – Smitwicks is one of the old beers here. If for any strange reason, Guinness isn’t available, Smitwicks is my pint of choice. As for that horses piss they call Bud….. !!

  99. stone’s and founder’s stouts kick the shit out of guiness anyday. guiness is watered down and low alcohol, with minimal flavor. (it’s historical significance is the only thing that sets it apart). not saying it’s a bad drink… but wayyyyy over-rated.

  100. To my fellow Americans… stop saying that your local microbrews are better than Guinness, they’re not. Yes if Guinness is unavailable then it sure beats the other piss that we have, but Guinness is the best option every time. As for you Redneck, when someone offers you advice on how to properly order and enjoy an actual pint, (that is obviously beyond your level of understanding and much too sophisticated for you to enjoy) just smile, shake his hand, say thank you and be on your merry way.

  101. So much to say as there are so many comments.
    @Daniel: Being an American, born and raised in Cocoa Beach and going through college in the states for parties, I used to be someone saying that bud, miller, and in worst-case scenarios natty light was good stuff. However, one day feeling the Irish in me come out, I went out and bought myself a 6-pack of Guinness Extra Stout from the local Wal-Mart, and let me tell you I had to cringe at every gulp. This was 5 months ago. Now, at this second, to celebrate Arthur in his greatness, I am again drinking the Guinness Extra Stout, and it tastes soooo good. I love the taste of Guinness. There is a local Irish Pub that is known to have the best Guinness in town and I would have to say it is pretty good.
    @Sophia: That is pretty small. I don’t know how that would go over trying to down it in one. I have heard that pints there are death in a glass. After seeing your other posts, I assume it went over well?!? Haha
    Questions for Grandad:
    – I haven’t had very long to experiment with beers, as I am pretty young, but how can you tell a bad pint of Guinness from a good pint?
    – What is the difference between Guinness and Guinness Extra Stout? Does the Extra Stout come closer to the taste of what a pint is over there?
    -In the pubs in Ireland, what is the ambiance like? What types of music do they play?
    – Funny question, and maybe stupid. If my grandpa is from Irish decent, in your opinion does that give me right to say that I am Irish?
    – Are the pints in Ireland different sizes than here in the states? 16 ounces in a pint here. I am unfamiliar with the measurement system you use over there.
     
    I am so excited to visit Ireland. I have never been out of the country, but the place I want to visit more than anything is Ireland. I am ready to try an authentic pint of Guinness. What part of Ireland do you live? Were you born there? Can you speak Gaelic at all? Sorry that I ask so many questions. I have never had a chance to talk to someone from Ireland, so the thought excites me, haha.
     

  102. Oh, and final question:
    – I keep hearing people say that Guinness over there is warm. Here in the states all beer is cold. Is Guinness warm over there?

  103. Chilling with a pint in a box here. (Of course I put it in a proper glass and let it sit/rest). That widget is a nice trick.
    At least it says “Brewed in Dublin” on the box, so I hope that it’s not the dregs hehe, at least it tastes great :)

  104. 1. why do the Irish give two shits about how i drink my beer.
    2. in a taste test nobody could taste the difference between guinness from an American pub compared to an Irish pub (the testers were all Irish so called “beer experts”)
    3. That means guinness is just as mediocre there as it is here

  105. Gidday Grandad
    I’m from New Zealand, and as such was a late-comer to Guinness.
    Dad started me on beer (NZ) at age four; whiskey at five (scotch, his one and true love) and pints by seven. However I never tried Guinness until I was 14, when we were in an Irish pub (thankfully an Irishman serving). I knew nothing of the sacred Guinness ritual but thankfully I didn’t cock too much of it up.
    I did take long gulps (this is NZ we drink our pints in much the same way you do yours) but followed each one with some scotch(as is me and my dad’s tradition, and not straight away mind you). That one was followed by two more and I enjoyed it immensely.
    Nowadays I’m a poor student drinking cheap NZ piss, and a properly poured pint of Guinness is a very special treat (even better if Dad’s paying!) but I can’t wait until the day I make it over to Ireland to have my first true pint.
    Have a good day and happy drinking!

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  107. Just came across this there on stumble upon….Im from Cork myself working in Reardens Bar. To the English lad just above me saying you can’t taste the difference you must be mad had Guinness in New York a month ago taste horrible poured totally different…And to the main article i found quite enjoyable but you do have to say especially in Cork what pint your having you can’t just call a pint. 

  108. I read this post and all of the comments. It all made me want to fly, hitch, swim, teleport, or run (whatever way I could get there, but just GET THERE) to Ireland and order a pint.
    I am a rum and whiskey drinker myself but all this talk made Guinness sound so absolutely amazing.. I have had it here in America just once. I was trashed after a bottle of whiskey and took a pint off some guy walking by. I have no recollection of what it tasted like and I’m glad. I hope someday to visit Ireland and have a true pint. The country alone would improve the flavor of any drink. I’m Irish on both sides of my family and both my Dad and my Brother prefer Guinness to all others. My dog Seamus even prefers it :) On the off chance I don’t care for the Guinness (I don’t see that possible after all of this testimony) I will be choking it down properly anyway. And I’ll be chasing it with the whiskey. I may not like it, but God Damn it I respect it.

    (I stopped a barmaid from handing me a Guinness pulled in one go. Even I know that’s not how it’s done. Her excuse was the bar was packed and she didn’t have time.. I refused to take it and told her I wouldn’t bring that back to my dog let alone my brother. So as proved by her second attempt it was clear she just had no clue. I told her to get her shit straight and we left the bar.)

    I have also had Killian’s Red. I remember it being alright, but I also remember having finished a bottle of Rum first. So.. Don’t quote me on it. 

  109. I drink Budweiser and Coor Light often. Other than that I enjoy Killians and Sam Adams Boston Lager. Gets me drunk and I have good time with my friends.
    If drinking whiskey I will gladly take some Jim Beam, Jamesons, or Sullivans.
    But if you don’t want to f*ck around go ahead and drink you a real mans beer that will put hair on your chest, back, and nuts. Double Arrogant Bastard. 10.5% alcohol and taste like you took a bite out of a tree. even has satan himself on the bottle with the quotation “You are not worthy”
    Mmm.
    Or we can just shoot back some moonshine.
    America is full of wimpy drinkers, but there is some mean ass drinkers here.
     
    BTW, isn’t Guinness owned by England?

  110. i didn’t follow any of theese tips when i was in dublin and the locals didn’t say shit to me or give me a second glance. overly dramatic much?

  111. Can everyone do me a favor and just stop shooting tourists? Bartender moving to Ireland, doing any and all research possible to avoid faux pas, any tips would be appreciated!

  112. Can everyone do me a favor and just stop shooting tourists?”  Not a chance.  We have to have some fun in these recessionary times.  Heh!

  113. Nice article.  Now I’m curious to try a “real” Guinness.  I’ve had it from the bottle here in the States, but haven’t found it to be that amazing.  It’s a good stout, but nothing to write home about (Sheaf is another decent one, and Arrogant Bastard had an Imperial Stout that fucking knocked my socks off).  Here in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon) we have a nice selection of local breweries that put rest to the idea you can’t get a decent beer in the States (although people here seem to prefer IPA’s, which taste like old socks soaked in vinegar, if you ask me), but there are some decent options.  I’m also lucky enough to be a few blocks from a German import shop, which has a nice little selection (a bit overpriced though).

    Of course, I’m a Scotch man (Irish whisky being my second favorite), so beer remains a distant cousin to real drinking in my book.  I expect it’s a matter of taste.  I switched to using Glencairn glasses for my Scotch a couple of years ago, so I can appreciate the fact that how a drink is poured and imbibed can greatly affect the final verdict.

    In any case, if I do make it to Ireland (I’m heading to Moscow in the next few months and may be able to get a stopover), your advice will be heeded, if for no other reason than to not fuck up a rare opportunity to taste the real thing.  Hopefully the violence you mention was tongue-in-cheek. I’m not fond of violence, but I do know a secondary use for a pint glass or broken bottle of ketchup when things start looking red, and I’d hate to be part of an international incident. I’ve seen the inside of some prisons here, and while an American in an Irish prison might make for a funny fish-out-of-water story, I think I’d rather stick to the pubs.

    @Smithy – Jim Beam, Sullivan’s… Jamieson? Those are bottom shelf crap only fit for mixing with colored syrups, reserved for times when you’re trying to get someone out of her skirt on the cheap. Try a single malt fer chrissakes. I can’t even repeat the names of the piss “beers” you mention (aside from the Arrogant Bastard, which is acceptable, even though you rate it on its alcohol content rather than taste).  Drinking isn’t about getting drunk, otherwise we’d all just drink Everclear and be done with it.

  114. Speaking of whisky, what are the favorites over there?  It’s easy to find a variety of good Scotch here in the States, but the Irish whisky’s found here seem to boil down to Bushmills and Jameson (I prefer Bushmills).  I’m a sinner and drink my whisky neat (no water or ice, thanks).

  115. Welcome Cliff!  I wrote this piece nearly five years ago and it’s still drawing in the crowds! I wrote it as a tongue-in-cheek piece but there are elements of truth in it.  I have heard many a barman sneer at a tourist [behind their back] because they tried to drink a pint before it had settled or they tried to lick off the head.  I’m partial to a drop of “the hard stuff” myself.  I used to drink Scotch but have switched to Irish as my palette matured.  I like that bite that you get with the Irish.  Brands?  I’m quite partial to a Jameson myself.  There are many others including Bushmills, Powers, Middleton and a few lesser known ones such as Kilbeggan. 

  116. A little research found me an Irish whisky that I’m currently thinking of marrying (or just keeping on the side): Knappogue Castle 12.  It’s a bit more expensive than Bushmills or Jameson, but still far cheaper than a decent Scotch.

  117. Hey, just a quick comment from a bartender:
    This is ridiculous, inaccurate and clearly written from the perspective of someone who doesn’t understand the way Guinness is made, how long it should be left etc. As well as how to talk to and “scowl and snarl” at bartenders. 

    • For a start, I have been a Guinness drinker for the best part of forty years, so I know a little bit about it.  I have shown the post to a few bartenders and they all agreed that it was pretty accurate.  Finally, the bit about scowling and snarling – it is a tongue-in-cheek article, and not to be taken literally.

  118.  After reading your page I'm back from the store, and I'm pissed off. Yesterday there were still two six packs left of the extra stout when I grabbed my twelve. This morning NONE, so I had to buy stout, and even then the store was down to cans. I have to assume there is a lepricon in this bowdunk town north of Seattle drinking all my Guinness. So after a couple more pints it'll be off to the sporting goods store for a bear trap. The plan is load the trap inside the Guinness box and put it back in the store. That should teach the little rat bastard to leave my beer alone. I"d like to know how people in Ireland would deal with a situation like this.

    • The best way to catch a leprechaun is to use a rat trap [you don't want to actually kill him].  Once you have caught him, he has to grant three wishes.  You first wish should be for a permanent personal supply of Guinness from St James' Gate here in Dublin.  The next is whatever you want yourself.  The third wish should be for a lifetime's supply of wishes.

      Once he has granted those, you can let him go, but not before you have told him that he is only a figment of the imagination.  That'll really piss him off.

  119. What fun!  It just took me an hour to read all of this with all the comments, but I just couldn't stop reading.  I'm an American who will only drink good micro-brews (and they are not all good) or Guinness.  I've only had the stuff sold in America and several pints from an "Irish Pub" in Rome.  I may or may not ever get to experience the "real" Irish Guinness, but I do love what I can get here.  I definitely do not drink "beer-flavored water", i.e. Bud, Coors, Miller, etc.  The best mainstream (non-microbrew) American beer I've encountered is Yuengling (Allentown, PA — American's oldest brewery).  It's not up to Guinness standards, but is quite drinkable in a pinch.

    • Welcome to my little corner of the Interweb! 

      This little brain fart of mine never ceases to amaze me at the interest it has garnered – over five years old and it's still gathering comments.

  120. Ah, one more comment:  Pillory me if you must, but I love good smoked beer.  It is very hard to find, but the very best comes from Bavaria.  Schlenkerla makes several variants of it:  I am most partial to the Urbock.

    Now I guess I need to run and duck, but I love what I love.

    • Smoked beer?  I'm not familiar with that… sounds weird.  Beer and a smoke, yes but they have to be separate – a glass in one hand and the pipe in the other.  Now that is a grand way to idle away an afternoon.

  121. the fact that it's just a beer, and irish people apparently shoot people visiting the country, just because they're visiting, makes me not want to visit ireland. ever. how fucking retarded.

     

     

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