Pulling a Pint

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Pulling a Pint

I’ve been on a mission for many a year, initiating bartenders in how to pull a pint of Guinness correctly. It makes such a difference to the taste. When I order, I watch the pull anxiously, shouting “STOP” when it’s pulled badly. I explain the rules, why it’s important to slow the process. I ask them to serve another customer as I don’t mind waiting for perfection.

I’ve initiated the bartenders in my local, The Village Inn in Liddington. You now get one of the best pints of Guinness there, handed over like a work of art with a proud smile.

The rules are simple:

  • Hold the glass at 45˚
  • Let the stout bounce off the Harp on the glass. Stop when it reaches the top of the Harp.
  • It takes 119.5 seconds for the nitrogen bubbles to surge and settle.
  • When there is a definite black line around the head, push the tap away from you slowly.


Ah, sweetness at the front, roastiness at the sides, bitterness at the back. This is the smooth, cascading loveliness of a great pint. Happy Days!

Flann O’Brien captures it in “A Workman’s Friend:”

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night –
A pint of plain is your only man.

When money’s tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt –
A pint of plain is your only man.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,
A pint of plain is your only man.


First published in Swindon Link