“Don’t sip it, gulp it!” Brendan ordered. This isn’t an extract from a blue movie, but a lesson in drinking Guinness, delivered by a bona fide Irishman.
Our flight home from Dublin had been cancelled due to bad weather and as a result we sat in our hotel bar sipping pints of the red nectar (“it’s red, not black!”) when we were approached by a middle-aged man who had been drinking on his own. He asked if we minded him joining us. It was a demand thinly veiled as a question. Meet Brendan.
“Are you boys going to the airport in the morning?” Oh god, he wants to come with us. “It’s me that’ll be taking you, I’m a cabby. Let me buy you a round.” Four pints of Guinness appear, drinking isn’t cheap in Dublin, particularly in our hotel bar. But we aren’t going out, there’s a hurricane warning. No, seriously, there was a hurricane warning. The condition of having a pint from Brendan, he wants us to drink our Guinness “properly.” This is where the chat about gulping begins and I start to feel like an extra in a Ron Jeremy flick. But, the round was more expensive than the cab fare the following morning. Sláinte Brendan!
According to Brendan, the head of the Guinness should cling to the glass as the pint is drunk, if it doesn’t, bad pint. To the uninitiated (in this case me), this seemed a lot harder to keep a track on than noticing whether your pint of lager has bubbles in it or not. To achieve this, you have to gulp it. At this point of the narrative I was slightly concerned that I was being groomed. The proof of the Guinness was in the gulping though, that next pint clung on to the side of the glass as if its life depended on it. And I made it home without being trafficked, win-win.
We carried on drinking with Brendan until the small hours of the morning. By the time we got to bed, I knew I’d be in no state to drive a car the following morning (well, the same morning to be specific), let alone in the aftermath of a hurricane. That’s when it dawned on us that Storm Brendan was going to be driving us to the airport. Suddenly our worries about getting on the plane were allayed, replaced by worries of getting to the airport in one piece.
With trepidation, we dragged our bags and ourselves to the lobby, ready for a hair raising ride to Dublin airport, but Brendan was nowhere to be seen. Instead another cab driver was there waiting to pick us up. Were we being groomed all along? We hopped in, safer in the knowledge that this driver hadn’t been sinking pints of Guinness for most of the previous night. At least not in our presence, ignorance is sometimes bliss. One of us plucked up the courage to ask what had happened to Brendan. The cab driver turned to us and muttered, “who’s Brendan?” I jest, it turns out that Brendan had a hangover. I wonder why!