Entertainment & Events
Irish beer on Saint Patrick’s Day – In the mind of Fergal Murray, Guinness Brew Master
Guinness lovers know that Guinness, the most popular Irish dry stout, is good all year long–not just on Saint Patrick’s Day. But with this Irish holiday fast approaching, we at the Entertainer believe it’s necessary to grasp the tradition and taste that is one of the world’s most loved dark beers. And what better way to embrace the authenticity of Guinness than to learn from the Brew Master himself?
Fergal Murray, the Guinness Brew Master, is in the midst of his busiest month of the year. As Brew Master, Murray is responsible for making all the great beer and manufacturing the recipes.
The job requires a great deal of communicating, traveling, interviews and involvement in Dublin, but when he’s elsewhere he’s constantly talking to people about Guinness.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, Murray will be busy in New York, with several appointments during the day and then the stock exchange at 4 pm. “I might get to have a beer in the evening; it’s a very busy day for me. If there’s time, I might get to enjoy some of the festivals but I’ll be working away,” Murray said.
When I asked if he was going to have any time for fun, he added, “even if I’m working, being the Master Brewer is always fun.”
He likens Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland to 4th of July here in the United States. He explains that in Dublin, people don’t go to the pubs on St. Patrick’s Day; they spend time with their family and friends. There are plenty of music festivals and parades, but it’s more of a family day than a party day. In the US, “everyone wants to be Irish on this day, so they go to the pubs to be Irish. But on 4th of July, [Americans] get together with family and friends. That’s what we do in Dublin,” Murray said.
His favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition in Ireland is “all the greenery and enjoying a great pint of Guinness.”
Although Guinness is highly celebrated by many, like all great things, Guinness too has its criticisms. The Master Brewer shared with us the common misconceptions about Guinness. Because it’s such a dark beer, people often think it’s too heavy, when it’s actually low in calories. In addition, according to BBC News, Guinness can in fact be beneficial to the heart, with antioxidant compounds similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables that slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls.
Another misunderstanding is the impatience with the perfect pour. Murray explained, “We have a two part pour and people often don’t want to wait for the 2nd part of the pour.” As you can see below, the process of the two part pour, although a bit longer than most serving of beers, is absolutely necessary to achieve the perfection of Guinness.
The emerging technologies of today help people stay in touch with old friends in new places—especially pubs! With the Guinness iPhone app—the pint-sized pint finder, users can locate a pint of Guinness almost anywhere in the US and invite friends to join them in the process. This mobile app will be handy for beer lovers in a lively city like this…
Murray’s been all over the world, including here in San Diego. He admits that he travels so much that he tends to not remember the places he’s been. But he does recall his favorite place in San Diego–the Gaslamp District. “It’s a great town, I love the energy. The people there are great and I wish I could enjoy the beautiful weather there!” Murray said.
With all the festivities and Guinness drinking that await on St. Patrick’s Day, Master Brewer Fergal Murray reminds everyone to celebrate responsibly. He advises everyone to drink water and eat food in between beers, and of course, to never drink and drive.
Murray adds, “Have a beer, but don’t do anything silly like chug it. Enjoy the flavor.”