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I’ve drunk Guinness all my life and I’ve never had a hangover or a beer belly

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When I moved to London with the rest of my Ryanair generation, there ensued frenzied debates about where we could get “a decent pint” away from Guinness HQ. Cue scorching reviews from male mates decrying English barmen’s cluelessness at pouring a pint without the reverence we were accustomed to back home. It’s true that the ritual of waiting for your pint while it rested half poured was largely ignored back then in London but, in all honesty, I couldn’t taste the difference. I stuck to my stout while the men opted for the Dutch lagers that were trending at the time. When my sophisticated new English journalist friends started drinking espresso martinis, I referenced my creamy topped, dark lovely as their inspiration. The iconic creamy head is formed through a process of nitrogenation that combines nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide to give the beer its velvety texture.

It was around this time in my drinking history when I noticed the health benefits – the lager and cocktail drinkers seemed to reach peak drunkenness quicker than me and suffered bitterly with next day hangovers. Guinness is not a drink you bolt so my sobriety was envied and I’ve never had a hangover from it in my life. I was simply drinking a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) of just over 4 per cent while some lagers are as high as 6 per cent. Lower alcohol means fewer calories – 210 for Guinness compared to as high as 290 for stronger ales. While far from boasting a gym bunny-body, I remain beer-belly-free. Some even say that drinking Guinness is like a meal in itself. It can’t be called a meal nutritionally, of course, but it is certainly filling enough to discourage excess.

When my magazine editing job took me to the dizzy heights of the front row fashion circuit, I tired quickly of the endless champagne on offer and longed for the comfort of my trusted curvy pint of Irish champagne. I have a fond memory of playing hooky with my team during one Paris Fashion Week when we absconded to an excellent Guinness pub behind the Ritz Hotel to watch Andy Murray win the US Open. My fashion team was probably embarrassed by my “unfashionable” libation, but today’s trend proves I have had the last laugh. “Good things come to those who wait” (Guinness’s tagline throughout the 1990s) could have been my wedding slogan.

My husband and I got together later in life, took over 20 years to wed and cemented our relationship over a shared enjoyment of completing a crossword with our pints of plain. My favourite wedding picture is of me clutching a pint directly after the service while the photographer wondered if I’d chosen my complementary black and white dress on purpose. As if. The latest buzzy London pub, The Devonshire, has received many plaudits about its perfect pint of Guinness with the proprietor speaking of its celebrated slow-pour ritual in hushed tones. The normal ratio of 70:30 nitrogen to carbon dioxide, is split 82:18 in this pub, which brings the creamy head closer to any Dublin pint. It may all be style over substance, but after 40 years of imbibing, I’ll certainly be found sipping one of the 13 million pints pulled worldwide this St Patrick’s Day. Sláinte!

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