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Nov 28, 2010 12:59 PM

Guinness at cellar temperature on tap anywhere in New England??

I have lately been on a quest to find Guinness on tap at cellar temperature in New England. The best I ever had was a few years ago at the Plough and the Stars, a genuine Irish bar on Mass Ave in Cambridge. But a year ago, I ordered one and to my dismay it was chilled. I have learned from a friend in the UK that it is hard to find at cellar temperature there and even in Ireland. I have tracked down one location that (a year ago) assured me in an email that they still serve Guinness at room temperature: The Long Trail Inn in Killington VT. Does anyone know of another place in New England, preferably in MA, northern CT, southern VT or NH?

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  1. What's your rush? Seems it'd be easier to just allow your Guinness Draught to warm up a bit rather than drive all over New England. Most bars are going to keep all their kegs in the same cooler(s), at the same temperature, and colder draught beer just pours better (and in the case of non-pasteurized US draught, keeps better as well). Not sure the exact temperature requirements/preferences for the nitrogen served Guinness.

    Most places that chill/freeze their glassware often keep their Guinness tulip pints at room temp, but if a bar doesn't just request a room temperature glass or have them run warm/hot water over the glass before pouring yours. If you're having more than one, order the second before you're done with the first.

    IIRC, the difference in temperature between "regular" Draught Guinness and "Extra Cold Guinness" in the UK and Ireland is only 2-3°C.

    10 Replies
    1. re: JessKidden

      Thanks for the advice JK. You have described technical details well, but warmed up cold Guinness is simply not Guinness stored and served at room temperature. I am still looking.

      1. re: cabbagehead

        "warmed up cold Guinness is simply not Guinness stored and served at room temperature."

        The "Draught Guinness" in sankey kegs in the US contain "flash pasteurized" beer, which means the beer comes out of the tanks relatively cold, is heated to around 160ºF to sterilize it and then is quickly cooled down to near freezing (32-34ºF) to make racking it into kegs easier (less foaming). After that, the pasteurized kegs are probably allowed to come to ambient temperatures during shipping across the Atlantic and is kept at various tempertures during warehousing, distribution and before the bar taps it.

        I imagine in most cases, it's kept cold at the retail level only because in most draught systems it would be hard to bring it up to the recommended serving temps of around 42ºF if stored at room temperature. Also, I would guess that serving room temperature draught beer via the typical nitrogen "gas mix" required for Guinness would be make for a very difficult pour and waste a LOT of beer.

        If you're worried that going from 42ºF to 65-70ºF is going to negatively affect the beer, that is nothing compared to the changes in temperature the beer's already gone through before it hit your glass.

        1. re: JessKidden

          <Also, I would guess that serving room temperature draught beer via the typical nitrogen "gas mix" required for Guinness would be make for a very difficult pour and waste a LOT of beer.>

          A rise of even 1-2 Celsius in the multicert does indeed cause huge levels of waste with Guinness, much more than non nitrogen gassed beers. I can't see any bar with a viable business model serving Guinness at room temp directly from tap, unless they use Suremix 50 or whatever the US equivalent is instead of Nitrogen (Suremix 25 in the UK)

          1. re: Steve_K

            Thanks to both JK and SK for the technical details. I myself made a mistake in referring to room temperature. I should have said cellar temperature. I guess the question is, why was it possible to get cellar (or room) temperature Guinness in several locations until just a few years ago? Was it a change in the nature of the beer and the brewing process? Did bar keeps find it simply inconvenient? Or did the universal American taste for cold beer simply render cellar temp beer so out of style no one would buy it anymore?

            1. re: cabbagehead

              It all rather depends what temperature you regard "cellar temperature" to be. Guinness state that their draught should be enjoyed at 43.8 F, 6.5 C. So if your bar serves it colder, order one and wait a bit.

              I was always taught that nobody ordering Guinness is in a hurry.

        2. re: cabbagehead

          I forget who it was, possibly Lew Bryson, but I read a lengthy analysis of how to make beer taste bad, and temperature changes actually didn't seem to have as much of an impact as oxidation or exposure to UV light.

          1. re: Josh

            It was definitely Lew Bryson. The article was called "How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Beer"; it used to be online but for whatever reason I can't seem to find it now (too bad, too, it was excellent). The experiment he carried out was to take a number of beers and subject them to actual mishandling, then he reviewed the tasting results with somebody from Siebel, who then explained what was going on.

            Extreme temperature conditions- very hot as well as freezing- each had major drawbacks, but anything between room temperature and the fridge was definitely just fine.

            1. re: Josh

              I think this is the same Bryson article re-named or maybe a draft of it.

              An A-B brewmaster's reply to the original article (w/dead link to it) is at

                1. re: Jim Dorsch

                  That's the one I was thinking of- either it was retitled or my memory is going bad.

        3. Not sure if this is a help, but I will put it out there anyway... I developed a LOVE for Guinness while in Ireland. My favorite place to have it is at Strange Brew on Market St in Manchester NH.. I really can't comment on the technical end of it as far as cellar temp and the CO2 system, but what I can say is that they serve enough of it that it tastes "FRESH". I have been to so many bars/pubs that have Guinness on tap, and it was awful, temperature excluded.. All I can say is give it a try.. They have awesome food, great appetizers, and wonderful beer specials including Guinness...!!!

          1. I know, not what you asked for, but how about trying a stout that has more flavor than Guinness to begin with? I find it pretty watery and bland these days with no roasty flavor that I remember years ago. Many craft stouts bring the flavor - Ipswich Oatmeal Stout is my favorite in New England. Caution though - it may just ruin Guinness for you. ;-)

            1. It seems what they told me in Dublin that "it doesn't travel well" is true.

              2 Replies
              1. re: dowlf

                I believe that Guinness in bottles here in the US comes from and is made in Canada. Are the kegs only from Ireland?

                1. re: BluPlateSpec

                  bottled extra stout from Canada. I believe all kegs and pub draught cans/bottles from Ireland, as is FES.

              2. Hi all, I hope this is not repeating a asked and answered question in the past. My friends are wearing me out for Guinness on tap at my home bar. I cannot fit a 1/2 in my kegerator with or without the other beers on tap. Does Guinness import a sixtel into the US? or can you suggest a fair alternative to it that does have a sixtel?