An international taste study found that Guinness does, in fact, taste better in its homeland of Ireland.
Thousands of bars worldwide claim they serve the best pint of Guinness in the world, but the majority of beer drinkers agree that Guinness simply tastes better in Ireland. Now there is scientific proof.
Scientists at the Institute of Food Technologists carried out a taste survey in 33 cities in 14 countries. The majority of their testers said they enjoyed the pints of the black stuff better in Ireland than any other country.
The study claims to scientifically prove that Guinness does not travel well.
The group used 103 non-expert testers from different countries and brought them to 71 different pubs. Factors such as pub ambiance, Guinness appearance, flavor, and aftertaste were all considered.
They marked each pint of Guinness on a Visual Analogue Scale of one to 100. Ireland received an average of 74, while the other countries' marks averaged at just 57.
A celebrated beer author, Pete Brown, told the Daily Mail the idea that Guinness is better in Ireland could simply be all in our heads. He said, "Drinking Guinness in Ireland is always going to be more enjoyable than in London or Paris, or anywhere else.
"There is a feeling of authenticity that you associate with drinking a beer in its true home, so the ambiance you feel in an Irish pub would be like no other.
"People will go to Dublin with the intention of ordering a pint of the black stuff, so you're already gearing yourself up for that satisfaction before it's passed your lips.
"It marks the end of a pilgrimage for real Guinness lovers for sure.”
However, he did say that having a “proper” Guinness would heighten the drinker’s enjoyment, and therefore it is probably better to drink it locally.
Brown said, "In Irish pubs, you can order a Guinness knowing that the tap has been flowing all day, so you'll never get a pint which has sat in the pipes for an hour. Whereas in London, it could have been there all day.
“The locals also tend to know their own beer inside out, so you'll get it at the right temperature, in the right glass, and with the right head. That's really important.”
*Originally published in 2011, updated in June 2022.