Friday, 23 January 2009

Beer O’Clock: Behold, the widget!

guinness_draught_bottleThe beer find of the summer was not a summer beer.  In fact it wasn’t even a new beer, and it certainly wasn’t local. 

It was Guinness.

From a bottle.

43711 Anyone who’s ever drunk a draught Guinness in Europe can tell you it sure shits all over the local draught product – and if you’ve ever drunk a draught Guinness in Dublin, you’ll know that it’s about the best Guinness you can get.  And the best Guinness you can get is something very, very good indeed.  If the sight of those glasses lined up at Temple Bar doesn’t make you salivate, then know that there’s something very important in your life that you haven’t done yet, and need to.

Sadly however, it seems that the further you get from the shores of the Liffey, the worse the Guinness gets. 

43716 Guinness, it’s said, just doesn’t travel well.  And it’s said that the problem with the local product in particular is that the water here in Enzed is too clean, but who knows. Whatever the reason, local Guinness lovers have until now either drunk draught Murphy’s, which tastes as good here as it does in Cork; or they’ve tried to endure the imported cans or bottles, which have their own problems; or even the locally brewed substitute, which at a pinch (on St Paddy’s Day for example) just has to do.

Still, none of these have been ideal. 

Murphy’s is a fine drop, but sure and it’s still not Guinness.

And sure, the Guinness cans and bottles did come from Dublin, but without a widget the bottles didn’t pour draught, and while the widget in the cans (which is a nitrogen-filled ping pong ball with a hymen that ruptured when the can opened) certainly works well for Kilkenny, it was never really satisfactory to bring out all the colour of its more beautiful darker sister.

43713 What’s changed is a new widget in a new Guinness bottle – a “rocket widget” that comes with promises you can even drink straight from the bottle and still get the full Guinness hit, a promise that certainly delivers the goods when you pour it into a glass and drink it as you should.

The widget promise is no idle promise.  What it pours is nectar.

There were some glorious days over the last summer when myself and my companions were getting to know these dark, well-chilled lovelies a little better, days when you could almost close your eyes and think you were in Dublin – if that is there weren’t the sounds of summer and it weren’t about twenty degrees warmer.

And as it happened this dark beer born in a brewery by the Liffey proved, with its new rocket widget, to accompany the sounds of a New Zealand summer extraordinarily well.  And it has the added advantage of being on sale in most every bottle store in the country (and in the Dargaville Woolworths at least it’s on special at the bargain bottle price of just $14.99 for a six-pack).

I commend it to your well-deserved attention.


* * Check back in next week when your two regular beer correspondents Stu and Neil will return in this regular Friday slot to keep your thirst quenched and you taste buds tapping.  * *


  1. That is an incredible find, I'll have to give it a go as soon as possible ;)

  2. Hurry back Stu and Neil. He's fair losing the plot... ;)

  3. At last an "ode to my favourite" beer.

    All hail the rocket widget!

    Even a bad Guinness is shit loads better that any local excuse for a beer.

    Lawrence oO

  4. Interesting, comments.

    The head brewer from Ireland was in Christchurch last year and was on talk-back radio.

    I remember someone rang-in and asked “Can you tell between the N.Z Guinness and the original?” (words to the effect)

    His reply was along the lines “Those with trained taste-buds will, but most people won’t”

    Take from this, what you will.

    Agree, that widget thingy is a marvel of modern science and deserving of a Noble prize.



    PS: A four pack of the cans cost me around $20.00 at the local Wollies on the weekend, so $15 is a good score.


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