Who knew hump day could be so enthralling? Mine certainly was, as I spent yesterday evening learning about Guinness from Guinness Master Brewer and resident Dubliner Fergal Murray himself. Taylor, who conveniently have their offices located in the Empire State Building provided an intimate tasting and dining experience for the fifteen invited guests.
A proud Irish citizen myself, I jumped at the chance to meet Fergal and learn more about his craft. During college, I remember visiting Dublin and taking a tour of the infamous Guinness Factory. The only difference was that instead of drinking a Guinness overlooking Dublin, I was in the world’s most famous building overlooking New York.
Before the official tasting began, we were offered a beer to start us off. All of a sudden I started feeling a bit tipsy. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the alcoholic content was slightly more that 7 percent. That certainly explained some of my giddiness throughout the evening.
The first plate consisted of a Smoked Salmon Platter paired with Guinness Extra Stout. Although I never thought to eat salmon while nursing a Guinness, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. The balance of the different flavors agreed with my palate quite well. Second, Murray paired Guinness Braised Bottomless Short Ribs with the regular Guinness Draught. Again, a clever pairing and one I would not have been able to conjure up.
Finally, Oysters on the Half Shell were paired with Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. This is the same beer I chose to start the evening off with, and before our plates were even brought out I noticed several water bottles had suddenly appeared in the center of the table. I guess I wasn’t the only one feeling a buzz.
The tasting concluded with pairing the same Guinness Foreign Extra Stout with a plate of various cheeses, delicious chocolates and fruit. I have quite the sweet tooth so I certainly helped myself to several of these desserts.
It proved to be one of those New York City nights; the ones that make living here like nowhere else. Murray is as witty as he is knowledgeable about Guinness and was a pleasure to meet. It was a great pre-celebration of St. Patrick’s Day for sure!
– Megan Eileen McDonough