- President Joe Biden is visiting Ireland this week and may be expected to sample a pint of Guinness, the iconic Irish beverage.
- However, Biden does not drink alcohol.
- Former President Donald Trump, who is also teetotal, visited Ireland in June, 2019, but did not drink Guinness.
President Joe Biden is visiting Ireland this week and he’s likely to take part in a longstanding tradition for high profile visitors to the country—sipping a pint of Guinness.
The stout—sometimes referred to as “the Black Stuff”—is an iconic Irish beverage that’s been brewed since 1759, while the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is now a major tourist attraction that also draws international guests, including the late Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
However, Biden is known for not being a drinker and has even joked about the fact that he doesn’t touch alcohol.
“I’m the only Irishman you ever met, though, that’s never had a drink, so I’m okay. I’m really not Irish,” Biden said during celebrations to mark St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
Nonetheless, the president’s temperance may not be a barrier to enjoying a pint of the famous Irish stout since Guinness now offers a non-alcoholic alternative.
Guinness 0.0, which is widely available at bars throughout Ireland, is “Guinness with everything except the alcohol,” according to the official description on Guinness’ website.
The president may be pleased to hear that Guinness 0.0 “boasts the same beautifully smooth taste, perfectly balanced flavor, and unique dark color of Guinness, just without the alcohol.”
Habitual Guinness drinkers might notice slight differences from the typical pint of the Black Stuff.
“It’s flatter,” one Irish barman told Newsweek. A pint of Guinness 0.0 is certainly less effervescent, and less creamy than its more popular alcoholic rival, but the underlying taste remains the same.
“And it’s the same price,” the barman joked. However, that price is highly dependent on where you are. A round of drinks in Dublin can be notoriously expensive, but Biden might find a more affordable pint in Louth and Mayo.
It cost Newsweek €5.60 – around $6.20 – to sample the non-alcoholic Guinness that Biden might taste on his Irish travels.
Former President Donald Trump, who is also teetotal, visited Ireland in June, 2019 and didn’t drink a Guinness during his time there. However, Guinness 0.0 was not on the market at that time.
As Biden travels the country exploring his Irish heritage, he may be conscious of the visit by his friend and ex-boss, former President Barack Obama, whose May 2011 visit to Ireland was widely regarded as a success.
One of the most memorable moments of Obama’s trip was when he sampled a pint of Guinness in Ollie Hayes’ Bar in the town of Moneygall, County Offaly—Obama’s ancestral Irish village.
Obama discussed the process of serving a pint of Guinness—the two-part pour—with bar staff. Drinking a pint of Guinness that hasn’t been properly poured or had time to settle is considered a faux pas in Ireland.
“You tell me when it’s properly settled, I don’t want to mess this up,” Obama said.
Before leaving the pub, Obama put some money on the counter and said: “I just want you to know the president pays his bar tab.”
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip paid a visit to Ireland in May 2011. During that historic trip the royal couple went to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Their visit to Ireland was the first time a British monarch had visited since 1911, when the entire island of Ireland was still part of the U.K.
Philip caused a minor stir when he reportedly asked if Guinness was made from water from the River Liffey, which flows through Dublin. He was told the water was piped from the Wicklow Mountains, which are in a neighboring county south of the capital.
Biden should have ample opportunity to try Guinness on his planned visits to County Louth and County Mayo, where his Irish ancestors originate, though it remains unclear whether he’ll pop into any of the local pubs.
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