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BEST POUR OF GUINNESS Minneapolis 1998 -

A year ago last October, owner Tom Scanlon changed the name of his Ace Bar, a popular hangout for students at St. Thomas, to the Dubliner Pub--an appropriate move considering his Irish brogue and the establishment's reputation for artfully pouring a glass of Guinness stout. The cost: a still-reasonable $3.75. During the week they go through at least 15 kegs of the stuff, and on St. Paddy's weekend alone they tapped 14. Unlike other, lesser brews, the Irish nectar must be combined with nitrogen and served at a fairly warm 53 to 57 degrees, which means there should be separate tap lines and special attention paid to the mix--something many bars avoid in the name of convenience. When this process ("tuning the taps") is properly tested, a drinker should be able to write his initials in the brew's head and still read them when all that's left at the bottom of the glass is a quarter inch of foam. At the Dubliner, you can ask the bartender to make you a clover leaf, and if you're lucky, he'll pull the Guinness slowly, using the last few dribbles from the tap to draw the Irish icon at the end of his pour. Which is much more fun (and sanitary) than some drunk's John Hancock.

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