[Obama] remarked that the last time he'd ordered a Guinness in Ireland, during a stopover at Shannon Airport en route to Afghanistan, it was much tastier than any he'd had in the United States. "What I realized is you guys are keeping all the best stuff here," he concluded. Was the president blarneying his hosts—or is Guinness really better in Ireland?
It is. After the Institute of Food Technologists asked tasters to sample the so-called "black stuff" in 71 bars, 33 cities, and 14 countries over the course of a year, they gave it an average rating of 74 points out of 100 on the Emerald Isle, about 20 points higher than it got anywhere else. "This difference remained statistically significant after adjusting for researcher, pub ambience, [and] Guinness appearance," the researchers noted.
Freshness is the key factor. Beer is liquid bread, or so the saying goes—both are made out of grains and rich in carbohydrates—and just like a baguette, the fresher beer is, the more delicious it tastes. (Wherever you are, order the kind from the closest brewery, the experts advise.) All Guinness sold in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and North America is made in Dublin—so the time it takes for a keg to cross the Atlantic puts it at an immediate disadvantage.
--Maura Kelly, Slate, on the pale shadow of Guinness found in the U.S.