The pursuit of a good beer is a worthy pursuit. Even as an undergraduate in college, I knew that Keystone Light and Natty Ice weren’t really beer. After all, I had been to England as a teenager and (sorry mom) discovered what beer could and should taste like. I discovered Guinness. Guinness’s brand promise is that “it’s good for you,” something I believed in 1996 and still believe in 2012.
In 1999, I spent 6 months in the Himalayas. I studied in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, climbed sacred mountains and lived with Tibetan refugees. I was in hot pursuit of capital T Truth, and I found more of it in those 6 months than in my other 32 ½ years combined. Amid that pursuit, however, I happened upon another truth: the beer in the Himalayas is awful. Awful. Until…
One evening, I was leaving a dinner with some other Americans as a bicycle rickshaw passed us by. On the back of the rickshaw, I saw – unmistakably – a Guinness Logo.
Of all my time in the wisdom and beauty of the Himalayas, this was my big AHA moment. But I was only 3 months into my time in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Hindi was still, well … Hindi. So the other scribbles on the advertisement were lost on me.
So I ran. It was a knee jerk reaction, but I hadn’t had a good beer in a long time. I sprinted down the street after the rickshaw and signaled the driver to stop. I finagled him to the back of his rickshaw and pointed enthusiastically to his sign. “Where is Guinness? Where is Guinness?” After a lot of head shaking, head nodding and hand gestures, the driver finally told me to “Get in!” And I did.
What ensued was a true Kathmandu Odyssey. My trusty bicycle rickshaw driver pedaled up, down and around the Kathmandu Valley trying to find my Guinness. Throughout our journey, we would pull over to the side of the road so my driver could seek the council of some friends. There was a lot of finger pointing, arguing, shouting; it is not hyperbole to say that this pursuit of Guinness lasted for hours. Yet after many hilly miles, we found it.
It turns out that Guinness had begun brewing beer in Nepal just that month! There was only one bar in the whole valley that had the first batch of beer, and we found it! I cannot aptly describe how beautiful it looked and how good it tasted – made all the more incredible by the excitement of the effort. I even got my driver to come in and have one with me.
The cool thing about Guinness is that, even when it is brewed elsewhere on the globe, a certain percentage of each brew must come from the original brewery in Dublin, Ireland. That’s seriously cool.
The pursuit of Guinness was, and still is, a worthy pursuit. I am pleased to announce that the Freckled Dog Pub is now a destination for this pursuit. Summit will serve its first Guinness tonight. Sure it will be in a draught can, but part of the beverage will be straight from the Dublin brewery.
Guinness: It’s Good for you. So is the Freckled Dog Pub.