Guinness gracious!

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 12:54 23/11/2012

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A Picton couple who have poured thousands of pints of the black stuff will represent the upper South Island in a national Guinness contest for the second time.

Seamus's Irish Bar owners Liz and Alastair Hawthorne won the Upper South Island Guinness Pint Master regional final at The Craic Irish bar in Christchurch on Tuesday night and will compete for the national title in Auckland on December 4.

The first round of the competition saw the couple take turns pouring a pint before showing off their Guinness hot-pot beef pie with Guinness relish.

The couple also represented the region in the 2008 competition.

Speaking from behind the beer taps in her traditional pub yesterday, Mrs Hawthorne explained it took 119 seconds and 16 steps to pour the perfect pint.

She delicately inspects the glass for cracks before holding it at a 45-degree angle and filling it slowly about three-quarters of the way up to the bottom of the Guinness logo. The glass is put down to settle before being filled to the top, a thick dome of head about 17 millimetres thick - an ideal amount - foams on top and the drink is placed logo-forward on a Guinness coaster.

"It's the way you present it, the smell, the taste - everything.

"We pour thousands of pints; if I wasn't good at it by now I'd need to go home." The pub's Guinness 100-pint club name-chart on the wall is full - the top contender had "about 6000 pints over time".

The Hawthornes have owned the pub for nine years and their homemade beef, Guinness and carrot hot-pot pie has long been a favourite on the menu.

"We make 10 kilograms of it each week - I don't how many pies that is but it's a lot."

Ironically, Mrs Hawthorne does not drink much Guinness; she prefers a bit of Smirnoff vodka.

"He's the one who knows if it's a good pint or not," she says, pointing to her husband.

Mr Hawthorne said the couple were confident of winning the competition after representing the region in the 2008 round.

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- The Marlborough Express

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