The perfect pint of Guinness proved an alluring temptation for the Duke of Edinburgh today – but one he could just about resist.
Faced with a glass filled with the “black stuff” Philip was left looking longingly at it while the Queen simply moved on, but then waited for her husband to make up his mind.
Philip rarely drinks in public but the pint pulled by Guinness master brewer Fergal Murray appeared to leave him in a quandary.
As the famous brewery slogan states, Guinness is good for you, but after a few anxious moments Philip, his hands clasped behind his back, declined to put the claim to the test.
The royal couple were shown one of Ireland’s best known exports during a visit to the St James’s Gate brewery, Dublin – home to the Guinness brand since 1759 and Ireland’s number one visitor attraction.
After being greeted by the company’s managing director, John Kennedy, the royal visitors were taken to the building’s glass fronted seventh floor Gravity Bar which boasts a panoramic 360 degree view of the city.
Good things comes to those that wait – as another well known Guinness slogan reminds drinkers – and the master brewer showed the royal couple how to pull the perfect pint.
The Duke joked as the stout filled the glass, asking: “Is it made with Liffey water?” – referring to the river which runs through the Irish capital.
As the Queen stood back, the Duke peered at Mr Murray intently and quipped: “You’re selling it to me.”
But when his wife walked away he gave the pint, now placed on the bar, one last look before choosing duty and joining the Queen.
Afterwards Mr Murray, an employee of the firm for 28 years after joining aged 21, said: “Prince Philip seemed particularly interested and I thought he came close to picking the pint up. He was definitely tempted. I could see it in his eyes.”
Mr Murray added: “I explained our six point system to pulling a pint which starts with filling the glass three quarters full at a 45 degree angle, allowing it to surge and settle, topping it up and then presenting it to the drinker.
“He seemed quite fascinated with the drama of it all.”
“The Queen was lovely but was obviously keen to get on with her sightseeing and had to persuade him leave the pint alone and follow her.”
Guinness has been brewed in the city for more than 250 years. Its four main ingredients are water, barley, hops and yeast but the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret. Only four people know the precise quantities used and the recipe is kept in the company’s safe.
The firm produces three million pints of Guinness every day which are shipped throughout Ireland, Britain, Central Europe and North America.
In all 10 million glasses are sipped worldwide every day.
After the demonstration the couple were treated to a “windows tour of Dublin” by well-known Irish television and radio presenter Ryan Tubridy, whose grandfather, Todd Andrews, played an active role in the IRA during the War of Independence.
Mr Tubridy, 37, presenter of the Late Late Show who has been a keen supporter of the Queen’s visit, pointed out key landmarks such as Trinity College and St Patrick’s Cathedral, with the Duke particularly keen to identify Croke Park, the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association which they later visited.
The presenter said afterwards: “The Duke was very animated and asking lots of questions while the Queen seemed happy just to take it all in. They were clearly delighted with the experience.”
At one point the couple were invited to view the original 9,000 year lease - costing the princely sum of £45 per year – signed by Arthur Guinness for the St James’s Gate site in 1759.
According to Mr Tubridy, the Duke quipped: “What kind of mug signs a lease like that?”
Paul Carty, managing director of the Guinness Storehouse, said afterwards: “We were deeply honoured to host this morning’s historical visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.”
John Kennedy, managing director of Diageo Ireland, added: “Today’s visit is a great legacy for Guinness and will be recorded in the annals of Guinness history for generations to come.”