Poured from a tap with about 70% nitrogen mix allowing for a creamy head, much of the taste of Guinness stout seems to result from the quality of the bartender's multi-step pour, which you will see at most bars and certainly throughout Ireland. As with other beers, the age of the keg, the length of time it has been opened, the cleanliness of the lines, tap and the glasses matter matters quite a bit, possibly even more. The quality of Guinness varies greatly across the city, more so than any other beer: sometimes it is thin, weak and overly bitter while other times it is thick, rich, smooth and wonderfully enjoyable, as it always is at the Duck. A big reason, likely the biggest, is that they serve a lot of Guinness. So, that opaque black beer will be fresh, the lines clean, and staff well-versed in pouring a proper pint. Plus, the Duck’s pint is still 20-ounces, a size that is nearly extinct in Houston.
For those that think of the Duck as primarily a showcase club featuring top regional and local Americana musical acts, it has actually always had an excellent beer program. One of the earliest bar employees in the 1990s was Chris Black, the “king” of Denver’s beer scene and owner that time zone’s best beer bar, Falling Rock Tap House. When Black worked there, the bar was a regular stop for Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and most regularly, righthanded starter Mark Portugal, for whom a sandwich is named that still on the menu, and long the most popular item. The Duck now features roughly thirty beers on tap in a range of styles and regions, and a pint can be reason enough for visit, especially if you enjoy Guinness.
McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
2425 Norfolk, 77098, (713) 528-5999