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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 11:54 GMT
Taste challenge settles Guinness row
Seasoned beer enthusiasts have often claimed that the best Guinness in the world is served in Dublin bars - a lesson that a pub owner in England has learned to his cost.

Norwich's version of Guinness is brewed in London
Perhaps Cork-born Aidan Mahon should have known better when he decided to deal with complaints from patrons that the stout just didn't taste as good in Norwich as in Ireland.

After many long arguments about the taste of the London-brewed version of Guinness being served up in Delaneys bar, Mr Mahon rashly forked out 5,300 to prove his point.

"After a night of people moaning, I decided enough was enough and stood on the bar and told everyone I'd prove them wrong," he told the Daily Mirror.

With a chartered plane sitting in Norwich airport, he poured pints for 48 regular customers, and with the taste of the black stuff still fresh in their mouths, took them off to catch their Dublin flights.

Everyone thought I was mad but I wanted to prove my point, and I think I have
Aidan Mahon
Just hours later, the party embarked on an epic tasting session around Dublin's pubs.

Despite Mr Mahon's generous hospitality which included being put up in a four-star hotel, most of the lucky drinkers could not lie to save his feelings.

A majority insisted that the stout they had sampled in Dublin was better that his Norwich variety, although tactfully, they said his pints came close.

Mr Mahon said the trip, which took a few months to organise, was well worth the effort.

View along the Liffey river, Dublin
The party was put up in a four-star Dublin hotel
"Everyone thought I was mad but I wanted to prove my point, and I think I have," he said.

"It has been a bit of an expensive point to prove because, despite getting as many deals I can from everyone I know in Ireland, the whole trip cost me about 5,300."

Mr Mahon accepted that the Norwich and Dublin brews did taste different, but he insists that they are equally delicious.

"They say the reason it tastes different in England is because it's brewed with different water," he said.

Regulars insisted the taste challenge was almost scientific in its methods.

One of them, Nicholas Rix, said: "To be fair to Aidan, his Guinness is pretty good, but nothing compares to the Guinness in Ireland.

"We certainly tried out enough pints in Norwich and then Dublin to help make sure it was a fair test."

Ironically, Guinness will no longer be made in London after next summer, as parent company Diageo will close its Park Royal brewery and transfer production for the UK to Dublin.

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