Guinness is to the Irish as Vegemite is to Australians, tea is to the British, and fast-food is to Americans (sorry Americans!) So the conversation I had with my friend caught me off guard;
“You know it’s sacrilege because I love my drink but I haven’t visited yet.“
It was somewhat shocking – an Irishman who hasn’t taken the pilgrimage to the place the black stuff is made – The Guinness Storehouse – that’s how I found myself, for the second time, in stout heaven when I don’t even drink beer.
A Pint-Sized Time Capsule
Nestled in St James’s Gate (see the miniature version above), a not-so-short walk from Dublin’s infamous Temple Bar, the Guinness Storehouse is an impressive site from the moment you passed through the looming black gates. Keeping the industrial feel of a brewery throughout, you are taken on a journey through the process of what ingredients you need, how they create the brew, to the history of Guinness and even the famous advertisements featuring the Guinness Toucan which have become a brand trademark, all in a giant pint glass.
Yes, you did read that right – the Guinness Storehouse is designed around the world’s largest pint glass that would hold 14.3 million pints if filled.
“It’s like being in a church – aww, my Maam would have a fit if she heard me talking like that – but it’s like being in my type of church,” Padraig said as he gazing at the space, “Now where do we go to get a wee drink?“
Pouring the Perfect Pint
If you come to the home of Ireland’s black gold you want to try some, right? Throughout your visit there are stages you can try Guinness or even learn how to pour the perfect pint.
After spending three-months at summer camp with Padraig, including many drinks at the local bars on the weekends, I’d learnt what the ‘head’ of a pint was and also how Americans were incapable of pouring the perfect pint of Guinness.
Being at its home you get a few cheeky tastes of it during the tour – after learning about the process of making it, in the Gravity bar on the top floor, in one of the cafes or restaurants (where you can also taste Guinness inspired recipes), and you can pull your own pint – and I wanted to pull just one of the 10 million pints of Guinness that is poured around the world each day!
It takes just 119.5 seconds to pull the perfect pint, and whilst mine may have taken a few seconds longer, according to the taste master – that is the Irishman – I pulled a pint almost as well as an Irishwoman; I’ll take that as a compliment!
Looking at the Glass from the Top Down
After making it through the history of the factory, rows of the brewery’s famous advertisements, and an homage to sport – particularly rugby – where Guinness is a proud sponsor; you’ll finally make it to the top of the pint glass where the Gravity Bar is nestled – yep, that means more Guinness!
If you didn’t pour a perfect you can claim a free Guinness, otherwise sit down and soak up the atmosphere or just admire what is arguably one of the best views of Dublin.
“Aye, she’s beautiful isn’t she?“
It seemed that Padraig could read my mind as we settled down for (another) drink and to catch up on all “the craic“.
Is Guinness your favourite type of pint?
Have you explored the Guinness Storehouse?
The Guinness Storehouse
St James’s Gate
Dublin 8, Ireland
Big thank you to Pod for coming down to Dublin (he’s a Northerner) and showing me around Dublin, Belfast and Londonderry/Derry – you’re a legend!