I had been in Ireland for two whole days yet still refrained from drinking the countries best selling alcoholic beverage, a pint of Guinness stout. Why? Because I had never even had a sip of the black stuff before and I wanted my first time to be at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, where the phenomenon started.
Luckily, I wouldn’t have to wait too long to be broken of my Guinness virginity. On day three we headed over to the Guinness Storehouse, an operation that’s expansiveness covers three postal codes and the capacity to brew 20 million pints a day. We would be touring the seven stories dedicated to the history and making of this world famous beer. But, that’s not all. We would also be participating in the exclusive connoisseurs tasting where we would be learning how to pour the perfect pint and, of course, partaking in a little drinking too.
The seven story visitor experience was located on the outskirts of town and loaded with interactive fun. The levels will take you from the history of Guinness to a tasty tasting experience to the gravity bar located at the top floor that will give you a spectacular view of the city. There were indoor waterfalls, entertaining photo booths and plenty of places to indulge in a pint.
You will not be beer deprived.
My favorite floor was the World of Advertising where you can immerse yourself in over eighty years of one of the world’s most iconic brands. This section not only made me giggle, but also made me marvel at the creativity of Guinness over the years.
History can be entertaining.
Characters from the famous Guinness posters come to life; a moving 3d version of Fish on a Bicycle plays, 20 ticking clocks hang from the ceiling and a seal balancing a pint on its nose delights. The finale of the floor is the cinema portion that boasts a 138 foot long screen that wraps 180 degrees.
Though the general entrance gets you two small glasses or a pint of beer, the connoisseurs experience was something entirely different.
It was in a private, sleek bar.
The exclusive bar on the fourth floor was dimly lit with a tin tile ceiling and antique-style portraits hanging on the walls —reminiscent of a secret speakeasy. We had our own personal connoisseur who had worked for Guinness for 8 years and is now a brand ambassador.
He probably gets a lot of free stout.
The are 24 different types of Guinness around the world and we were going to taste five including the Dublin Porter and the Guinness Extra Stout in a bottle. The latter of the two is the fizzy version of the one on tap and there’s a special way of opening it. Start by putting it on a flat surface. As you open the bottle towards yourself listen to the hiss and look for the puff of smoke — this confirms it’s fresh. Pouring should be done at two 45 degree angles, both the glass and the bottle. At the end pull glass away.
The perfect Guinness pour — from a bottle.
The Perfect Guinness Pour: 2-part pour in 4 steps
Now it was time for the grand finale, to learn to pour the perfect pint from the tap. This requires a 2-part pour, in 4 steps. The perfect pint doesn’t have to be poured by some one with an Irish accent, it just has to be done using proper procedures.
1. Use the Right Glass
Choose a cool clean glass that has not been washed with food as that may leave a greasy residue and ghosty streaks. It is best to use a branded Guinness glass, a 20 ounce tulip, that’s made specifically for the stout.
2. Choose the Proper Angle
Tilt the glass away from you at a 45-degree angle and place it under the tap, never letting it actually touch the spigot. Pull the tap towards you and fill three-quarters of the way up, straightening the glass as it fills.
3. Let it Settle
Set the beer down on the counter and let it settle for 90 seconds. During this time the nitrogen bubbles float down the interior side and back up the middle — building a creamy head.
4. Top it Off
Once you have allow the beer to settle, top it off by pushing the tap (instead of pulling) and filling the glass so the foam creates a slight dome over the glass.
Now we were ready to indulge in the deep ruby-red Guinness. Let me tell you the wrong way to taste it, the way I may have done it at first: hold the beer, take a selfie, dip your finger in the foam to take a taste (which is really bitter!), take a tiny sip until you determine Guinness isn’t for them. Instead take a big gulp, drinking about a quarter of the glass before making any decisions.
Though my first ever sip of Guinness happened at the Guinness Storehouse, it was definitely not the last. I drank many times after, mostly pairing it with a plate of crispy fish & chips.
A perfect pint and a perfect pairing.
Have you ever tried a pint of Guinness? Or poured the perfect pint?
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The Guinness Storehouse is away from the center of town and can easily be reached by taxi. But, it is also a stop on the Hop On, Hop Off bus, which is how we arrived. This bus will take you to all the hot spots in Dublin. Viator sells a skip the line ticket, in case you don’t like to wait!
If you only have time for one, skip the Old Jameson Distillery (it’s a little cheesy) and go the Guinness Storehouse instead. We spent over four hours there and could have easily been entertained for a couple more.
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