Stand up straight, arm bend at a ninety degree angle and bring the glass towards you – don’t bend into it, keep your head up. Take a large drink of the beer, through the foam -this isn’t meant to be sipped. As you drink the beer, you’ll taste different flavour components in different parts of your mouth.
And with that I hesitantly raised the glass to my mouth and had my very first sip of Guinness.
You can hardly mutter the name Dublin without thinking of the dark stuff, and although Guinness is synonymous with Ireland as a whole, St. James’s Gate located off the south quays in Dublin is the birthplace of this famous brew. Today visitors can visit the beloved Guinness Storehouse to learn about the history of Guinness, the brewing process, and even sample some of the good stuff right where it’s made.
We have managed to check out a few breweries during our time in Europe, however none have been as infamous or widely recommended as the Guinness Storehouse – and none of these visits have come with as large a price tag either. However, as pricey as the entrance fee seemed to a couple of budget travelers like ourselves, at nearly 15 Euro per person we also knew that this was one of the must-see attractions in Dublin; the fact that most of the other “attractions” we wanted to see in Dublin involved walking around and admiring from afar (for free!) helped ease the sticker shock of visiting the Storehouse.
While it’s not possible to visit the Guinness Brewery, without selling your soul or getting in good with the right people, Guinness has provided plenty to keep visitors busy – so much so that one almost forgets they aren’t walking along the brewery floor. Housed in the original brewery building, Guinness has constructed an elaborate museum of sorts complete with interactive exhibits explaining their unique brewing process and intriguing company history, numerous restaurants, a fully stocked souvenir store, and a glass encased Gravity Bar that features some of the best views of the city of Dublin.
As it turns out, all the reviews and recommendations we read online were spot on as we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Guinness Storehouse. Although as beer fans it played into our interests, with so many different displays and interactions I bet that almost anyone can find something to take away from a visit – even if you prefer Guinness advertisements over their beer. One of my favorite aspects of our visit was learning about Arthur Guinness who founded the brewery in 1759 and was so confident in his product he signed a 9,000 year lease for the property at St. James’s Gate. Although the lease is no longer valid, it’s incredible that anyone was willing to make this kind of wager on themselves and their product.
Walking through Dublin, it’s evident that this is the home of Guinness – posters and advertisements are plastered on every pub in the city, delivery trucks are rampant in the downtown core, and every souvenir store within a ten mile radius is full of products plastered with the famous Guinness harp. However as famous as Guinness is throughout the world, before our visit I’d never bothered to try it for myself.
Why would a self-professed beer lover not have tried one of the most known and loved beers in the world you may ask? Although I had never gone out of my way to avoid Guinness, I also had always considered myself a light-beer drinker, completely writing off the darker varieties and claiming I didn’t like them. The funny thing is I hadn’t really tried that many dark beers so how I knew I didn’t like them is a bit of a mystery. Fortunately, I approached our visit to Dublin with a more open mind and discovered that I actually enjoyed the creamy head and thicker consistency of my first Guinness.
Taking in the view from the Guinness Gravity Bar, as the sun poked out from behind a dark cloud and painted the entire city of Dublin in it’s rich golden light, I couldn’t help but pause and relish the moment. I was enjoying my first ever pint of Guinness and I was drinking it in Dublin at the world’s most famous brewery. Looking around, everything was perfect, except for one tiny detail – with beer this fresh, I knew it would never taste as good anywhere else.
Logistics: The Guinness Storehouse is located towards Euston Station. The easiest and most pleasant way to get their is to walk (on a sunny day of course) which takes about 20 minutes from the centre. You can also take the LUAS to St. James’ Hospital. Buying your tickets online will save you 10% on your entry fee. You just write down your confirmation number and use the ticket machine at the entrance – plus you get to skip the line! The Storehouse is open every day from 9:30 – 17:00.