LOCATION: St. James Gate Brewery. Dublin, Ireland
While I do love a good stout beer, I’ve never been a huge fan of Guinness, however I am wise enough to know it is a must to drink while in Ireland. We decided to drink a pint in Washington D.C. before leaving since we were trying one in about 12 hours. Comparisons of course.
Around 10am in Dublin (5am in the states) we decided to head to the brewery to try this local favorite and start our trip off just right. The brewery was enormous and much larger than I ever imagined it to be.
St. James Gate Brewery was founded in Dublin in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. He originally leased the brewery for only 45 euros per year for 9,000 years.
Yes, I wrote that correctly. Nine thousand years. It became the largest brewery in Ireland in 1838 and currently has an annual output of 1.2 million barrels and even makes its own power using its own power plant. The storehouse is used as a museum and showcases how the brewing process takes place, how to properly taste a beer, how to pour a beer (a 4 minute process), and other various facts about the beer throughout 7 stories.
The top floor is the gravity bar where you have 360 views of the city and can enjoy your complementary beer. Some pretty neat exhibits of the storehouse was a hops smelling station where you could smell the chocolate, hops, and coffee flavors that are processed in the beer.
I also liked the room of all their advertisements. I never realized how many mascots they had for their beer. By far the best was learning how to correctly pour a Guinness. Apparently the States does it all wrong, which may contribute to the difference in taste, or the fact that preservatives have to go into it for it to be sent to America.
But the correct way to pour a Guinness is to
STEP 1: Take a cool, clean, dry, Guinness branded glass. STEP 2: Hold the glass under the tap at an angle of 45 degrees. STEP 3: Pull the handle forward until it is horizontal and fill the glass to between 15mm and 20mm (about ¾”) from the top. Never put the tap spout into the Guinness. STEP 4: Leave the surge to settle, approx. 2 minutes. STEP 5: Top up the glass by pushing the tap handle backwards until the head is just proud of the glass. Do not let the stout overflow, and never use a spatula to level the head. Let sit an additional 2 minutes. STEP 6: Hand the pint to the consumer with a steady hand. There should be no overspill.
Finally, we were ready to try our beer. After waiting the full amount of time, and yes we were scolded for trying to grab the beer too early, we drank. The Guinness in Ireland is definitely different compared to the States. The beer appeared to be thicker and really stuck to your lips like a milk mustache.
While I’m able to drink stouts fairly easily, I had a hard time finishing this since it felt so creamy and heavy. It was so much better than I have had before. I highly recommend coming to the brewery and trying it from the source. St. James Gate also produces other beers that I tried while in Dublin. The Hop House 13 and Guinness Porter were incredible and a staple drink for me while out at the bars.
*Thank you Lori and Ryan for accompanying me on this adventure.
Would I do this again? Sure! But I really shouldn’t need to since Guinness is everywhere in the country. However, I do think this is a must do for any tourist in the area.
How to do this: Buy tickets in advanced online for a speedy entrance. The storehouse is located at http://www.guinness-storehouse.com/en/Index.aspx and tickets are 24 Euros.