When in Rome… I mean Dublin, one of your stops has to of course be Guinness! That is exactly what we did while we were in Dublin just last week. Located in the heart of the St. James’s Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse stands tall with its seven levels of that legendary “Black Magic”. Oh how that frothy top rests above the dark and smooth Irish stout goodness. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, we’ll need to travel two levels up before we get to taste and experience that dark roasted stout. So let’s get started.
On the ground level, the journey begins as we stand at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass. Looking downward you’ll see the 9,000 year lease signed by Arthur Guinness on December 31, 1759 encased within the floor. Looking upward you’ll notice the distinct curve of the architecture that takes on the look of the Guinness pint glass. From there you can check out the retail store, or head up to the first floor to learn about the man, the legend, Arthur Guinness. Traveling up each floor you’ll get a mix of interactive experiences that are filled with Guinness brewing heritage and Ireland’s rich history.
The second floor is where the fun really starts. The tasting experience begins as you step forward over a pillar where a dash of light vapor floats outward allowing you to smell the aromas from the property-prepared ingredients. While there, you’ll get a small glass of Guinness to taste as an expert explains the textures and flavor contributed to each ingredient. It was here that I truly got to fully experience the flavor in Guinness and appreciate the amount of time and detail it takes to prepare it’s distinct flavor.
The third floor is all about the history of Guinness advertising. From the iconic slogans to the memorable mascots, you’ll find plenty of fun photo opportunities.
Moving on up to the forth floor we learned how to execute the perfect Guinness pour. Starting with a Guinness branded glass, it all starts with a 45-degree tilt away from you as you pull the tap towards you and let the liquid rise to the top of the Golden Harp. The hard part comes after… waiting. Once settled, hold the glass level then slowly continue the pour while pushing the tap away from you until you have a nice foam top that rises about a millimeter above the glass lip. The 119.5 seconds it takes for the proper pour is worth the wait.
After a well crafted pour, you’ll want to grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants on the fifth or sixth floors where great beer and good food awaits. Most people will finish the tour at the Gravity Bar located on the seventh floor. It has an excellent 360 view of Dublin. But the tour didn’t end for us there.
After the private tour of regular Guinness facility and after learning the perfect pour and after our guide ducked behind a few desks and after what I assume were a series of intense background checks, we were privately escorted by extra security through a maze of buildings and gates to The Open Gate Brewery. Guinness’ “very small batch craft brewery”; where they experiment with very old and new recipes. Here we enjoyed a private sampling and as someone from the “craft beer capital” of Michigan, it’s a good (and so sad) thing these brews will likely never leave St James Gate… they were incredible! Definitely one of my favorite spots in Dublin and if you are lucky enough to grab a VIP access pass for The Open Gate Brewery, then you truly have experienced Guinness in all its glory.
For more information about Guinness and booking a tour of the storehouse head over to guinness-storehouse.com/en/tickets