My day began with a hearty Irish Breakfast. Not the usual way to start my day, but since I began drinking before 3 in the afternoon, it was a good thing…but I’m getting ahead of myself. I merely want you to know that alcohol was not all I consumed today. The breakfast here at the hotel was quite lovely, and I’m looking forward to another one tomorrow. I may need it because it looks like another long day!
Today was all about God and Guinness. Notice that God came first, but as in life, there is a place for both. Let me begin by saying I’m usually a wine drinker, not a beer lover. I don’t know if I succumbed to the Guinness marketing genius, or if I really have come to love this beer, but tonight I’m willing to say that Guinness has a new fan in me.
I’ve tried Guinness a few times, and always been put off by my first sip. Now that I’ve learned a bit more about the brew, I realize that I was probably being too tentative and never got past the foam. This is a problem for Guinness, because the foam is a bitter, but necessary component. Those of you who cook know about balancing one flavor against another. In this case, the bitter is needed to balance the sweet, but if you never get past that foamy bitter component to let it mingle with the taste of the beer, then all you’re left with is a bitter taste in your mouth. That was me, until today.
After touring the Guinness Storehouse here in Dublin, I would say most definitely that no matter how you feel about the beer, you should go. I went in as someone who thought I knew about Guinness, and didn’t much care for it. I changed my mind about the brew after receiving instruction on how to drink it…and I mean it when I say they give you instructions on how to do it correctly.
- When the beer is first poured you have to wait for it to settle (this can be the hard part!) The foam has to separate from the beer, and the dark beer has to clarify and become a dark ruby color.
- Then before sipping, you have to inhale…hold it…and take a good sized gulp. Enough so that you get past the foam and get a mouthful of beer. This has been my problem up until now. I wasn’t drinking enough lol!
The packaging of the cans of draught beer contain little nitrogen capsules that release their gas upon opening the can. This little invention was so remarkable that it got them the Queen’s Award for Innovation in Technology in 1991. Our tour guide told us that the internet was awarded a second place prize for innovation that same year. Guinness is very proud of that point, though I can’t see to find verification of it. However, in my family (and perhaps in Ireland) we never let the truth get in the way of a good story ;-).
The factory is impressive and the process is interesting to learn about. After you get the tour, there is the tasting. This takes place at the top of the brewery with a beautiful view of the surrounding city. Drinking and enjoying the view all works to provide for a fun outing.
I would also recommend taking the hosted tour, rather than the self-guided variety. The tour guide gives you the “cliff-notes” version of all the recorded info, and you can move through the exhibits more quickly and without feeling obligated to spend more time than is necessary. Besides that, you get to the free tasting room that much quicker.
The tour guides are personable and full of little jewels of trivia. The history of their marketing is filled with interesting stories. Toucans and Pelicans have been featured in ads for the company over the years. Some of the ad material is really cute. For example, this little rhyme was something our tour guide shared today:
“A wonderful bird is the pelican
It’s bill can hold more than it’s belly can
It can hold in it’s beak enough for a week.
I simply don’t know how the hell he can.”
Bottom line: I enjoyed the tour, loved the beer, and would recommend it to anyone who may be inclined. It’s a fun outing that could occupy a morning or a couple of hours. However, one word of caution…Our host, Batt Burns, regularly drinks Guinness as his beverage of choice at home here in Ireland, but he doesn’t drink it in the USA. He says,” It doesn’t travel well.” He has been right about so many things during our trip here, that I’m inclined to think he is right about this as well.
But now you’re asking yourself…wasn’t the title of this blog God and Guiness? Yes, yes, yes…I’m getting there! After drinking a pint of Stout, we rolled our way (in the bus) to St Patrick’s cathedral. Honest! We only had a pint. St Patrick’s is an impressive building for sure. Loaded with history and architecture, the building is beautiful. I especially loved the flags along the altar. The sounds of the boys choir and pew rattling organ music also added to the ambiance.
The grounds are lovely as well and here’s a couple of my favorite shots:
So there you have it! God and Guinness make for a great day. Tomorrow we are off to the beautiful Powerscourt Estate for touring and painting. I’ll try to show some artwork and what I’ve been doing in my not-so-spare time very soon. Thanks for the tips on Facebook and thanks for sharing my travels…Cheers y’all!