This was probably Nicholas’ favorite thing we did in Ireland. (He still has the building map and likes to point out how you go up thru it. He often sits on my lap and reads as I type. Recently I typed “I guess” which he insisted said “I Guinness.”)
Weird, I know, since he’s 3. But no surprise there. It was pretty freaking cool. The building is beautiful in and of itself (built 1902, first multi-storey steel-framed building in Britain). The view from a top, looking over St James’ Gate at the Gravity Bar, is worth the admission price alone. Then there’s the beer. I don’t care about the whole “craft beer revolution; Guinness is too corporate blah, blah, blah.” Guinness is what every small, independent brewery aspires to be. Going from the entrepreneurial days of Arthur Guinness to the global brand powerhouse it is today—there’s something quite admirable in that. I’ll always sit for a pint of Guinness. It’s not what I’m drinking as I type this, but that’s not really relevant is it?
Guinness Storehouse is the Disneyland of beer. Ingredients, the brewing process, history of the brewery, ancient equipment, advertising artifacts. Old mash tons, barrels, bottles, and the harp. It’s pretty hard not to like this place. Welcome:
The self-guided tour is interesting both to those unfamiliar with the brewing process (here’s your crash course) and those who experience it firsthand in our kitchen/backyard/basement. There are facts and quotes from Arthur Guinness throughout the place, but the one I like best was in the advertising section. Written by a doctor, it reads:
“I often prescribe Guinness and for the following reasons in chief. A bottle of Guinness put in front of say, a dispirited health-greedy convalescent has a wonderfully auto-suggestive cheer-producing effect. It looks potent and jolly and when consumed it acts as a stomachic and whip to the appetite. It makes the patient feel better and eat better and think cheerfully.”
Roger that. Guinness was also given to people who had just given blood and prescribed to nursing mothers and those recovering from illness. To think all we get today is a cookie, a pat on the back and antibiotics.
With your ticket you get one pint, redeemable either at the Gravity Bar or at the pour your own pint bar on the floor below. We chose the latter and are hereby officially certified to pour the perfect pint (at least that’s what the certificate says).
The only downside: the Gravity Bar, not a cash bar. You can only redeem your ticket for a free pint. Understandably, this keeps people cycling thru and keeps it from getting too packed on busy days, but I would have liked another pint up there. IMO, they’re sitting on a goldmine. If I was Guinness, I’d enable cash transactions or build a similar bar (cash only, no tickets). They’d make a killing.
There are also several restaurants inside, but we didn’t eat at any. Did pick up some recipe cards. Going to make this Guinness chocolate mousse or the truffles some time. Recipes are also on their web site.
M O R E P H O T O S
From Guinness. Shot October 27, 2011. Dublin, Ireland
M O R E P H O T O S
From Guinness Gravity Bar. Shot October 27, 2011. Dublin, Ireland