I’m back in Cork, and relatively clean! I was in Dublin for 2 nights, and took 3 showers. It was incredible. The showers and the city.
Dublin was incredible. I fell in love with it pretty quickly – it is definitely in my list of favorite cities to which I’ve been. Why? Walking down the streets of Dublin, you can feel the history around you, whispering stories of the past, the struggles that took place there, and the rich culture that has been a part o Dublin for centuries. The city is very different than the other parts of Ireland I have been to – much more cosmopolitan and european and less distinctively Irish – wonderful none the less. I’ll post more details about my trip in general on my other blog soon (hopefully this weekend), but until then, a quick rundown of places I visited and things I did:
Christ Church and crypt
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The National Museum
Trinity College Libary: The Book of Kells and the oldest Irish Harp in Ireland
St. Stephen’s Green
Merrion Park and the Oscar Wilde memorial
St. Kevin’s Graveyard
The Temple Bar district and pub
The Ghostbus Tour
The Guinness Storehose tour
The Jameson’s Distillery tour
Now, these last two may come as a surprise. I have made it quite clear in the past that I don’t drink. Yes, I’m not a huge an of the liquid calories that come with it, but the major reason is because of an incident in which having a drink made my heart stop. For a year and a half now, I’ve been scared of what alcohol can do. However, since I was in Dublin, I knew I had to do the tours.
This post will cover my adventures in the Guinness Storehouse!
The tour was a self directed tour of the storehouse, which operated from 1759 to 1988. It was then renovated to allow visitors like myself to tour the home of the country’s most iconic beverage. The tour begins by viewing the lease Arthur Guinness signed in 1759 for the brewery – a 9000 year lease! Woah. Guinness isn’t going anywhere.
The exhibition leads you through the various steps of the brewing process – from malting and roasting the barley down to maturing it. 10 days is all it takes for a pint to be ready! The secret ingredients are revealed: barley, hops, water, and yeast, along with a 5th ingredient: the essence of Guinness. What is that exactly? Its the love and dedication of the brewery over the 250 years it has been in operation. Cheesy? Perhops, but does it make Guinness stand out above the rest? Absolutely!
After walking through the brewing proccess, you end up in the tasting room, where one of the three most common types of Guinness (foreign extra, draught, original) is offered in a sample size glass. On the day I visited, draught was the option!
While drinking it, we were given instructions… or guidance to lead us through the tasting. First, we held it up to the light to reveal the true ruby red color of the stout – it isn’t the black that everyone thinks it is! On first taste, Guinness is full bodied, very slightly sweet, with a hint of a burnt or smoky flavor at the end. Swallowing it, the bitterness of the hops hits the back of your throat. Many people consider it to be an acquired taste – I however, liked it from the start (my first taste was several years ago).
Next, we passed to the advertising area where the long (and sometimes comic) history of Guinness advertising was shown. Did you ever wonder where the Guinness Harp came from? Here it is:
The Famous Guinness Harp!
After that, the tour gives you two options: pour your own pint, or go up to the Galaxy Bar to have your pint poured for you. I hope you know what I chose.
Pouring, part 1
If you ever wanted to know why Guinness a) has a thick, creamy head or b) why a proper bartender pours it in 2 steps, taking about 3 minutes, here’s why:
To pour a proper pint, first you pull the draught handle towards you, pouring the Guinness into a glass tilted at 45 degrees. Pulling the handle toward you releases nitrogen gas into the stout – which is why it has the famous white head. When the glass fills, you straighten it, and continue pouring until it reaches the top of the iconic harp on the pint glass. You then let the stout rest for 2 minutes (or rather, 1 minute, 59 seconds). The stout will go from the milky brown, swirly liquid to the famous dark brew with the white top. Then comes step two – filling the glass. In this step, you push the handle away from you, which streams pure Guinness without any added gas. In order to pour the ‘perfect pint’, you fill the glass until the head is peaking over the rim by a couple of millimeters. Finally – enjoy!
My Guinness is in front - minus one sip. The one in the back was one already on the table.
Now, if you don’t believe me, check it out:
I am certified. Legit.
In the next post, I’ll walk through the Jameson’s Distillery!