We are brewers and always have been; and in our brewing we have sought, and we seek, to ally the traditions and craftsmanship of the past with the best science has to teach us.” – Rupert Guinness
The largest stout brewer in the world has created a single beer so popular they brew more than 1 million barrels of it annually. That beer, of course, is Guinness Draught. Poured with a mixture of nitrogen, a pint of Guinness Draught has a thick creamy head, tastes of roasted malt, oatmeal, and a hint of chocolate with a pleasant bitterness–dangerously easy to enjoy in the pubs of Ireland!
Its brewery experience is no different. I have been to many breweries, but I have never seen anything quite like Guinness, and I had no idea quite how massive it truly is. Just a few steps inside the Guinness Storehouse at St. James Gate Brewery, a sense of its history and grandeur is overwhelming, starting with the 9,000 year lease signed by Arthur Guinness in 1759 displayed in a glass seal in the floor. Circling above the seal are seven floors connected by an interweaving network of escalators and turquoise steel beams, rising higher and wider in an atrium the shape of a pint glass. From the ingredients that go into the iconic dark ruby pints to its transportation to the rest of the world to its signature advertising, each floor takes you through a piece of Guinness history highlighted in enormous displays, video screens and the brewery’s very own relics.
The well known animals and characters such as the sea lion, ostrich, pelican, kangaroo and many others will live on forever on the advertising floor in what can only be described as an ad shrine displaying them and the famed Guinness slogans such as “My Goodness My Guinness,” “Guinness For Strength,” and “Opening Time is Guinness Time.” One of the most impressive exhibits is a large circular room walled by massive HD screens and reverberating with the sound of the ad playing on a loop: Guinness’s multi award-winning Surfer. Another stand-out is an immense wooden sculpture of a pint glass formed by meticulously carved images of Guinness’s history from a collaboration of artists and topped by a floating white cloud.
Continuing up higher and higher, visitors can stop in a tasting room, the perfect pour academy, two restaurants and the Connoisseur Bar–but the best stop of all is at the top.
On the 7th floor of the Storehouse is the Gravity Bar, a glass-walled lounge with a 360° view over the city. Tickets come with a free pint at the bar in the center of the lounge, and lucky for me, Alexa doesn’t drink beer, so I enjoyed two pints with the best view in Dublin. I must let it be known that the Guinness in Ireland truly is better than what we get here in the states. I was skeptical about this myself before going, but I can honestly say there is no denying it. Maybe it was because I was in the Guinness mecca itself, or maybe shipping conditions affect the taste when exported, or maybe American bartenders don’t know the proper Guinness pour. My guess is it’s a combination of these and some additional variables.
After having a couple of pints it was time to get a bite to eat, and the Guinness Stew from the Brewers Hall was exactly what the doctor ordered. Whether you’re new to Guinness or a seasoned drinker, I can’t imagine a more perfect way to experience it. As a long time fan of the beer and brand, I cannot wait until to return and do it again.