The first time I had a Guinness was on a hot summer day in the U.S. and it was horrible! I imagined it was what cold metal with some barley thrown in must have tasted like. I wouldn’t drink Guinness again until I moved to England in 2007, where I would find it to be a completely different beer all together. It was crisper and less bitter, with an almost refreshing finish to it. Guinness in England was delicious! I soon began to appreciate a good pint of the stout when I would go to the local pub. Why did Guinness suddenly taste better? Two reasons — Guinness must be poured a specific way (something that certainly wasn’t done in my first experience with it) and the closer you are to Dublin, the better the Guinness.
All Guinness in Ireland, the U.K. and North America is made in Dublin. Therefore, when it is en route to these far away countries the taste degrades. As one article noted, “Beer is liquid bread, or so the saying goes…and just like a baguette, the fresher beer is, the more delicious it tastes.”
I discovered how true this was when I had my first Guinness in Dublin. Pouring Guinness in Ireland is an art form and the standards on how to serve it are exceedingly high. Therefore when I finally got my first taste of Guinness in Dublin, the result led to my and friends and I proclaiming “Guinness is gold!” But, our journey for the best pint of Guinness wouldn’t end with just any pub in Dublin. For that, we would have to go to the source.
The Guinness Storehouse
The St. James Gate brewery in Dublin is the home of the original Guinness factory opened by Arthur Guinness in 1759 and the current location of the Guinness Storehouse. There are usually long lines to get in, but the wait is worth it. The Storehouse is essentially an adult’s version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, complete with waterfall. Here you get to learn about the history of Guinness, how it’s made, as well as the opportunity to start a batch of the black stuff. The Gravity Bar is at the top of the Storehouse and is where visitors can enjoy a perfectly poured pint as well as the amazing 360 degree view of Dublin.
Once you have left the Storehouse, the Guinness experience doesn’t end. Guinness flows like water all over the city and there is nothing more Irish than to enjoy a Guinness in the atmosphere of a pub in the Temple Bar district.
The Temple Bar district is near the River Liffey and is named after the Temple Bar (still in existence today) and has been around since 1637. The area is made up of numerous pubs along cobblestone streets. It is an ideal place to spend the evening in Dublin. The ultimate experience for me was popping into a few Irish pubs where a live folk band was playing Irish ballads and drinking a pint of the black stuff while chatting with the other pub goers.
So, whether you are a jilted beer drinker who didn’t enjoy Guinness the first time around or a seasoned Guinness drinker — I implore you to try another glass the next time you are in Dublin!
What’s the best pub you have been to in Dublin?
Originally visited: December 2007