I can honestly say, without a doubt in my mind, that the tours of the Guinness Brewery and the Jameson Distillery are worth the trips to Dublin. Dublin is a beautiful and exciting city with incredibly friendly and welcoming people and the addition of these two attractions make this city close to perfect.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of parades and so on St. Patrick’s Day, instead of trying to grab a glimpse of passing floats through the shoulders of people, we made the wise decision of heading to Guinness. It’s a bit of a walk from the center of town but it is made easier as the smell of roasting barley and fermenting beer draws you in; it’s a smell I hated when my father made beer once when I was much younger, it was gorgeously sweet smell in Dublin, however. After weaving through what feels like a city in itself, you finally arrive at the start of the tour, I felt like, well like a Guinness lover in the heart of it all, practically skipping with joy and excitement.
The first floor of the self guided tour (in a building shaped like a pint glass) takes you through the ingredients and the brewing process of Guinness. Everything is beautifully laid out and there is no detail overlooked. Ingredients are set out on a massive scale in order to show how the raw ingredients look, then as the process continues, you see the changes. For instance, you are able to see, touch and smell barley before and after the roasting process. There are quotes from various brewmasters and a history of Guinness on the next level and advertising a few floors up. This was of particular interest to me coming from a marketing education, the advertising of Guinness is flawless today and looked as if it always had been that way. There have been changes in their message, they’re 250 years old, changes were necessary, but they have created and maintained an incredibly strong and well known brand message, something I may be looking at from a different angle than most people, but it’s fascinating, none the less.
On the same floor as the advertising there is a bar dedicated to teaching visitors how to properly pour a Guinness, and there is a lot more to it than you may assume. A clean, clear, room temperature glass (Guinness logo please) is your first step. That glass is placed at a 45º angle, then you can let the Guinness flow straightening out the glass ever so slowly until the beer reaches the bottom of the harp (about 2/3 full). Now this is where the magic happens, wait until your Guinness completely settles, take a look at how gorgeous it is while your waiting. After completely settling you can top it off, and this should be done by pushing the tap backwards so as to cut off the gas, there is enough in the pint and we just want pure Guinness now, let the head go above the rim of the glass and you have a perfect pint of Guinness.
The only thing left to see was the top floor bar which has floor to ceiling windows and offers a panoramic view of the lovely little city that is Dublin. Go there and see for yourself, it’s well worth it.
And, if you need a travel buddy, sign me up!