Sunday, March 19, 2017
What a bittersweet morning this was. Good, because I was still in Dublin and had a day of adventuring ahead of me. Bad, because I knew I had to fill every moment with as many memorable experiences I could find. This would be the last day of St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Ireland this year.
So, of course, we got ourselves dressed and headed out to the Guinness Beer Factory and Storehouse. This was basically a mandatory activity for us, as it should be for any visitor of Dublin. It was about a 20 minute walk from Dublin Castle (right by our Airbnb), but what better way to seeing the city as a whole than by going for a stroll, coffee cup and gps in hand.
One of the most remarkable sights during our walk was Christ Church Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic style cathedral that was founded in 1030 A.D. The moment we were passing by we spotted a priest, who we called the warlock, wearing an orange robe that was drifting through the wind pretty majestically, if you ask me. You could even see the Ruins of the Chapter House right beside the Cathedral. It felt as though we were looking through a window into another time. I would have gone in to learn more about this beautiful piece of history, but the Storehouse was closing soon and we had to get there ASAP. But, oh well! Just another reason to go back!
The Storehouse was not exactly what we expected. When you walk in you purchase your tickets (for me, a student, it was 18 euro). You go up an elevator and it opens up into this huge cylindrical building with all the floors exposed and connected by escalators. It consists of 7 floors:
The Cafe, Cooperage and Transport, and the Arthur Guinness Story: This is basically where you start off learning about the history of the founder, as well as how the brewery began. On display are some of the original barrels and machinery that were used in transport. You can also grab a quick snack at the cafe to last you the rest of the self guided tour.
Tasting Floor: This floor is probably my favorite, purely for the reason of how cool the entrance to the tasting rooms is! You walk through this neon lit doorway, through some dark halls, and all of a sudden the doors open automatically and then BOOM you’re in the brightest, white room you’ve ever been in. It felt like one of those alien abduction scenes wh To make it even more interesting, dispersed around the room were these cylinders that release kind of like a water vapor from the surfaces. So what you do is you grab a sample of beer, take a waft of the water vapor (each of which is actually scented with a different ingredient in the beer), and then you taste for that specific ingredient. I felt like such a professional, wafting and saying “Mmm, yes. Definitely tasting the barley in this one.”
Marketing Floor: On this floor you’ll find some of the extremely unique brand campaigns Guinness has used over the years. The most memorable being the Whistling Oyster, which has it’s own little curtained off section.
The Guinness Academy: This floor is fun because you can learn how to perfectly pour your own pint of Guinness! The only downfall is that this room was extremely packed, for obvious reasons. Pretty cool, though.
Arthur’s Bar and the Dining Hall: Alright, so my advice is to skip the food here and go straight to Arthur’s Bar just to hangout and listen to some live “trad” tunes! I came here after I got my free beer at the Gravity Bar upstairs. I don’t know if I just got lucky, but the band that was playing was AMAZING. Fiddle, banjo, and all. They sang their own covers of many traditional irish songs, some of which were even better than the originals. The environment was absolutely breathtaking. There was a couple right beside us who was dancing so eloquently in some sort of irish traditional style and then, in front of me, right beside the band a mother was spinning her child. It was picture perfect and caused my eyes to fill up with tears. The song that the band was playing was Caledonia, but it sounded like no other version I could find.
Gravity Bar: With admission to the Storehouse, you get a free pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar and 306 degree views of Dublin. This technically consists of 2 floors, the “Weather Cam” being on the 6th and the Gravity Bar on the second. It gets pretty packed so try to snag a seat by the window if you want to take a picture to make everyone back at home jealous! I suggest going here first, drinking your beer, then going back down the Arthur’s bar to enjoy the music and the people.
Going to a beer factory can really change your opinion on the beer itself. I was not a fan of Guinness prior to my trip to Dublin. It sounds corny, but every time I look at a Guinness draft shaft or even a can of Guinness Draught I immediately get flashbacks to the memories of being in the home of that beer. Also, after drinking the number of pints I had while in Ireland, I’ve become quite fond of it. Like their slogan says, Guinness is good for you!