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My Goodness, my Guinness. We decided to visit the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin on a recent day trip from London, in an attempt to see if Guinness does in fact taste better at the source (spoiler alert – it does)!
Guinness Storehouse in Dublin
After arriving on an 9am flight from London Stansted and exploring the usual Dublin delights like the Ha-penny bridge and Temple Bar, we then made the 20 minute walk to the Guinness Storehouse from downtown. It is easy to find using the tourist street direction sign posts plus the locals are always happy to point you in the right direction if you aren’t sure.
We arrived at our duly appointed time-slot and joined a small queue outside. We booked our self guided tour a few days in advance online (15 Euros including a pint of Guinness as at September 2020) and then led ourselves around the five floors of activities, demonstrations (and tasting!), all located in a former Guinness storehouse where the ‘black stuff’ actually used to be made.
Each level has a different story to tell. The first floor takes you through the history of Guinness and a recap of the main ingredients that go into making your pint – we’d alway assumed the Guinness water came from the nearby River Liffey but it turns out it comes from the Wicklow Mountains.
The second floor has some of the old brewing equipment from the 1900s still on display plus lots of interpretation and information about the brewing process. For instance, we learned the optimum temperature for roasting the Guinness barley is 232 degrees – anything above that and the barley will be ruined and anything below will mean less flavour – producing Guinness is a precise business then!
One of our favourite parts of the entire Guinness Storehouse was the tasting room, where you get to try your first sample of Guinness (the first sip is always the best) as a staff member tells you the best way to drink it; essentially, breathe in and take a big gulp without drinking too much of the bitter head at the start. The room also has barrels pumping out the smells of Guinness hops and barley to further tantalise and start your taste buds going.
Another neat feature was the section dedicated to the history of Guinness advertising over the years – from large scale replications of iconic Guinness cartoons and creations (the cycling salmon is particularly out there) through to the chance to recreate the classic girder carrying cartoon from the 1940s, this was a treasure trove of Guinness trivia and nostalgia.
There was also a cinema showing all the most well remembered ads as well as some of the international ones you may not have seen before. For us, the best ad still has to be the Jonathan Glazer directed surfer / horse ad, to the tune of Leftfield – it was good to watch this on the big-screen here with stereo sound and the big beats blaring out.
After all the reading, walking and talking, it was time to take the final escalator up to the fifth floor to have an actual pint of Guinness – truly a ‘Stairway to Heaven’. The 360 degree Gravity Bar is the final port of call and allows you to enjoy a spot of the ‘black stuff’ (other drinks are available if you aren’t a Guinness guru) and enjoy panoramic views of the Dublin city skyline and surrounding hills. Never has there been a more majestic spot to sup a Guinness and put in some practice on how to savour this class in a glass before you (hopefully) hit Temple Bar later in the day. Cheers!
We really enjoyed our excursion to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. If you are planning on heading there soon, read on for some additional tips on how to get the best out of your Guinness Storehouse experience.
Our Top Tips for the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin
Book your tickets in advance for a discount
We visited the Guinness Storehouse in August 2020 in the aftermath of covid-19 so to ensure you get in (numbers are limited due to social-distancing), make sure you book your tickets in advance. Slots are available every 15 minutes and if you book far enough in advance, you can secure yourself a cheaper off-peak ticket for 15 Euros each which includes a pint of Guinness in the fifth floor Gravity bar at the end of your self-guided tour. The standard online price is $19 Euros per person for admission.
Continue the Guinness Goodness in Arthur’s Bar afterwards
After we’d finished our complimentary pint and Guinness cocktail in the Gravity Bar, we walked back down to the fourth level to enjoy some more Guinness and bar snacks in the onsite Arthur’s Bar. We visited on a Saturday afternoon and were lucky enough to get a window seat looking out over the city.
As you’d expect, the Guinness was goood ($5.50 a pint) and the recommended food pairing was a Guinness and Irish steak pie with root vegetables and black Guinness bread ($9 Euro and pretty tasty) – note there is a minimum charge of $9 Euros per head so you wouldn’t be able to go in to say have just one pint – unless you are willing to pay 9 Euros for it!
Politely ask for a window seat in the Orbit Bar / ask about the specials
The Gravity Bar where you enjoy your complimentary Guinness can get very busy – although that may be because we visited on a Saturday afternoon. There are lots of tables and chairs but not all are by the window so if you do fancy a view with your brew, ask if you can be seated by the window.
In addition, the Gravity Bar sometimes has specials which they don’t include on the menu so ask your server if there is anything unusual available – when we visited, they were serving a Guinness coffee stout. And don’t worry if you don’t like Guinness – they also offer Hop House 13 lager using the traditional Guinness hops plus soft drinks.
Get your souvenirs from the Guinness gift-shop
If you or a family member / friend are a Guinness fan, you are in for a treat in the gift shop. You can get practically anything Guinness branded here, from golf tees and umbrellas through to hoodies and magnets – we opted for a Guinness Christmas tree decoration ( a mini pint for our tree).
Head upstairs in the Guinness gift shop to also create your own personalised beer cans plus the off sales / take out beer here also offers some unusual treats, some of which are very cheap e.g. a 330ml of 7.5% special Guinness stout for $1.50 a bottle – I’d never tried this before and it tasted fantastic.
If you decide to stay on in one of the onsite Guiness bars afterwards and then don’t fancy the 20 minute walk (or should that be 30 minute stagger) back to town afterwards, there is also a taxi rank immediately outside the main entrance.
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