The closer we got, the more I could see the little boy in him coming out; giddiness, word vomit, pure excitement. What magnificent place were we creeping up on? None other than the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9000-year lease on a brewery at St. James’s Gate for an annual rent of £45. It was here where “The Black Stuff” was born. Fast forward to today where 10-million glasses of Guinness are enjoyed daily in over 150 countries around the world.
Our tour began on the ground floor of the storehouse where we learned all about what it takes to make Guinness. It is here where the 9000-year-old lease is encased in glass on the floor.
Fun Fact: Guinness is actually a deep red color when held to the light, not black!
Traveling up to the 1st floor, we got to see how Guinness has traveled the globe since the first shipment went out in 1769. We also learned about Arthur Guinness; a man with such a belief in his beer that he stamped his family name on it.
Taking an escalator to the 2nd floor, we began our tasting experience. After a 5-minute wait in line, we were ushered down a hallway and into a stark-white room with 4 scent pods. Our guide explained to use that half of the tasting experience is being able to smell the flavors that go into the beer, such as malt and hops. We took in the flavors at each of the pods and then proceeded to the actual tasting room with our mini pint glasses in hand. Did you know there are steps to drinking a Guinness? 1) Elbow out, 2) breathe in and take a big drink, 3) hold in mouth for 3-4 seconds, 4) swallow drink and blow breath out through your nose. This allows the full flavor of the beer to come out. I’m actually not big on Guinness. I can get about a 1/2 pint down before it becomes too heavy for me and the flavors are just overwhelming. I’m also not use to gulping beer as I’m usually a wine sipper! Brady, however, thought it was heaven on earth.
The 3rd floor of the storehouse is known as the World of Advertising. It was here we saw the Guinness Harp introduced in 1862, a fish riding a bicycle, and the brewery’s famous toucan! The weird advertising doesn’t stop there. We also saw a whistling clam, lions, seals, ostriches, and kangaroos. I found their advertising so interesting I bought a coffee table book on it!
Have you ever ordered a Guinness and thought the bartender forgot to bring it to you? Well, he didn’t. It actually takes 119.5 seconds to pour and serve a Guinness and the process is six-steps long. Guess what we got to do next? Yep, learn how to pour Guinness! This leads us to the 4th floor: Guinness Academy (included in normal ticket price) and the Connoisseur Experience (not included in normal ticket price). We were escorted into a pub where the bartender walked us through the six-step process to pouring a Guinness.
Step 1: The Glass – Guinness must be drank in a 20-ounce tulip-shaped glass. This allows the nitrogen in the Guinness to move down the side and back up into the neck of the beer causing a surge.
Step 2: Angle – Tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle with the spout directly above the harp on the signature glass.
Step 3: Pull – Pull the tap toward you and pour until the Guinness is halfway up the harp. Slowly straighten the glass as you pour.
Step 4: Settle – Set the glass down allowing the surge to settle until there is no more movement and the beer is “black.”
Step 5: Top-Up – Pick the glass up and pour the beer to the top pushing the tap away from you. Make sure not to let the head overflow.
Step 6: Present – Present the pint of Guinness with the logo and harp facing towards the customer.
NOTE: Your ticket includes a free pint of Guinness which you can get when you pour your own, or from the Gravity Bar on the 7th Floor. We opted to pour our own and go up to Gravity Bar to enjoy our pint and take in the views.
Finally, we arrived at the 7th and final floor with our Guinness in hand. This floor is where Gravity Bar is located and offers 360 degree views across the city’s skyline. We found a table near the glass, drank our Guinness, and took in the view. The bar was packed and it seemed as though everyone up there chose to redeem their free pint at the top rather than drinking their own (if they chose to do the pouring experience). Then again, it could have been that they were on their 3rd or 4th Guinness – the stuff was that good! We promptly finished our pints and returned to the gift shop located on the ground floor.
At the gift shop we went overboard buying souvenirs. Lucky for us, we were able to ship our goodies back via DHL (a large box was €50). Although it was expensive, we didn’t have the room in our packs and it was well worth it not having to carry all that stuff around. There is a kiosk in the gift shop where you are able to purchase your shipping. Then all you have to do is take your receipt and confirmation # to the checkout and they will pack up your stuff and ship it off!
Overall, the storehouse was a great tour and we really enjoyed it. There is a reason it is one of the top tourist attractions in Dublin. My one piece of advice that we happen to get lucky on is this: go on a Sunday morning. We spoke to an employee that said Sunday is their slow day with around 5,000 visitors while Saturday is their busiest day with over 8,000 visitors coming through the doors. Our longest wait in line was 5 minutes, the exhibits were not surrounded with people, and we were able to really enjoy ourselves! If you are interested in booking a tour of the Guinness Storehouse, tickets are available here.