Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ireland, Day 1: The Guinness Factory

For many of the men on our hop-on-hop-off bus, the Guinness Storehouse seemed to like a pilgrimage they were making, a place to view the Holy Grail of brews. Now, I am no beer drinker, but I had had a sip or two of Guinness at dinner the night before and found it right tasty. Still, the excitement about the factory puzzled me.

And then we arrived and I saw why this factory and showroom was a highlight of Dublin tourism. Founded by Arthur Guinness in 1769, the company built its reputation on his unique recipe for making a brew that was dark, full-bodied ("stout") and was a certain bitterness that is strangely pleasing to the palate.

Outside, before entering, I looked up to see all these pipes and enormous tanks. That's a lot of beer-making going on!

 Inside, part of the display with this beautiful curtain of water--symbolizing the water used in making Guinness.
 Playing with Larry, who, poor man, was really trying to take a good picture.

Besides water, what's needed to make Guinness (which is really a "stout," and not a beer)?

 Barley--they use thousands of pounds of Irish-grown barley in this factory.
 Yeast--a special store was kept under lock and key in early days to assure there would always be some available in case of some disaster.
And hops. I don't know if I have ever seen a field of hops.

The barley is roasted, the ingredients are mixed in a secret recipe and voila! You have Guinness. Well, not nearly that simple of course.

Does this look like those little people are carrying this huge vat?
 There were many displays of antique equipment, as well as multimedia presentations on the history of the company and its owners through they years.
 Escalators or a glass elevator carried visitors from floor to floor. I must say, the concept of the whole set-up was pretty impressive. The tour is self-guided so we could spend as much time as we wanted in any section of the building.
 And then, Shangri-La--the top floor which houses the Gravity Bar. Here tour participants receive their free glass of Guinness, poured using a special technique. Once drawn, the glass must sit a while as the bubbles go to the bottom and then rise back to create the head.
 And there it is, the perfect glass! Larry got lucky and had two glasses; I only took a few sips of mine and happily handed it over to him. 
 This bar is popular not only for the drinks; it provides a 360-degree view of Dublin through its glass walls. Spectacular!


Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Jeannie Marie said...

How fun is that! My son loved Guinness beer so much he named his black lab Guinness! We toured Yuengling Beer here in Tampa..very similar! Fun tour with a great tasting room!


You had the vacation of a lifetime. Thanks for sharing. I'm not into beer either. Just tasted it a time or two and no thank you. Love all the photos you've been sharing. I need to go back and read all the blogs about your trip. I've always hoped to go to the UK, Ireland, Scotland. Perhaps someday. I love books set in all those places. Daughter went a few years ago and loved every minute of being there. Keep sharing. Hugs! B

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Are you sure Larry doesn't have Irish ancestors; he looks quite the part with that pint in his hand!

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