Guinness Storehouse Brewery: St James's Gate, Ushers, Dublin 8
We drank: Exactly what you everyone drinks here, and it was on another level.
Now I know there are going be the people that think it’s super lame to go see Guinness, especially considering the majority of don’t even drink it here. Honestly, I was even a little skeptical of spending money to go on a tour of the Goliath that is Guinness. I have to say though… Money (and time). Well. Spent.
Just walking around the exterior of this vast landscape of a brewery was awe inspiring. There are so many buildings and pieces of history that really showcase the beginnings of one the worlds most well known brews. I’m not even going to try and tell the entire story of how Guinness started and has continued to grow because I just don’t have the time or space. I will say, if you find yourself in Dublin, it is absolutely worth feeling like a goofy tourist to see the facility and learn their history.
Are there lines to see everything? Yes. Is it crowded? Yes! Did I have a good time and spend a few hours there? Heck yes. While the lines might be a little daunting at first, they quickly fade if you really want to take a little time checking things out. Most people are just there to say they went, get a beer, and buy a trinket. Not us. Not these nerds. We wanted to see everything and read every plaque and ask every question. So we did!
The entire first part of the tour goes into detail about the specifics of how beer is made. Not something most people care to take the time to read, but they throw in some great pieces of history throughout the early parts that show their process. Also, there’s a freaking waterfall in the middle of the room. Not a small trickle, not a little fountain… I have been to natural falls less impressive than this, it was honestly a bit silly at first, but really helps explain the commitment to quality ingredients.
As you move through the tour area you find little sayings and pieces of history that help remind you that this was once a small operation. All of the people that work here still care about the quality of the product they are creating and it really shows in the narrative provided by the tour.
One thing that I really loved is their willingness to share the “secrets” of how they make the signature flavor and color. You know a company has something dialed in when they are willing to share those kinds of details without fear of replication. The clock shown above is a representation of the daily brew tastings that occur. There is a panel of employees whose job is to make sure every batch is up to the strict standards. Thats’s a job… To taste beer. Every single day. If anyone at Guinness is reading this, I’m available.
One extremely interesting part of the “museum” is the part about how transportation evolved throughout the life of the company. They show everything from scale models of original transport ships to the actual rail car used to move product on the facility before trucks were available. They even have a torpedo shell that hit one of their shipment boats during a world war. I spent way too long geeking out over the history of how people moved beer.
This brings us to the wonderfully creepy halls of marketing campaigns that have been used throughout the MANY years of advertising. There are so many cool pieces that are extremely recognizable and even more that I have never seen before. The area could be a museum in itself, it was really something else to see how things have progressed but have always kept the beer at the forefront. If you really like standing in one place for a long time then the wall of beers is the place for you. They have hundreds of Guinness bottles from all over the world and all over time, some are even still full…
The final part of the tour is getting your beer. There are two options, you can either have someone pour one for you in the bar area (don’t) or you can stand with a group of people and pour one for yourself. It may seem silly to have to learn how to correctly pour a Guinness, but after watching a number of people really struggle to get it right, you really feel the pressure to succeed. Fortunately, we both have a pretty solid background in pouring beer, so we passed with flying colors! There is just something so satisfying about being able to pour and enjoy this iconic beer in the city where it all started.
I’ll say it again, if you have the chance to get to Guinness you absolutely need to.