There are couple of things that Ireland is commonly associated with. These are shamrock – the four-leaf clover, St. Patrick, the harp and of course beer. Out of really big variety only one got popular all over the world. Guinness is probably the most recognisable Irish brand but in fact it is only one example of Irish dry stout. There are dozens of stout beers avaliable in Ireland but it’s Guinness that got famous. What is the reason for it? Is it really the best? Or is it the marketing? We decided to check it visiting Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Ok, that’s fun for parents but wht about Ola? Don’t worry she was more than happy to run around, climb the barrels and pose for photos. See for yourself.
Guinness Storehouse is a seven storey presentation of most importants for the company facts. Unfortunately they don’t let visitors actually see the brewery. On the first floor we start with raw ingredients they use for beers manufacturing. Of course all of them are the finest selections of their kind. First of the fundamental ingridients is barley. It’s the roasted barley that gives Guinness its color. And you have to know that it’s not black but deep ruby red. It’s underlined at every occasion so every ignoramus will leave the exhibition with that knowledge. 100 000 tones of barley are used only by this factory every year, malted, unmalted and roasted.
Another important ingredient is hop. The one used by Guinness is grown all over the wolrd: in Czech Repiblic, Australia, Germany, UK and US. What is interesting hop plants grow up to 4,5 meters.
And the most important component, here called the trasure, is the yeast. It’s so precious because it’s the yeast that does all the job – it makes alcohol from the sugar and nutrients in barley. Thanks to its work we are able to enjoy the liquor. Ginness claims that since 19th century some yeast from each brew has been transferred on to the next to ensure consistency. All before mentioned ingridients are supplemented with the best quality water.
Next floor shows us the whole process of brewing, beginning with mixing milled barley with water, mashing and sieving. The process is probably more complicated but here it is presented by showing the most significant steps. The mixture recieved as a result of processing the barley is called the wort. In next step hop is added to the blend and it is boiled in 100 degrees for 70 minutes to extract as much flavour as possible. Afterwards they add their treasure – the yeast – and here the liquid becomes beer. Fermentation takes two days and the product is provided with alcohol and carbon dioxide. The beer is almost done. It only requires one more stage – maturation, which allowes the distinctive flavour to develop. To finish up the beer is filtered to make sure none solids remain and blended. Whole nine-day process is finnished by multiple testing to make sure the quality level is reached.
When the beer is already produced next thing we need is to deliver it to customers. Guinness claims that the history of the company is the history of transport itself. And indeed, looking back to the beginnings of this beer production, we see the wooden barrels, carefuly produced by brewery coopers, and we can follow all means of transportation like horses, trains, barges, ships and road transport. Here Ola couldn’t stand sitting in the stroller when there was so many interesteing things around her. She had to get out and start running around; thankfully there was not too many people there so she didn’t disturb them too much.
For their visitors Guinness prepared a special training of beer tasting. The aim of the training is to make sure every visitor gets the full taste of beer with every sip they take. It’s all nicely arranged. In the first room there are four columns producing steam with different aromas characteristing for the stout. And here we recieve the miniature glass of beer that we’re going to taste in another room. Ola seemed very interested in as the glasses were in just perfect size for her. Of course she could only watch it through the aromatic steam. Next room was a great performance, the show given by a professional taster was supposed to deepen our sensations. Honestly speaking – the “revolutionary” way of drinking did not knock us down with some newly discovered richness of taste.
Having already first sips of beer from those little glassed we moved on to next level. Since now we are sure how the beer should taste it;s time to find out how to pour ourselves a pint of Guinness. The instruction of pouring a perfect pint says that it should take neither more nor less than 119,5 seconds. It describes six steps we need to perform to reach the perfection.
See the movie with the instruction of pouring the Perfect pint of Guinness.
Mom was designated to give it a try and fill an excellent pint of Guinness for Dad. After short training glasses and taps were given to visitors. Whole group following the instructions did a good job and deserved a certificate and a souvenir photo. The best reward was of course the possibility of drinking that perfect pint of beer. Just to remind: a pint is more than half liter – it’s exactly 568 ml and pint of Ginness gives us 196 calories.
Quick overview of company advertising history since 1929, meeting the well known symbol of Guinnes beer – toucan bird and we were taken to the tv room with huge beer cups where we realised that Guinness is not only that one Guinness draught sold in widget cans that we know. The variety of Guinness beers is way bigger than we expected. Beside different kinds characteristic for different countries there are three basic types of beer they produce: Guinness Draught, Extra Stout, Foreign Extra. Foreign extra is the oldest type they have produced. They claim it has been made with extra hops to preserve freshness. The extra hops are supposed to result in floral overtones throughout the beer. Extra Stout’s bitterness is allegedly great company for smoked seafood. In Draught we should taste the sweetness of caramel and the coffee aroma so using it to create dark desserts would be a good idea. Running between big bottle caps was Ola’s favourite play. They were perfect size to become huge drums for her.
Finally we got to the last floor to grab one, included in the ticket price, glass of beer. With a pint of stout one can admire the view over Dublin – the Gravity Bar is located on the 7th floor and with its glass walls round room becomes a good observation deck. They indicate on windows the most important landmarks for the city and the company as well. There are not too many of them so atmosphere upstairs quickly focuses on beer again. Only upstairs we found out that Ola wasn’t the only kid visiting the storehouse. There were couple more kids in their strollers.
Practical info: there is an entrance for wheelchairs and strollers before the main entrance when going from the parking lot. Buy the tickets online, that lets not only you avoid queuing but also save some money – it’s 10% off online. Ticket price includes free on site parking. There are few restaurants inside, they all have high chairs.