Affectionately referred to as “Irish mothers’ milk” by some and “the pint that drinks like a meal” by others, Guinness is a cultural right of passage on a visit to Ireland…and as a fiercely Irish yank (although to be clear, I’m not actually a yank…but in Ireland, if you’re American, they call you a yank no matter where in the states you call home) the Guinness Factory Tour was tops on my “must-see” list.
Just Dying to Know How they Pull a Pint of Guinness?
Now, before you wrinkle your nose and proclaim “I don’t drink Guinness,” I loved the Factory tour for so many more reasons beyond the fact that I enjoy a pint of beer here and there. I’m a big lover of knowledge and geek-out over a learning nuanced (and sometimes useless) information.
The Guinness Factory tour was well done on every level and newbies to Dublin should wander by for a visit (I was able to easily walk there from the heart of downtown). They have several floors of interactive displays, recorded videos, flowing water, colored lights, and every piece of information you could possibly care to know about how stout is made. I’m actually glad I was solo at this point in the trip because I was able to spend however long I wanted reading the displays and absorbing the information.
Whatever you want to learn – they’ll teach you! I learned not only how Guinness is made–from water, yeast, hops and barley, but I caught an expert explaining precisely how to pull a perfect pint of Guinness too. Although my bartending days are long over (and we didn’t serve draft Guinness at my restaurant, so I never learned!) I got the chance to put the lesson into practice and pull my own pint and then drink it!
With the factory tour over I hiked the remaining staircase up to the top of the Guinness Factory to catch the sunset and 360 degree views over the city while I sipped my very own pint of complimentary Guinness.
The tour is, in two words, fun & educational. I’ll admit that I do certainly enjoy a pint of the black-stuff (yet another pet name for Guinness) on its own accord, but the history behind the drink was key to making the Factory tour a must-see in my book.
My favorite new fact? The yeast they use today is rumored as descended from the yeast Arthur Guinness himself used in developing the drink back in 1759. The brew-master keeps a small bit from each batch to use in the next.
Tell me, what do you geek out on when you’re traveling?