Our first stop after dropping bags at the Hotel was the Guinness Brewery. It seemed like a no brainer. Located right across the Liffey River from our hotel, we headed out into the damp morning for a tour. (If you go to Ireland prepare for rain. It was a rare moment when we were there that it was not at least drizzling, and it’s usually like that from what I heard from the locals) The Guinness Brewery is set up like a walled city. The huge compound covers several acres. We followed the wall and a few signs to walk into the Guinness Storehouse. This part of the brewery has been converted into a museum of everything Guinness.
Before we headed to the brewery we purchased our tickets via the storehouse website. Buy Your Tickets Here. There are tours offered throughout the day and the ticket provides an entry time. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the storehouse, but buying ahead saves some time. After getting into the storehouse the tour is self-guided with and audio option and moves up the seven story building. Price is €17 euro per person and that includes a pint of Guinness at the end of the tour.
The tour covers all things Guinness, from the history of its founder, Arthur Guinness and his family, the 9,000 year lease for the land that the brewery occupies, a detailed description of the brewing process and ingredients involved in producing the black stout, the evolution of the transportation methods used over the years to deliver the beer, and lots of information on the many Guinness marketing campaigns. Unlike many breweries that I have been to, the storehouse is specifically for tourism. Throughout the tour you will not see active brewing which was a slight let down, but there is a lot of great and interesting information to learn as you make your way up the storehouse.
Starting on the lowest level of the tour the guests work their way up to the top of the storehouse learning about the famous Irish beer. On the way up there are a couple of places to stop and get a taste of Guinness in small amounts, but the real payoff comes near the top of the building when the guests reach the Guinness Academy.
I found this portion of the tour to be the most fun. In the Guinness Academy, guests are invited to learn to pour their own pint of Guinness. The pouring process for Guinness is different than most other beers in the world due to its use of nitrogen gas instead of CO2 for carbonation. The nitrogen gives the beer its creamy texture and makes pouring it a little tricky. When we walked into the Academy, which is basically a bar, we were greeted by a friendly Guinness employee and started learning to pour the beer.
After watching a short demonstration we were allowed pour our own pint. The process is simple but a little time consuming. The glass is essentially filled about ¾ of the way then is left to settle for a minute or two, once the beer settles it’s time to fill the glass and drink. It takes a little work and some time to pour a glass of Guinness, but it is fun to watch the beer settle into the glass. The darkness of the beer contrasts with the white foamy bubbles as the beer goes into the glass and creates a phenomenon known as the Guinness surge, and it’s pretty cool. Once we had successfully poured our pints we were presented with a certificate of completion from the Guinness Academy, and of course it was time to drink the freshly poured pint.
Leaving the Guinness academy with our pints we headed to the top level, and final part of the Guinness tour. Atop the storehouse is a viewing deck with a 360-degree view of Dublin. The views from here were great, and we were lucky enough to catch a break from the cloud cover and could see all the way to the sea along with the entire city. It was as great way to finish the tour and enjoy a freshly poured pint!
If you’re in Dublin then the Guinness brewery tour is a must visit. Located on the west side of the city, it is very easy to get to on foot. I’ve always heard people say that the Guinness in Ireland tastes better than the Guinness that is shipped around the world. Having enjoyed many pints of Guinness both within Ireland and around the world, I will concur with that statement. Most things taste better when they are fresh, and the Guinness that’s poured in Ireland is certainly fresh; just imagine what it tastes like right from the source! It is delicious!