Guinness Storehouse Tour
|Nelson @homeofguinness @GuinnessCanada: One of the highlights of visiting Dublin is the Guinness Storehouse tour. You learn how they make Guinness beer and what makes Guinness special (special yeast, lots of hops, roasted barley and maturation). A memorable portion of the tour is about the art of coopering (aka cask making) which is now very rarely performed. But definite highlight is learning to pour your own perfect pint of delicious Guinness.|
|Guinness officially breaks down the process into six steps. Step 1 is to take a cool, clean, dry, Guinness branded glass. I admit I was tempted to steal one from Dublin, but I was good and didn't. The glass seems innocuous, but it has a feature that aids in the pouring process. Let's see how this helps in step 3, but first Step 2 is hold the glass under the tap at an angle of 45 degrees.|
|Step 3 is to pull the handle forward until it is horizontal and fill the glass until the Guinness reaches the harp while straightening the glass. Specially for Guinness, the gas used is nitrogen (or a mix with carbon dioxide). The nitrogen creates a firm head with small bubbles which gives Guinness its distinctive head. Some bars cheap out on this and only use carbon dioxide affecting the quality. Drinking Guinness throughout Dublin was such a joy as it did demonstrably tasted better (way less bitter). Definitely better than Guinness from a can, and it may have been the environs, but I felt even the draft Guinness in Dublin tasted better than any I have had in North America.|
|As you can see in this picture of these glasses poured at different times, the beer is settling. Naturally Step 4 is to leave the surge to settle for 2 minutes. There is even a special platform that is commonly used throughout bars in Dublin where you will see pints of Guinness settling.|
|Step 5 is to the top the glass by pushing the tap handle backwards (backwards introduces less gas into the liquid) until the head is just proud of the glass. Do not let the stout overflow and never use a spatula to level the head. They are serious about their instructions! Once again you can see the Guinnesses at different stages of settling.|
The last step, step 6 is to hand the pint to the consumer with a stead hand without overspill. On the tour you get to drink the pint you poured yourself at the top of the brewery with an awesome 360 view of Dublin. The bartenders at the top are skilled at pouring and can even draw a clover in the head of the beer!
I loved the experience at Guinness Storehouse, but both Kitty and I love drinking Guinness. I can see how the tour wouldn't be as fun if you aren't a beer lover though. Learning how to pour a Guinness was the highlight of the experience (besides drinking Guinness of course) and I will definitely be watching out in Toronto to see if bartenders know how to do it properly!
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