Dublin 2023 Dublin, Ireland MSMU Travels

Guinness and Good Company

At the heart of Ireland’s drinking culture is a pint of Guinness and good company. Beer has never been my first choice when it comes to alcohol––usually, I’d stick to a cider or a seltzer. But when in Ireland, it feels mandatory to drink a Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse seemed like a good place to begin, so a few classmates and I booked a tour to learn more about Ireland’s iconic beverage. Plus, our tickets came with a voucher for a free pint (if anyone still needs convincing).

Shoutout to the random man who did his very best to take a picture of us.

Guinness has been brewed in Dublin for over 200 years. Affectionately referred to as “the black stuff,” it’s become synonymous with Ireland––inseparable from the country’s identity. Roasted barley is what gives Guinness its signature “black” look, and its white foam and creamy texture are a result of nitrogen brewing. There are 300 million nitrogen bubbles in one pint alone! During our tour, we were taught how to do the “perfect pour” to get the right ratio of foam to beer, which was basically pouring from a 45-degree angle into a glass *very* slowly, letting it settle, and then topping off with more Guinness. If my degree doesn’t get me anywhere, I now know that I’d make an excellent bartender.

I also learned how to properly taste a Guinness, which boggled my mind because I typically don’t think of beer as something that should have its flavor notes and aromas carefully considered. I deeply inhaled my shot glass filled with Guinness, took a mouthful, swished it around my tongue, and finally swallowed. The woman leading the taste test asked everyone if they tasted the notes of coffee and chocolate––I didn’t, all I tasted was bitter––and everyone nodded their heads, so I felt obligated to say I also did for the sake of experiences.

Since I didn’t enjoy the taste of classic Guinness, I was delighted to find out that the Gravity Bar at the top floor of the Storehouse served other beers. I put my free pint voucher to good use and got the Hop House 13 Lager (one of their light beers), pairing it with a view of Dublin from the bar’s panoramic windows. The Gravity Bar was also one of the few places in Dublin that carded me. Usually, pubs and restaurants are relaxed with alcohol, so this caught me off guard until I remembered that I’m well above the drinking age of 18.

The Guinness Storehouse is an homage to one of Ireland’s beloved beverages and its ability to bring people together––and I believe that our trip to the Storehouse embodied this sentiment. Not to sound too cheesy, but the highlight of my time at the Storehouse was getting to spend a morning with my classmates sticking our faces into giant aroma pods and playing UNO at the bar. It was an opportunity to create our own fun and memories outside of our typical Dublin itinerary. Oh, and the free pint was nice too.



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