The Perfect Pint?

I love wine.  All wine.  Even the cheap stuff.  While I savor the special occasions when I might get to sip a Foxen Pinot or a lovely Brunello, if nothing else is available, I have been known to make due with Two Buck Chuck or even a glass of Franzia (yes, that’s the stuff that comes in a box).

But Dublin is not known for wine.  It is known for beer, specifically one beer – Guinness. All the pubs serve it, many locals drink it and, not surprisingly, The Guinness Storehouse is the most popular tourist attraction in town.

During my first week living in Dublin, I allowed myself to take some time out from the trips to Ikea, calls to utility companies and vain attempts to open a bank account and be a tourist. My first stop was, of course, The Guinness Storehouse.  Now, while I may be quite easy to please regarding wine, when it comes to beer, I am an unabashed snob.  I am very, very picky and only like the really good stuff.  I figured that by visiting its home base, I would figure out whether or not Guinness was the really good stuff.

As tourist attractions go, the Storehouse was pretty cool – informative, interactive and quite fun.  And the pièce de résistance of the tour was, of course, the pint of Guinness that everyone gets to enjoy – either in the Sky Bar or the Pouring School.

On that visit, I opted for the Sky Bar.  It was a dismal, grey, November day so the view that on some days might be spectacular was on this day rather depressing.  I got my pint and took my first sip ever of Guinness.  Meh.  Honestly, I was unimpressed.  It didn’t taste bad, but I didn’t love it.  Oh well, at least I gave it a try.

I visited the Storehouse again this past March with my BFF, who was in town from Los Angeles.  Despite not loving it last time, I still got my pint – it was included in the ticket price after all – and gave Guinness another whirl.  And this time was different.  This time I gave it more of a chance. And this time, I liked it. It tasted lighter than one would think based on its color, the foam was creamy and smooth, I even detected hints of coffee and chocolate after a couple sips.  And from that moment on, I was a fan.

I have since partaken of a few pints of Guinness in various pubs in Dublin, and even in a castle in Sligo.  I can confirm, without a doubt, that Guinness is indeed the really good stuff.  And while I know it wouldn’t technically have mattered if I never grew to like it, somehow I feel that being able to enjoy this brew, like so many of my fellow Dubliners, makes me more a part of things in my new city.

And that is also some really good stuff.

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2 thoughts on “The Perfect Pint?

  1. love this post, shan! it’s so funny that it took both of us trying it TWICE to actually enjoy it and like it. so glad we could have that experience together. AND we even got our official tulip-shaped Guinness glass to enjoy a proper pint of the yummy stuff. so until next i can join you for a pint – CHEERS!!

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