Guinness Storehouse

Touring the Guinness "factory" museum

Guinness bottles My goodness, my Guinness! Bottles line the shelves at the Guinness Storehouse gift shop.

Arthur Guinness
Arthur Guinness
In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on a 50-acre site at the St. James's Gate, in what were then Dublin's western outskirts, and he built a brewery on the site.

In the 1770s, Arthur perfected a formula using roasted barley to produce a rich, black variant on porter called stout. He called it, simply, "Guinness," and a legend was born.

By the middle of the 19th century, the brewery founded by Arthur Guiness had become the largest in the world.

The Guinness tour

Guinness factory tourYou can't get into the plant itself anymore, but there's an entertaining audio-visual display in a converted warehouse on the grounds, with features on Guinness's long and clever advertising history, the culinary science of beer making, and the lost art of the cooper (barrel-maker).

Though spread a bit thinly over a ridiculously sprawling seven floors of exhibits (I supposed all that room helps them absorb the tour bus crowds), along the way you do get to learn all sorts of pointlessly interesting facts and figures, among them:

Tons and tons of Irish barley go into Guinness.
Tons and tons of Irish barley go into Guinness.

The Guinness yeast stays safely in a safe.
The Guinness yeast stays safely in a safe.
Also, you learn why the bubbles in Guinness fall down instead of up. (Yep. It's true. Think for a moment about watching a glass of Guinness: The white fizz doesn't bubble up; it cascades gently down. Ask the bartender at the half-pint sampling station about halfway through the visit and he'll explain it to you.)

Free beer

The Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse
The Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse.
The highlight of the tour, of course, is the chance to drink beer. Thsi is done in Gravity Room pub, a sky-scraping round room with glass walls, brilliant views over the city and surrounding bay and mountains, where your ticket entitles you to one free pint of the famed brew—just one, though.

One pint comes with your ticket, and you can't buy a second round for love or money, no matter how much you flatter the bartenders (and you'll hear much begging, cajoling, and wheedling going on).

Learn to pull the perfect pint

Reid learns to pull a perfect pint at the Guinness Storehouse.
Your intrepid author learns to pull a perfect pint at the Guinness Storehouse.
Another option for your free drinks ticket is to take the irish bartending lesson. There's a pull-your-own bar on your way up through the museum where you can learn to pull the perfect pint—and then drink the results of your lesson. A bit cheesy, yes, but it's actually kinda fun.

Just keep in mind that the wait for this experience can be 20 minutes or more, as they conduct the lessons in small groups (and the lessons themslves take abother 15-20 minutes, since everyone gets a go and it take two sessions at the tap to finish off a proper pint).


Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in February 2012.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.