Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Blog
Touring the Guinness Storehouse
Program Semester and Year
Living in the Liberties of Dublin has been a wonderful experience. It is an amazing area of Dublin that has clearly retained that smaller community vibe within the city, and the traditional Dublin culture; however, there is a distinctive feature of most of the liberties that is unavoidable—a certain smell. The first time I moved in I into the apartments we lived in I noticed it immediately. What was it? Hay? Freshly baking bread? A litter box? Somehow, it had the essence of all those smells wrapped up into a pungent unavoidable smell, and soon I learned that that smell was seeping out of the nearby Guinness factory.
The minute I realized the Guinness factory was so close by I knew I had to visit: I come from a family that is very into good beer and micro breweries, and I grew up in one of the most beer-centric cities in the United States. So last week I finally visited and it was all I hoped the experience would be.
I was hesitant about how much I could learn about beer on a tour, was there really that much to the process? However, immediately once I started wandering through the halls and floors of the tower that is the Guinness Storehouse, I realized there was a very intricate process to making this classic Irish beer, and that the history of the beer itself was so intertwined with the history of Ireland. We learned about the history of the company, the distribution process they used as the beer grew in popularity, and the iconic advertising they have used in the past including the toucan and the harp. We were taught how to properly pour a pint of Guinness to ensure that smooth and creamy head that I always so look forward to when I walk into any pub. The guides also informed us how one should properly sip a Guiness in order to taste each of the key ingredients and remove any bitter notes. Furthermore, we got to learned about the beer making process with the 5 essential ingredients to a Guinness: the nitrogen, water, yeast, hops, and of course the toasted barley. They were proud to inform us they are one of the only factories who toasts their barley everyday fresh on site—and I had the epiphany of that being the smell I notice every morning while leaving my apartment and walking to work. Finally, we topped off the journey by enjoying a pint ourselves in the lookout tower while taking in the lovely views of Dublin. The experience was so wonderful; I feel as though I appreciate the craft of this famous Irish beer on a deeper level than ever before allowing me to truly take in every sip with thought at a pub, and I finally have learned to appreciate that odd smell that surrounds my life in the Liberties.