Photography by Dennis Cieri / Written by Lorena Caro
When you typically think of Ireland, at least one of the following come to mind: literature, good music, and of course, Guinness beer. For a geographically small country, Ireland packs one heck of a punch. Perhaps it’s the fact that it currently stands as one of the most diverse countries in the European Union. Or maybe, it’s simply the natural allure and charm of this beautiful country and its people. Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure: the beer is exceptional and the history behind it is just as riveting.
We traveled to the Guinness Storehouse in the city of Dublin and took a 1 1/2 hour tour of the historic St. James’s Gate Brewery. The storehouse itself is seven floors, each with its own piece of the Guinness story to tell. There are a couple interactive exhibitions, a good amount of media documenting the company’s history, and a guide – led tour of the entire thing. Make it to the end of the tour, and you’ll get rewarded with a pint of Guinness Black Beer!
Why visit the Guinness Storehouse? The answer is simple: to learn about how a good pint of beer is developed from scratch. The beer culture in Ireland has been brewing (ha!) for hundreds of years, and its development as a craft is no small feat. Visit the Guinness Storehouse and see for yourself how the art of beer crafting has become an integral part of both mainstream and underground Irish culture.
The history of beer in Dublin is one that spans as far back as 5,000 years ago. In that time period, ale was the most common intoxicant, grown amidst Ireland’s fertile soil and cool breezes. Fast forward to the 18th century and beer would become commercialized by none other than Arthur Guinness, who took the notorious 9,000 year – old St. James’ Gate lease that’s currently on view on the storehouse grounds. This is also when porter came into the picture, taking over the production of ale and revolutionizing the world of beer.
Although there were more than a dozen brewers back then, the story of Arthur Guinness continues to stand out to the people of Ireland. This may be due to the fact that when he bought his first brewery, he used a bequest of £100, which he went on to turn into a £1million company by his son’s death. When Arthur died in 1803, there were fewer than 30 brewers left thanks to his brewery’s quick rise. Today, Guinness is no longer the largest brewery in the world, yet it remains the largest brewer of stout.
If you’re a foodie or even just curious about diverse foods, then this is the place for you. The Guinness Storehouse is just one of many emblems of a historical movement that spanned for hundreds of years. See the decades – long survivor of the ever changing history of Ireland and taste just one of the many kinds of beers that are brewed all over Ireland to this day. The Guinness Storehouse is a cultural hub that deserves a visit the next time you find yourself walking the exciting streets of Dublin.