It was a damp and cool day, but the air was full of energy. We shivered as the wind whipped around the corner but, but we were too busy trying to take in all of the sights to be bothered by the weather.
Our group of travel journalists were among the many international visitors who descended on Dublin, Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The hub for revelry would be at Ireland’s number one international visitor attraction, the Guinness Storehouse. This year, the Storehouse was declared “the friendliest place in the world” and celebrated record visitor numbers on St. Patrick’s Day since opening 12 years ago.
The Storehouse stands in the heart of the St. James Gate Brewery and is an intimidatingly large industrial steel framed building. The entrance calls upon a scene from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and you fully expect Gene Wilder to pop out and escort you.
Once inside, we realized taking a guided tour was the best way to learn fun facts about Guinness and this massive seven-story building. The Storehouse, a former fermentation plant, has been remodeled into the shape of a giant pint of Guinness. As we made our way along the tour, we learned that Arthur Guinness and his wife (Olivia Whitmore) had 21 children, only 10 of whom lived to adulthood. The ancient Irish Harp symbol was first used as a symbol for Guinness and only later adopted by the Irish Government as the official Government symbol.
As the global hub of all St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, there was an exciting line-up of Irish-infused entertainment and festivities throughout the building. We enjoyed listening to the mix of local Irish entertainment, including well known bands such as Brass Roots, Tupelo, Donal Kirk, Four Men and A Dog, The Swing Cats, The New Free and Eclectic Spree.
There was an impromptu performance by Irish singer, Jerry Fish, and a colorful Céilí dance by the Ellen DeGeneres on-air reporter, Andy Zenor. DJs spun festive Irish music adding to the party atmosphere as stout pint sippers enjoyed panoramic 360 degree views in the Gravity Bar, the highest viewpoint throughout Dublin.
We met a few Patricks, Patricia’s and a Tischa – who told us they got VIP treatment and free admission that weekend. Anyone with the first name of Patrick, Patricia, Trish, Paddy and Patricio were granted complimentary access to the St. Patrick’s Day festivities at the Storehouse.
As part of the visit, there were tasting and pouring experiences. We had the pleasure of learning how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, and we’re passing the wisdom along to you.
First, you can’t rush it. It takes 119.5 seconds to pour and serve the perfect pint of Guinness draught. You start with a cool, clean, dry, Guinness branded glass and hold the glass firmly at 45 degrees under the Guinness tap.
Next, pull the handle fully forward toward you. Slowly straighten the glass as it fills and stop when the glass is full. Now, leave the surge to settle – allowing the creamy head to form.
We were instructed that the head should be 10-15 mm high. And never put the tap spout into the Guinness.
Finally, top up the glass by pushing the tap handle away from you and stop when the head is just proud of the rim. Do not let the Guinness overflow, and never use a spatula to level the head.
Mission accomplished. Present the perfect pint to the recipient and be thankful a good ale goes down smooth any time of year.
Special thanks to guest contributor Le'Aura Luciano.