8 reasons to visit the Guinness Storehouse

A pint of plain, a pint of the black stuff, that drink with the toucan — no matter how you know it, Guinness stout is an Irish icon. And there’s no better place to experience it than at the Guinness Storehouse, located at St. James’ Gate Brewery in Dublin.

Of course, some travelers don’t like the Guinness Storehouse. It’s “too gimmicky”; a tourist trap not even worth the free pint at the end.

I am not one of those people.

I love the Storehouse; especially that pint at the top, with a 360° view over Dublin. In my opinion, you don’t need to be a stout-lover, or even someone who drinks, to enjoy a trip to St. James’ Gate.

Unsure if you should visit the Guinness Storehouse? Here are 8 reasons why you should:

Engaging Exhibits

This is not your typical stodgy museum, with static photos and boring captions. This is an experience for all the senses. There are videos everywhere; some have interactive touchscreens, others can even take photos of you. One on floor, you can learn to pour a proper pint. There’s even a thundering, spotlit waterfall in the very first room you walk into. Learning about water, hops, barley, and yeast (the four ingredients that go into creating Guinness) has never been more exciting.

Outstanding Displays of Design and Creativity

I’m a sucker for good design, and the Guinness Storehouse is an oasis for my right brain (that’s the creative side, non-nerds) — especially impressive considering that the process of beer production is so industrial and could easily become quite boring.

Besides being aesthetically pleasing, the quips and captions spread across the floors are clever and well-written; the fonts used are easy-to-read and brand-appropriate. The creativity even extends the building itself: seven floors, built around a rising glass-shaped atrium? Why, you’re standing in one GIANT pint glass (that if filled, could hold 14.3 million pints of Guinness!).

The Storehouse also houses an Advertising Gallery, where you can browse centuries’ worth of memorabilia, watch old Guinness commercials, and learn the (often funny) history behind their many award-winning advertising campaigns.

Or not so award-winning. For example, The Atlantic Bottle (1959):

The Longest Lasting Guinness Advertising Campaign of All Time – In 1954, as a publicity stunt, 50,000 Guinness bottles were dropped into the Atlantic Ocean. The stunt was repeated with 150,000 bottles in 1959, to celebrate the Guinness bicentenary. They are still being recovered today, off the coast of the USA and Canada.

Learn some History!

It’s not just about beer! As you go through exhibits you’re also walking through 200 years of Irish and world history. The history of Arthur Guinness and how he came to acquire St. James’ Gate and brew his famous beverage. The history of the industrial revolution and cooperage, or the hard task of making proper barrels to hold Guinness. The history of biochemistry and statistics, as the t-statistic was first developed by a chemist working in quality control for Guinness. Even the history of Guinness employees — there’s a kiosk where you can search your family name to see if any of your ancestors worked at St. James’ Gate (as expected, “Zhou” didn’t turn up many results).

Even the history of transportation comes to life in a gallery displaying old models of planes, trains, ships, horse-drawn carriages, and every other method Guinness has been distributed around the world in the last two and a half centuries.

“The story of transporting Guinness Stout is the story of transportation itself.”

Culinary Inspiration

Who knew there were so many ways to consume a pint? If you’re looking for a recipe to incorporate Guinness into your next barbecue or dessert, you’ll find it here: take a recipe card from the food board, or sample a number of Guinness dishes at one of the four restaurants in the Storehouse. You’ll leave with so many new recipes, you could create a four-course meal with Guinness alone.

Changing Exhibits

During my last visit to the Storehouse, the room behind the Advertising Gallery was an exhibit dedicated to the art of John Gilroy, the man behind several famous Guinness ads (My Goodness My Guinness, Lovely Day for a Guinness, etc); while another area invited you to write postcards for fellow visitors to read, under a large wall that quoted, “Home is not where you live but where they understand you.” My last visit wasn’t as fruitful (all I found was a room playing a short video on repeat about Guinness sports sponsorships around the world), but I’m sure even better exhibits are already in the works.

A Proper Pint

Tasting room: Guinness straight off the keg line

Not only will you get a fantastic pint of stout here — and properly poured at that — you’ll learn how to appreciate it. You’ll learn what to look and listen for while your pint is being poured (119.5 seconds for a proper pour; the hiss of gas that is 80% nitrogen, 20% CO2); at what temperatures Guinness should be stored and served (9° and 6°C, respectively); and what to smell and taste as you take your first sip (bitter hops, rich roasted barley, sweet malt). With all the conditions required for a perfect pint of Guinness, you’ll finally understand why Guinness just does not taste the same outside Ireland.

The View

Every visit to the Guinness Storehouse ends in the Gravity Bar, where you will find one of the best views of Dublin (and arguably, one of the best pints). Aim for sunset — on a clear day, you’ll be able to enjoy your free pint while watching the sun go down over the Wicklow Mountains.

Alright, even if you don’t get a clear day, the view isn’t too shabby.

A Lesson in Believing in Yourself

At the base of the glass atrium, you can see the contract that started it all. In 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for a brewery at St. James’ Gate; today, Guinness is recognized and consumed in over 100 countries. A lesson that it pays to be bold — and that a little faith in yourself can go a long, long way.

Note: This was not a sponsored post. I really just love Guinness that much.
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Comments

  1. Since I live in the Netherlands and am required to love Belgian beer now, I do — but I still love a good Guinness. (:

  2. did you have “black” guiness? a guiness with “cassis”?

    • Edna says:

      No, it’s not like a bar where you can order drinks (unless you go to the restaurants). You taste Guinness off the keg line, and then you get one pint at the top. Besides, I like my Guinness straight :)

  3. Unna says:

    Well, being from the home of “probably the best beer in town”, Guinness never really made it for me. But I’d love to go check out the place. :)

    (came across this post in the Bloggers Based In Europe group on the TBEX website, btw.)

    • Edna says:

      Thanks for stopping by Unna! I actually wasn’t a fan of Guinness either, until I went to Ireland — so I’d definitely recommend checking the Storehouse (or Dublin) out!

      • Unna says:

        Been to Ireland already (flew to Dublin, drove to Dingle and spent a few days there, drove back to Dublin and spent a few days there before flying back home. Never made it to the Guinness brewery, though). When it comes to Irish beer, I do prefer Kilkenny over the dark brew that Guinness is famous for.

        • Carin says:

          Brilliant! I visited Dublin in 2009 and was amazed at how gorgeous the Guinness Storehouse is, and you captured that beautifully. I really love how you incorporated the signs.

  4. miravakily says:

    Man, I hate Guinness but my friend and I were not leaving till we finished our comlimentary pint – it took sooooo long! I thought we were going to see the sun set and rise again, haha!! I think that was the last time I had Guinness … and given that that was almost 10 years ago, maybe I should give it another go, though my Chinese-owned Irish bar here in Ningbo may not really be the best place to try it! I doubt they adhere to storing it at 9C and serving at 6C.

    • Edna says:

      Funny enough, I didn’t like Guinness until my first trip to Ireland! If you want to give it another shot, The Blarney Stone and O’Malley’s in Shanghai should know how to pull a pint.

  5. Louise says:

    ahh I love that photo of you and Mike! It’s lovely to see all your Ireland posts going up too :) xx

  6. I hate beer, but love Guinness. Thanks for the post — what fun to get the whole picture (including the one of you and Mike!).

    One of the biggest reasons the French have to call the people from across the channel barbarians comes from the “Black Velvet”, a mixture of Guinness and Champagne. A crime, just like the Black Guinness you disparage above.

  7. Michi says:

    I loved the Guinness storehouse when I went, especially the view of Dublin, even it was foggy. The beer was delicious, but really heavy for me I think. The waterfall was my favorite part, and all of the interesting tidbits about how the beer is made. You have such wonderful pictures of the place! The photo of you and your bf is terrific.

    • Edna says:

      Thanks Michi! I love the waterfall too; it makes such a strong first impression. Glad you enjoyed the photos :)

  8. Erica says:

    I HAVE to go!
    I am such a sucker for brewery tours, and this looks like such a fun one!!

  9. vairarenbeth says:

    There is NO QUESTION about it! Guinness is absolutely the best! I had my first Guinness in Dublin in 1999 and never looked back!

  10. E.C. Pollick says:

    Great post, Edna. I actually was a staunch “Let’s not go to the Guinness Storehouse” believer because I thought it would be touristy and gimmicky. My family convinced me to tag along, and I only did for the pint I’d get at the end, but I’m with you, girl. I’m a Guinness Storehouse tour convert. It was the best money I spent in Dublin for all the reasons you have listed above. And the pint is still the best pint of Guinness I’ve ever had.

  11. Anna Parker says:

    Very nice reasons to visit guinness storehouse!

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