Yesterday I toured the Guinness Storehouse, on the site of the St. James Gate Brewery, where most of the world’s Guinness
is produced. It was your basic flashy, A-list tourist attraction, with multimedia displays taking the visitor step-by-step through the history, production, and distribuition of the black stuff, and ending with a free pint at the bar at the top of the building. And I have to report that it does indeed taste just a bit better here in its home.
Aside from the basics, here are a few things I’ve learned about Guinness Stout while here in Ireland. Some I leaned in the tour, some elsewhere.
- Arthur Guinness started the business in 1759, and signed a 9000 year lease on the location. This being the 250th anniversary of Guinness, that leaves them another 8750 years of brewing in their present location.
- Many Irish people will only drink Guinness in their own country. I have had more than one Irishman (including a 6’6″ rugby-playing bartender, whose pub I ducked into to avoid an altercation with a group of drunk Eastern Europeans I had somehow inadverntently slighted) tell me, “It doesn’t travel well.”
- One of the Duke of Wellington’s officers, after being seriously wounded fighting Napoleon’s troops at Waterloo, wrote, “when I was sufficiently recovered, I felt the most extraordinary desire for a glass of Guinness, and I am confident that it contributed more than anything else to my recovery.”