Arguably every day in Ireland could qualify as the Guinness edition (especially if you are a PIC named Randy or Drew) but today was the official unedited Guinness Storehouse tour (99), a fitting way to wrap up our time in my quarter homeland.
We were lucky enough to pre-book a private Connoisseur Tasting Experience in addition to the basic gen pop tour. Our merry band of PICs, plus a handful of others, ducked into a private elegant bar away from the cacophony of the gen pop tour area with Bill, our friendly and knowledgeable tasting guide. The tour started with a free bottle of Guinness’ new black lager variant. Next, Bill reviewed the history of Guinness, talked us through the three other variants (providing generous tasting samples along the way (note: I did not consume more than a couple of sips of each, no matter what you may read about grandfather clocks later on)), and taught us how to execute a perfect Guinness pour. The Experience concluded with each of us practicing said perfect pour, resulting in additional pints, which we got to keep.
Bill also told us the story of the grandfather clock situated prominently across from the tasting bar. The clock that is always set at 17:59 (the year Arthur Guinness signed an approximately eleventy hundred year lease on the storehouse property). The very same clock that I almost knocked over on my way out of the bar. (Not for nothin’ am I nicknamed Grace.) Almost. It remained standing, although I did manage to knock the glass door that covers the clock face open. In my haste to distance myself from the near disaster, I forgot to check, but I sure hope the clock still said 17:59 when they did the next tasting.
In addition we each received a complimentary bottle of the variant of our choosing. I chose the black lager.
Which promptly fell out of my bag and shattered on the cobblestones just steps from the storehouse exit.
A sad state of affairs indeed, but if I were going to lose a bottle in such a tragic fashion it was probably better to do so after I had been filled to the brim with complimentary Guinness over the course of several hours spent first in the private tasting, then the gen pop tour, then in the 7th floor Gravity Bar where we received yet another free pint to enjoy while admiring 360 views of Dublin.
Also, the U.S. is one of the few places where the black lager is sold so I have something to look forward to when I get home.
Other tour-related highlights included:
1) Piling into an elevator to go to the start of the gen pop tour and having Bill join us. He was carrying a box of empty bottles so he gestured towards a button and asked me to press it. I thought, he can’t possibly want me to press the Open Doors button, so I randomly pressed another button and off we went. Which is when Bill gave me the stink eye. How odd, I thought. Then he told us that we were on the staff elevator and were going to end up in the kitchen. (Apparently he really did want me to press the Open Doors button.) We did not end up in the kitchen but he did kick us off when the doors next opened.
2) Watching a video about Guinness television ads, during which the following conversation may or may not have occurred (names have been changed to protect the not so innocent):
Video: images of people drinking Guinness and kissing
One of us: “Guinness makes you kiss.”
Another of us: “Guinness also makes you fart. But that isn’t a very good ad campaign.”
All of us: snicker giggle SNORT.
People around us: rapidly depart.
Speaking of end scene, my final Dublin experience AND (cue trumpets) my ONE HUNDREDTH (100!) new experience of 2014 was seeing and walking across the Ha’Penny Bridge.
It is old but lovely and I think at dusk with the lights on was the perfect time to see it.
In retrospect, getting to 100 new experiences really wasn’t so tough with a ten-day trip to Ireland involved. On the one hand I think I should maybe adjust my goal number. But on the other hand, I think I’d rather just see how many new experiences I can have in the remainder of 2014 instead of feeling pressured by a specific number.
Stay tuned, and see you back on the other side of the pond.
So long, Ireland. It’s been amazing. 🍀🍀