|  Meantime


Hello again. As I’ve already mentioned in my previous post, my name’s Dan and I’m a Tour Guide here at Meantime in addition to being the #MeantimeDeliveryGuy.

When I go away I like to mix business with pleasure, and business for me of course is beer. Quite recently I went to Dublin to run its annual marathon; for pleasure apparently. As a second generation Dubliner, this was not my first trip to Dublin or indeed my second; I’ve been to Dublin nearly every year of my life. Despite the regularity of these visits, I think my Dad has always been reluctant to make a tourist out of me. But this year, for the first time, under the guise of ‘I’m doing it for work’, I managed to visit the Guinness Storehouse.

Having run the Dublin Marathon on the Monday, I visited the Storehouse on the Tuesday. Perhaps it may have been wise to spend the day resting, but in some delirious post marathon buzz, I hobbled onto the Dart and went into the city centre in search of St James Gate. If I had spent a mere five minutes planning before I left, getting to the storehouse may have proved a lot easier. Instead, I spent an hour or so getting on and off trains and trams and walking down blind alleys, asking every Irish person I saw ‘how do I get to the Guinness Storehouse?’. Despite all those years that had been spent trying to protect me from the embarrassment of being a tourist, there I was, hobbling through the city with about as much grace as a fish on a bicycle, lost.
I eventually found it, quite late in the afternoon. The Guinness Storehouse is impressive, albeit a little overwhelming. The ticket costs €20 and it entails entry to the museum and a single free pint at the top of the Storehouse itself. This single free pint, is of course not disappointing, and in fact responsible. A far cry from my experiences at the Skinner’s Brewery in Cornwall. Having bought my ticket, I was firstly confronted with the gift shop. The Guinness gift shop is like the El Dorado of merchandise. I have never seen such an illustrious selection of bottle opener key rings, charming mugs, glasses and t-shirts. If you can resist visiting the gift shop first (which I just couldn’t), then you begin with a semi-interactive introduction to the ingredients of beer. Without going into this in too much detail, one of the more interesting parts of this was finding out that Guinness claim to use ‘soft’ water drawn from the Wicklow Mountains, despite what you may have otherwise heard.

I was unaware that I was going to have to climb stairs once I got to the Storehouse. As I’ve already mentioned, I was not walking fluidly, so I was not best pleased to discover the escalators were out of order. I dragged my little legs up the spiral staircase to the next level. From this point on, level-by-level took us on a voyage through Guinness, which, as cynical as maybe I’d like to be, was undeniably fascinating. Despite the most part being thoroughly engaging, there were a few bizarre features. If you’ve been to the Storehouse, you may remember ‘Fergal Murray’. Fergal Murray appears almost as a hologram and guides you through the brewing process, with about as much charisma as a carrot. As the master brewer at Guinness, Mr Murray is a far more impressive character than the Jetson-esque videos would lead you to believe.

To pick out that as one of the more bizarre features, you may not be surprised to hear that what I thought was the most interesting part was the ‘World of Advertising’. Across any industry Guinness have made such an enormous impact through their advertising campaigns. Most notably in the early days their partnership with illustrator John Gilroy propelled them into ‘beer stardom’ and adverts such as the ‘Surfer’ featuring the white horses, consolidated Guinness as an international brand. As well as world class advertising, Guinness adapt to the times as well as any big brand. The most recent example being their commitment to make all of their beers vegan (something Meantime have always done (pat on the back us)). Moves like this have opened up the brand to a growing demographic.

Having limped up what felt like never-ending stairs, I finally came to the Gravity Bar to exchange my beer token for what should in theory be the best pint of the ‘Black Stuff’ I’ll ever have. Sadly I don’t think it was. It was delicious, and I loved it (especially after the stairs), but I think I’ve had better.

What I’ve learned about Guinness since taking tours at Meantime is that everybody likes to say where they’ve had their best Guinness (usually somewhere in Ireland believe it or not). To be honest, I’ve come to find it quite irritating. Why don’t people want to tell me where they’ve had their favourite pint of Carling Black Label? It just goes to show what a well loved brand Guinness are and despite their size they’ve still maintained their reputation (even with the rise of craft). Having been round the Storehouse, I too had fallen victim, or rather remained victim to the Guinness monolith. Which I think was their aim?

Things I’ve learned

1. R.I.C.E. after intense exercise
2. Guinness use soft water
3. You don’t need to go teetotal to run a Marathon

Beer Heroes

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