Saturday, October 31, 2009

Last day in Dublin

Yesterday: Tram Co (or not)

Just to complete yesterday's notes, I'll mention that after having dinner at Bleu Bistro (Krombacher Pils), we wandered over to Bruxelles (Guinness) for a few pints. We wanted to have one at the world's smallest pub, the Dawson Lounge, but it was packed to the rafters with a couple dozen people.

Blue Bistro, Dawson Street, Dublin

Bruxelles, Harry Street, Dublin

Dawson Lounge, Dawson Street, Dublin

Today, I wandered by the Dawson Lounge again, just in case. The sign on the door said they'd open for lunch at 12:30, but they didn't. Instead, I went to John Kehoe's for a quick pint.

John Kehoe's, 9 South Anne's Street, Dublin

Declan at the Bull & Castle had mentioned yesterday that he'd be tapping a new cask ale, so I walked over that way to have a taste.

Carlow Malty Bitches

The Bull & Castle offers a few more beers that didn't yet appear on my beer list, so I started working my way down the line.

Árainn Mhór Bán

Shepherd Neame Whitstable Bay Organic Ale

Shepherd Neame 1698

About this time a real cute Irish girl, about half my age, came bouncing into the bar and sat down next to me. She apologized for being late and ordered herself a Guinness. Puzzled, I kept up my end of the conversation while she asked where I was from and how I liked Dublin and all sorts of small-talk-stuff. I ordered another beer.

BrewDog Hop Rocker

She was about halfway through her pint when she got a text message. She answered it, and then says, "Oh no, I'm sorry, I've been ignoring your texts!"

I smiled and said, "Now I have to ask. It's unusual at my age to have an attractive young woman to pull up a barstool and strike up a conversation with me, and I certainly have been enjoying your company, but...have we in fact actually met?"

Smiling still, but not quite as brightly, she said, "Sure and we have! You're Ralph, aren't you?"

"Sadly no, I'm Richard."

She turned surprisingly pale, even for an Irish girl, downed her pint, sent a text, said a quick and friendly goodbye, and ran embarrassed out the door.

Palm Steen Brugge Dubbel Brune

Duvel Moortgat Maredsous 6

We fly home early tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Home from Dublin

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tram Co (or not)

Yesterday: Howth

Since we didn't manage to visit Tram Co on Monday, I thought I'd give it a try today. I got off the Luas at Cowper and walked by Slattery's, since I forgot to take a picture on Monday.

Slattery's Bar, 217 Lower Rathmines Street, Dublin

Continuing down Rathmines, I soon came across Tram Co. It was just as closed at noon today as it was at 7:00pm Monday. I couldn't find anything on their door that said when they might in fact be open.

Tram Co, 121 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin

Continuing in the same direction, I passed Anseo. Locked up tight, no hours posted. Ditto for Solas on Wexford Street.

I knew the Bull & Castle wouldn't open until 12:30, so I walked past it and around the corner to Temple Bar, where I found the Porterhouse open. After that three-mile walk, I was ready to pass some time with a couple of Oyster Stouts.

Porterhouse Temple Bar, 16-18 Parliament Street, Dublin

Thus refreshed, I went back up to the Bull & Castle to get through the rest of their Irish beer selection. And a bowl of lamb stew. As for my long beerless walk, bartender Declan explained that the bars don't open until afternoon because, unlike the English, the Irish don't do their drinking at lunch, preferring instead to make up for it after work. That means I can get a later start tomorrow.

Carlow Curim Gold

Harp Macardles

Árainn Mhór Rua

The next one turned out to be Beer #8000, and Declan meant it to be a special treat. Carlow leann folláin is a rich, creamy Irish Foreign Stout. I could tell there was a magnificent beer in there somewhere, but unfortunately, this bottle had seen better days.

Carlow leann folláin

Tomorrow: Last day in Dublin

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Yesterday: Messrs Maguire

Dublin's suburb Howth is a 30-minute train ride north of town. Our friend Monte recommended that I make the trip, and since today was a very nice day for a journey, I did so.

Howth Station and the Bloody Stream Restaurant

Howth has a harbor where the fishing boats come in. The whole pier is lined with seafood shops and smokers.

Howth West Pier

Ireland's Eye (Inis Mac Neasáin)

Houses on Balscadden Road

Monte heartily recommended the Ye Old Abbey Tavern located just on the hill on the opposite side of town from the pier. Yes, it really is called "Ye Old". They claim the pub dates from the 16th century, and I don't doubt that at all.

Ye Old Abbey Tavern, 28 Abbey Street, Howth

Great baked salmon here, with Guinness to wash it down.

Tomorrow: Tram Co

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Messrs Maguire

Yesterday: Meeting John Duffy

There really aren't many breweries here in Ireland: only 16 by my count, and that includes the contract companies and the industrial giants. I visited one of Dublin's two brewpubs on Saturday, and I visited the other one today.

Messrs Maguire is at the south end of the O'Connell Bridge over the River Liffey. It's an ancient pub with several separate ornate bars upstairs and down. I didn't eat here, but the food smelled great; oddly, it's served cafeteria-style.

Messrs Maguire, 1-2 Burgh Quay, Dublin

Messrs Maguire Haus Lager

Messrs Maguire Weiss

Messrs Maguire Rusty

Messrs Maguire Plain

Messrs Maguire Bock

Walking back through town, I noticed that the Irish take their alcohol very seriously. Apparently they have entire companies devoted to insuring your liver.

Royal Liver Assurance: that's something we could all use.

Tomorrow: Howth

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meeting John Duffy

Yesterday: Bull & Castle, and the Guinness Storehouse

John Duffy is the Editorial Officer for the Irish Craft Brewer website, and he has also contributed lots of information to Beer Me! over the years. He took Paris and me on a Dublin pubcrawl today.

We were supposed to meet John at the Bull & Castle at 2:00pm, but we got there early and found them closed, so we went around the corner to Legends Bar to kill some time.

Passed by Dublin Castle along the way

Legends Bar, 16-18 Lord Edward Street, Dublin

Legends has tables where you can pour your own beer

Legends is a very nice bar, although the beer selection is pretty standard.


Smithwick's Irish Red

We did find John at the Bull & Castle at 2:00.

Bull & Castle Pub, 5/7 Lord Edward Street, Dublin

John pointed out some of the better Irish beers that we didn't try yesterday.

Whitewater Clotworthy Dobbin

Hilden Cathedral Quarter Beer

Hilden Headless Dog

Pifko is a Czecho-Slovak bar on Ushers Quay. Along with central European beers, they serve a house Irish Red Ale.

John Duffy and Paris outside Pifko Bar, 41-43 Ushers Quay, Dublin

Barrelhead Pifko Beer

A short walk back toward Temple Bar led us to the Czech Inn. Along with a range of draft Czech beers that we can't get at home, they feature a very nice Pils called "Murray". I can't find any information on this beer, and John doesn't know where it's brewed.

Czech Inn, Essex Gate, Temple Bar, Dublin

"Murray" Beer

Šariš 11% Tmavý

Heineken Slovensko Zlatý Bažant

We meant to go to Tram Co next, and we found a cab to take us there, but it was closed. (At 7:00pm. On a Monday night. On a bank holiday.) So we walked a few blocks south on Lower Rathmines Road to Slatterys for some bottled Guinness, and John's wife Dara joined us there. John tried to teach me to order the bottles "off the shelf", but I forgot and so mine were ice-cold.

Guinness Extra Stout

Our party went our separate ways, and Paris and I walked over to the Luas for the ride back to the hotel. We finished the night with the bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout that we bought at the Storehouse yesterday.

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout

Tomorrow: Messrs Maguire

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bull & Castle, and the Guinness Storehouse

Yesterday: Dublin

The Guinness Storehouse is a good mile and a half from St. Stephens Green (according to the tourist signs which I was dumb enough to follow). Fortunately we came across the Bull & Castle about halfway there.

Bull & Castle Pub, 5/7 Lord Edward Street, Dublin

We learned that the Bull & Castle is Dublin's best pub for craft beer selection. It's where the local beer geeks hang out, and the homebrew club holds its meetings upstairs.

Carlow Goods Store

Whitewater Belfast Black

Whitewater Belfast Blonde

Any football fans out there who can explain to me the meaning of the pint glass in the lower right corner of the screen? I've seen it on at least two networks.

There's lots more to try here, so I'm sure I'll be back.

The sun was actually shining today, so the rest of the walk was quite pleasant. The Guinness Storehouse is their tourist facility; they don't do actual brewery tours anymore. It's set up on seven levels in the old fermentation building, and the self-guided tour shows a fair bit of the history of the company and its equipment.

The Guinness Storehouse, St James's Gate, Dublin

Floor plan of the Guinness Storehouse. Note the pint-glass shape of the atrium.

This is what it's like inside a freshly-poured Guinness.

"The world drinks over 10,000,000 glasses of Guinness every day."

An old 600-barrel kettle

Our own Porter brewster poses with a quote from Arthur Guinness

The tour ends on the top level with a free pint at the Gravity Bar.

The Gravity Bar atop the Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness tank farm as seen from above

All in all it was interesting for the average tourist, but We Who Chase Beer might find it a bit lacking.

The rain had started again, and we opted for a taxi to take us back to the Luas stop.

Tomorrow: Meeting John Duffy