“A Beer at Noon”- By Allison Contreras

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Ireland doesn’t mess around when it comes to beer. Whether it be Smithwick’s Red Ale or HeverLee Belgian brew, there is little room for a wrong choice. Though Ireland’s beer selection seems never ending, there is one brew that will always hold the spotlight.

In 1799, Arthur Guinness abandoned his old brewing techniques in order to produce and sell a new and wildly popular beer made from roasted barley. This beer was deemed as a “porter” and was rich and dark in both color and flavor. After perfecting his ideal brew, Arthur gave birth to one of Ireland’s most widespread and iconic beers.

With 10 million glasses consumed daily and sales in over 150 different countries, GUINNESS Stout is almost impossible to overlook. Today, I had the privilege to tour the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and learn about the history behind Ireland’s prized beer.

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The tour began with displays of the different components that go into creating the beer itself. Barely, hops, and water were the focal points of the exhibits and were displayed in “interactive” ways that did an effective job of sparking and keeping my interest. The barley was showcased in a sandbox-like container, which was very fun to both look at and feel. Following that was a large waterfall that cascaded into a quaint fountain filled with coins, symbolizing water’s contribution to GUINNESS. Last, but not least, was the display of hops. The hops were concealed in glass displays, framed on the wall like masterpieces. I was able to get up close and personal in order to fully examine the plant and it was awesome to see the ingredient in it’s true form.

This part of the tour was aesthetically pleasing and that was the main reason my interest was upheld. Typically, I have a hard time with museums and historical based things because I find myself slowly becoming less and less interested. Today, that was nowhere near the case.

Apart from getting a free pint of GUINNESS and enjoying it with a beautiful sky-line view of Dublin, my favorite parts of the entire experience were both the test-testing room and the “Perfect-Pour Academy.” We entered into a room with four white pillars around the size and shape of drinking fountains, that were each emitting a thick vapor into the air. Each vapor was a different aspect of GUINNESS and was determinable by their unique scents. I’ve never seen anything like this before, especially in a museum, and I thought that this display was incredibly ingenious and one-of-a-kind.

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The “Perfect-Pour Academy” was awesome because as the name implies, we were able learn how to “perfectly” pour a pint of beer for ourselves. We learned what angels to pour on, how to properly top off a glass, and how to present the drink to customers. It was a blast to partake in something hands-on and it was undeniably an experience I’ll never forget.

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Though I wish I could take credit for this realization, my professor Troy pointed out something incredibly insightful to me during today’s tour. He’d mentioned that the Guinness Storehouse is actually genius because they’re promoting their brand in a multitude of ways, yet they’re charging for it. They’re literally charging people money in order to endlessly promote themselves in ways that brings in even more revenue through sales. Instead of having to pay to smack their brand on a billboard, they’ve created a brand goldmine ingeniously through business and media.

I’m not sure if it was the alcohol at noon or the genuine interest in what the Guinness Storehouse had to offer, but I left today’s tour feeling wonderful. I’m going to choose to believe it was because of the good craic (fun) I had while learning the history behind Ireland’s pride and joy of a beer. Yeah, let’s go with that.

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