Drinking Dublin🍻

I walked, I ate, and yes, I drank while in Dublin.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Guinness is the name of the game in Dublin. The drink of the Republic is everywhere. We visited the Guinness Brewery Storehouse.

When deciding where to go in Dublin, I really wanted to see the famous St. James Gate Brewery. And I did.

That’s the sum of the view of the brewery from the Storehouse, the public half-amusement park, half-immersive-ad experience. I’ve never been to a macrobrewery and the scale they must operate in blows my mind, but it makes sense that for all of the people that visit, they can’t really provide any meaningful access that wouldn’t impact production.

This is a Guinness Disneyland. Fully-immersive exhibits with every sight, sound, and smell perfectly crafted to fill your mind with nothing else beyond how incredibly specific and particular they are to make Guinness the best beer on the planet.

They have an exhibit where you smell vapors of the different elements of beer, followed by a tasting session.

Two things made me laugh while at the Storehouse. First, the coffee shop. Second, I could order a Budweiser.

The Storehouse is one of the taller buildings in that part of Dublin—huge—on one floor, they had a workshop on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. I must confess that I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Of course, there’s plenty of drink there. They have a few different varieties and I ended up alone for a few minutes. I found my way to a bar inside that sold flights and eventually most of the meetup it seemed found me.

A friend and coworker, Ryan, shot some beautiful pictures while there as well.

Craft beer hasn’t escaped Dublin either. Galway Bay Brewery operates eleven different bars and brewpubs, of which we visited two. Their beers were pretty delicious and ran the entire range of styles. When you visit Dublin, you must try them.

Personally, I really enjoyed The Beer Market, a block down from Christchurch, that had good pub grub, Galway Bay Beers, and a fine selection of other beers too.

Beer Market

Beer Market

The Porterhouse, another brewery that also owns a few bars—is the only real way craft breweries found success in Dublin is by owner the establishments that serve?—had a great lineup and was another fun place to try beers.

While Dublin is a Guinness town, the brews from Galway Bay, The Porterhouse, and others available in Dublin were quite tasty.

Of course, there is more to Irish alcohol than beer. I’m not a whiskey drinker, but visited the Irish Whiskey Museum. It’s independent—not affiliated with any distillery—and presented a great historical tour of Irish whiskey, a fine selection during tasting, and we added on a very fun whiskey mixing class.

I fell in love with Dublin, even if only there for nine days, between the people, the culture, the sights, the walkability, the drinks, the churches. I look forward to creating a reason to go back.

The Bartender That Knows Everyone’s Name

Murf’s “favors” sometimes register as tough love, especially when he’s trying to protect students from recklessness. “When kids come in on their 21st birthdays asking for shots, I don’t do it. I’ll make them a drink, but I won’t pour them shots.” In Murf’s view, shots are for “getting stupid,” and he won’t allow Notre Dame students to get stupid on his watch.

Mike values Murf’s egalitarian approach to service. “I’ve been in here at nights when there are trustees, and I’ve thought, ‘Well, we’re gonna take a backseat.’ Not the case at all,” he says, shaking his head. “Not the case at all. Murf has made me and all my ministry friends feel like a part of Notre Dame. He would treat us exactly the way he’d treat a trustee.” He handles guests, Mike says, as “a virtuoso handles the different sections of an orchestra.”

Source: Murf // News // Notre Dame Magazine // University of Notre Dame

The Notre Dame Magazine, the alumni magazine, has this lovely story about Murf, the long-time bartender at the bar inside Morris Inn, Notre Dame’s on-campus hotel.

I grew up watching Cheers and always enjoyed the idea of communal drinking establishments—public houses, beer halls, and the like—places that truly are that “third place” separate from home and work where you socialize, intentionally with friends and randomly with people present.

Notre Dame is a special place because of people like Murf who keep the human side of the institution front-and-center.

Asheville!

I had heard whispers and mutterings here and there about this mythical city. Rumors said that wort rains down from the sky, collected in gilded basins, brewed in copper kettles, then bottle-conditioned at 60°F, day and night without the need for climate control. In this city, the tap lines are always clean, a brew is never musty, and there’s never a last call.

Well, I still haven’t come across that city during my travels, but I found one that isn’t terribly far off.

I hadn’t paid much attention to Asheville, NC, before a few weeks ago, but after a weekend there for the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference, color me impressed. Small compared to any town I’ve traveled to for a conference with 83,000 residents, the beer scene is top-notch and the downtown action compared with any of the big dogs—even coming from Austin’s fabled Sixth Street.

It is easy to see why Asheville has been named Beer City USA. With 21 breweries (per Asheville’s tourism site, it very well might be more, frankly) putting it as the most breweries per capita, there seems to be a brewery every other block of every strip—from the small microbreweries to big dogs New Belgium building a new facility, Oskar Blues opening a second in nearby Brevard, and Sierra Nevada opening the Basilica of Beer in the last year.

In all honesty, my uninformed opinion on North Carolina wasn’t too great. What’s there? Duke, UNC for colleges. Some research stuff happening in the Triangle, but not actually sure what. Seeing a bit more of the personality in Raleigh for a day, then Asheville for the weekend, I appreciate North Carolina quite a bit more. Read More