38 year old Dubliner, drinking Guinness for 20 years. First pint was in the UCD student bar where the taste/ price ratio was unpassuppable (£1.80 a pint!). On a mission to call out shite pints of Guinness & credit good pints where credit's due.
Jesus H Christ! Paddy’s day like for fuck’s sake. This one won’t be forgotten.
It was Paddy’s day and Cheltenham Gold Cup day & a good ol session was planned. We’d settled on The Sandyford House as it had blessed us with some quality G’s of a Christmas season many moons ago & we knew we needed the same on this of all days in the drinking calendar. Unbeknownst to myself, in the interveneing period this establishment had changed hands &, it would turn out, it was most certainly not the place it once was. First off, they wouldnt put Cheltenham on the a telly that was being watched by literally no one, and I mean zero people; we had to move! And then my pint arrived. “Oh no” I thought, I knew the moment I saw it I was in trouble & I said as much to my drinking buddy. There were bubbles a plenty in that head & the obligatory, though wholly unnecessary, wobble-test confirmed the worst. She was definitely not gonna be a creamer.
Feeling bad enough, I went for it; oh no, squinty-wince face from the word go. So unenjoyable, so wrong. A horrible taste &, as expect, completely devoid of cream. This was a pure froth-ball; zero lip-flop. I was gutted, disgusted, flustered, flabbergasted! Bloody Paddy’s day, a local bleedin’ boozer (not in town where you expect most of the pints to be slop), Ireland! What the almighty fuck like! I trudged on, trying to be a soldier, but the experience just got worse. Halfway through it we had a full on pencil-tache, nothing but a few fluffy bubbles atop. I was done, I couldn’t go on, why would I? Sure I wasnt drinking TheGoodBlacknWhite here, just some black shite with suds floating on it.
This was some of the worst slop I’ve ever been served as an excuse for a pint of Guinness; pure dregs this. To compound the problem, the Paddy’s day (yes, as in our national holiday) entertainment was a bloke singing random karaoke! No Irish choons (which he said he didn’t have coz I asked him for some). This was one of the weirdest drinking session experiences of my life. This establiment’s efforts are absolutely brutal & do not deserve the custom of any self respecting G-punter. You have been warned.
My fellow G-Lover @Guinnesstaster had been talking this place up for a good while. It’s his local so he regularly pops in for a sneaky here n there, sending me midweek Guinness porn, every pint-pic showing a scandalous amount of cream & getting my juices flowing when they really shouldn’t be.
When I arrived, after a huge pile of baby related stress, the lads had already got stuck into a couple but from what I could see they looked average, & @Guinnesstaster confirmed this to be the case. I ordered a little nervously but was dealt a decent looking pint with a lovely dome; so far so good. The wobble-test said “grand; nice bit o’ the cream, as it should be”, so things didn’t seem to be as bad as I was expecting. In I went, just the one gulp to start here, nothing extreme. The lip-flop was grand, exactly what you’d expect from a half-decent pint of The Good BlacknWhite, & the flavour was good n Guinessey. To my delight, the head held all the way through to a nice, creamy finisher. All round it was an enjoyable pint; nice, no complaints, the standard you would expect from every establishment in Ireland.
The same went for the pints that followed. These pints were the quintessential 3 outta 4’s or, as I so eloquenty described them at the time; “solid-as-fuck”.
Oh hallelujah, praise the Gods of Porter & all the beer-saints & their wives-and-girlfriends & anyone else who’s worth praising. We have found a new official G-Mecca! Yesssss!
Having heard really good things about the quality of the G in this establisment, I had long been meaning to visit & so it was of a mild February Saturday afternoon that the opportunity finally arose. I arranged to meet my friend & fellow G-man @guinnesstaster at Bowes early-doors to kick off what would be a heavy session on The Black Stuff.
He got there ahead of me & put in the order such that when I arrived there was an incredibly creamy looking beauty sittin at the bar with my name on it. The beautiful decor in this joint has has a dark, almost Victorian feel about it & on this afternoon at least, it looked as though most at the bar were on the Good BlacknWhite, which is usually a good sign. Mine looked perfect to be honest. The head seemed almost gloopy-creamy & it barely moved under the wobble-test… oh yeah, it was all coming together.
It had been so long since my last G-with-friends that I just couldn’t wait to dive in, so in I went, the lip-flop covering even my nose I was so eager. Good God was it good. The head was so outrageously thick it left a heavenly residue on my face you could have for lunch! An incredible flavour flowed through my mouthnthroat, all black n creamy. I was having tongue palpitations, I felt like I was drinking liquid silk & I didnt want to stop. Not just a gulp-gargle here, I needed, & so took, much more. By the time beautiful goo had left my mouth nearly half the pint was gone. “Wow” I thought, we have found the new G-Mecca. I was absolutely buzzin, & I could see it was the same for my G-loving friend.
Needless to say, the pint held itself together all the way to a thick, creamy finisher. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. The next jar was poured in that nonchalant way that speaks of pure experience. And it was perfect, again. I’d say they nail every pint they pour & they dont even think twice. This is Guinness. This place is Guinness. Thank you Bowe’s of Fleet Street.
Often times, while wandering around whatever city or town doing a nice bit of sightseeing, I find myself thinking about lovely creamy G’s & wondering what the local establishments’ efforts are like. I mean, the places I’ve been have all been really beautiful, breathtaking, wonderful, interesting but, being a G-man at heart, all I really wanna do is sample the goods. And such it was on this cold Winter’s afternoon in Kilkenny City, a city steeped in history, full of ancient windy streets, that I found myself dying to duck in out of our pleasant stroll & get my G on. The other-half assured me Langton’s would fit our needs perfectly so in we popped around 1/2 past 3 of a Saturday afternoon.
The place is lovely allright but all I was thinking about now was how lovely a good pint of Guinness would be. They had those new really old-school taps, which appeal to me for some reason. The girl who served me knew exactly what she was at & poured with that blasé attitude that gave me absolute confidence in her ability & also, thought it should not, in the quality of the pint. The finished product looked lovely & the wobble-test agreed; the signs were good. As I was technically on holidays by not being in Dublin, I was feeling jolly & knew I was going for a gulp-gargle so in I dived.
It was a wonderfully thick n creamy lip-flop which would go on to give me a right good G-tache. In flowed the Goodness, in high volume, with an all-round wholesome taste, with a full flavour that hit all over my mouth. It was just so damned refreshing, exactly what I wanted & what anyone should expect from a solid pint of The Black Stuff. When pints are how they should be they’re just so easy to guzzle (many would say too easy) & this one was no exception; I absolutely horsed it in, which, of course, had the added benefit of allowing me to get another in before we departed. Mmmm, the next was as good as the last, full of cream and flavour; what more can a G-punter ask for? And at €4.20 a pint, sher yer laughing. Lovely spot with absolutely solid high-3’s. I hope I make it back again sometime.
Car journeys with kids can obviously be a complete pain in the bollocks & this occasion was right up with worst them. After an hour n a half of hysterical crying, followed by a puke, she finally nodded off (& that was just the wife!), giving me the chance to think of the holiday (if that’s what you could call this) pint that I knew I damned well deserved. Being a hotel bar ye never really know, but based on previous experience (essentially the final straw that prompted the setting up of this website) I would certainly expect the worst & anything better is a bonus. So, having settled the baby, I head down to the bar to order any pint.
There were a good few G-men about & quite a few Settlers sitting at the bar so the initial signs were good. When she arrived, she looked grand, nothing to be afraid of anyway but then the wobble-test unfortunately said “watery-wan“. I was very thirsty & very deserving at this stage so as soon as I got back to the room I dived on in. As anticipated, the lip-flop was a Wetty. “There will be dribbles here” I thought but then the Goodness flowed in over my mouthnthroat &, to my absolute delight, it was really well flavoured & extremely refreshing. “This is gorgeous!” I exclaimed to my wife (in whispers of course as the baba was sleeping not 3 feet away). She could probably tell something was up by the look of shocked happiness on my face. I went back for more &, yes again, watery but wonderful, full of the quality tastiness one would associate with the best pints in O’D’s. I really was in a state of delight with my Hotel Kilkenny holiday (if you could call it that) pint, so, of course, I obliged & went back to the well. The next pint followed in the same vein, I was lovin them so I was.
This place does really great tasting pints, I’d be happy to drink them here any time, if they could only sort out the creaminess they could well be 4’s!
This place is clearly hip, or that’s what it’s going for anyway, with its funky decor of old tv’s, unusual horse ornaments, & wall of mirrors (all very nice I might add). More worryingly for a G-man though is the craft beer menu. When I see a craft beer menu in a hipster joint, I have to say, I get scared. An assumption is made that the place either doesn’t know how to do Guinness or just won’t care for the G-lover or even want their kind in their hip-n-happenin establishment. When we sat down of a Sunday afternoon, in a lovely cranny by the open fire, even my better half was surprised, nay, astonished to see me order a pint of the GoodBlacknWhite in a place such as this. It made me stop a second, then I thought “fuckit, I am gagging for this 2017 cream, so I’m going for it!”. Sometimes you just gotta take the G-plunge.
Everything went right. The Settler looked well, staring down at me from the bar, &, though the finished product arrived before me with a bit of a Bishop’s collar, she looked good n creamy, as the very successful wobble-test attested to. The glass was cold to the touch as I pulled it toward my mouth & got my upper lip right in amongst the fluffy cloud-like head. As it had been quite a few weeks since my last G, I knew I was going for the full gulp-gargle, so I let the juice flow. The cool, flavoursome liquid filled my mouthnthroat providing the refreshment only a decent, tasty pint of The Black Stuff can give. Each sup was cold & tasty, so much so that I didn’t want that first slurp to end. Mmmm, my first of 2017 & it was a Goodie: really nice flavour, cold & creamy. I must have got through that pint in minutes I was so delighted with it. It was the same for the next one, nice bit o’the cream, as it should be, head retained all the way to a solid, creamy finisher.
How wrong I had been about hipster bars; these guys definitely know a good pint. No need to fear the beards! A well deserved high 3 for the Salty Dog, &, more importantly, a good start to the 2017 for Guinnesslove.com.
Another brief one here, as this was just another stop on the Christmas shopping trail rather than part of an organised session, though the former can often end up becoming the latter & this particular one certainly had that air about it as we entered our second bar of the day, upstairs in Kehoe’s, which had an extremely cosy Christmas buzz about it; low lit, fairy lights, fir clippings every &, of course, jammed with revellers enjoying the Christmas cheer (i.e. using any excuse to drink heavily from 3 in the afternoon).
Small as the bar is up there, it was adequately manned & had a rake of Settlers awaiting ownership. I managed to put my name on one in minutes & a solid wobble-test had me feeling comfortable. I expected no less than a 3, especially having, in this very establishment, been treated to some of the best pints I’d ever had not so long ago. The decent creamy texture certainly helped get the Goodness back to our table intact as I was moved this-way-and-that such was the crowd but, complimented by my years nurtured dodgems-like pintarmability, not a drop was lost to the sea of people.
The minor cream-leak had me excited & an excellent, velvety lip-flop, followed by a solid, well flavoured gulp of the liquid darkness told me I would not be disappointed. These indicators, well honed at this stage, proved correct. The pint stayed as so throughout, as did the couple that followed, average-creamy but very tasty. What a lovely way to finish out the Christmas shopping drinks pit-stop… if only I had!
As this ended up being a mere duck n dive after a town Christmas shopping jaunt, I’ll keep this brief. It was a about 3 o’clock on the Friday before Christmas & the place was absolutely black. We managed to get the very last available stools upstairs & we set ourselves up, tableless, right by the door. At first glance it looked like the Guinness was seriously flowing as every man, woman & child in the bar looked to have a pint of the GoodBlacknWhite to hand. I ordered one for myself, which, I was glad to see, despite the crowds, the barman did as he should & let her rest. The amount of pints around me had me salivating as I watched the Settler settle; the place was a total Guinness-fest! And thankfully I soon had a decent looking pint of my own sitting in front of me, waiting for me to tuck in.
The wobble-test went grand, a 3 is what I expected from her, & a 3 is what she delivered. My first touch delivered a nice bit o’the cream, as it should do, though after a few sups I was only mildly enjoying the taste. It was a three to me at this stage but was pushing it a bit. Fortunately, after a few gulps, it all came together & entered the tasty realm, so it must have been me, not her! The creamy head retention was of a decent standard & I certainly enjoyed this well-flavoured pint. Unfortunately, by the time I’d finished the pint, the bar was so completely jamrags there wasn’t even sitting room any more so we decided to duck out n head over to Kehoes for another.
I don’t usually drink early doors, not anymore anyways… except on very special occasions, &, to my absolute delight, one such occasion presented itself on a blustery Dublin morning in December. You can generally get a pint from 1/2 10 in the morning so, though we were the first drinkers in the bar on this special day, we certainly weren’t breaking any rules when ordering our first pint at the (usually) ungodly hour of 11am.
The bar is old school & looks genuine, & the lady runnin the shop definitely knew what she was at. Though (as any G-lover of course knows) nothing’s ever nailed on until you get that first gulp in, I was certainly hoping for, if not expecting, a decent jar… & boy did it deliver. The Settler looked lovely & was topped off in that laissez-faire way that gives you complete confidence in the pourer. The finished product landed in front of me looking like the archetypical pint-o-the-G; no messing, no pretence, just a good looking pint that smells black & creamy.
The proof is in the pudding of course but I couldn’t just jump right in as I usually would, there were cheerses all round to be done, being a special occasion n all, but as soon as the pleasantries were done it was time to get to the Goodness. Being in the company I was, a gulp-gargle was not in order, so I went with the single-slurp. A wonderfully pudgy lip-flop tickled my lip as the thickest of creams flowed like a felt river. This was followed by that deep black flavour you find in only the best pints. My mouth-mind wandered back to an incredible pints experience in O’Donoghues a good while back, mmmm, what a taste. This pint was absolutely tastastic, I couldn’t get enough. I enjoyed incredible quality all the way to the thick, creamy finisher. Mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm: this is pints as they should be! Thank you Mary Mac, I shall be back.
Having just been pissed-upon by my former favourites down in Mulligan’s, I was desperate to get a decent pint. John Kehoe’s has always had a good name for the Black Stuff but it had been a few years since my last visit. I had it on good order from one of the lads that they were still right up there so off we traipsed from Poolbeg Street by the Liffey to South Anne Street off Grafton Street & we were met by jam-packed bar bustling with Christmas cheer.
We hit the bar immediately &, despite the crowd, we had a round of perfectly poured, creamy looking beauties in no time. The wobble-test was very promising; she was a right thick one & I was salivating at the though of getting in there.
I was absolutely dying for it so I dived on in for a full gulp-gargle…. Oh good Jesus! Have we found some holy black nectar here or what?! The lip-flop was divine, like heavenly satin dabbing my face, & when the flavour hit my mouthnthroat I almost gagged it was that spine-tinglingly good. It was bang-on flavour at the bang-on temperature (though we were outside on the street in the cold). I could only imagine the beer-orchestra playing away in my mouth at that moment. My whole upper body was buzzing & my tongue smiled as I went for a second gulp-gargle. Pure quality again & all the way to the mighty, voluptuous finisher: Total Creamgasm!
This was it, this was the Goodness us G-lovers seek; guaranteed top-notchers. The pints & happiness flowed on in to the night, courtesy of Kehoes. It’s places like this, on nights like this, that we live for. Thank you John Kehoe, long may it last.