Mulligans, Dublin, Dec ’16 (2/4)

Not Guinness Time, Not Here Anyway

Oh no, it’s happened again, & this time there’s no going back!

It was the second set of Christmas pints & we had really been looking forward to this Christmassy Saturday night in the home of cosy Christmas pints for the past few years. I got in ahead of the lads but, as they had ducked in for a sneaky one on the way, there was no way I was waiting on them so I head to the bar & got served in an instant.

After the last time I was here I expected to be enjoying a pint of fair quality at the least & to my satisfaction, the pint looked very well & the wobble-test seemed alright; so far, so good. I got the last table in the house, just inside the bar door, & made myself comfortable in anticipation of some Black Goodness.

The head hit with a mild lip-flop & we seemed to have a bit o’the cream but I didn’t think the taste was up to the usual standard. Still, we were in “this-pint-should be-grand territory” so I certainly wasn’t panicking at this point. When the lads joined me I voiced some mild concern over the pint still having to convince me, which is not something we’re really used to in Mullies (bar the well documented debacle back in October), & they were a little taken aback. It was from here that things went downhill.

As I pressed on through the pint my disappointment grew as the realisation hit that it was off. The further I got into it, the more the squinty-wince-face came on me. The head became a pencil-tache, the worst type of head & the number one symptom of a shite pint. “What the hell is going on?” I asked myself. Mulligan’s, at one time a G-lovers Mecca, is serving brutal pints… again! I really wanted this to be another accident. I hoped & prayed that it was solely related to the bar as I ordered a second from the lounge but in my heart of hearts I knew, this was it, Mulligan’s was dying. The second was as bad as the first, no head retention, a right watery-wan; I couldn’t even finish it, it barely makes a 2/4. Oh, the humanity!

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That leak ain’t creamy… it’s watery!! Ahhhhh!

Mulligan’s, steeped in history going back to 1782, one of the most important establishments on the Guinness Trail (& they know it), up to now my favourite pub (I’ve even read the book!), has served shite pints… twice! Yes, on two separate occasions! Gutted I am, but as a Guinnesslover I give an honest assessments of establishments efforts & the effort here is now consistently poor. To quote George W. Bush; “Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me – I won’t get fooled again“. Mulligan’s clearly no longer cares for Joe-punter so it’s with a heavy heart I declare that this G-man won’t be back.

 

The Mercantile, Dublin, Dec ’16 (3/4)

Guinness Time

Though this was just a pit stop on the way to a gig, it was still an opportunity to asses a rather large & well known establishment’s efforts. I’ve had many’s a good eve here but they have long since faded to grey so I honestly had no idea whether I had previously enjoyed the G when I ordered my jar this time round. I have to say, being a major establishment bang in the centre of town usually puts me off, as recently happened with O’Neills of Suffolk Street (which is also a total rip-off), but as the lads were already slurping from the G-trough, & the product had a half-decent look about it, I decided to join the party.

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Grand

The Settler may have been given a little too long to relax as what landed in front of me had a slightly over-sized priests collar. Still, it didn’t look too bad in fairness & the wobble-test said “all good mate, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem here”. When I sat it down in front of me, ready for the first gulp, I was expecting an average, run-of-the-mill, wholly drinkable pint of TheGoodBlacknWhite. And that is exactly what I got. The lip-flop was grand, right about average, bit o’the cream, as it should be. The taste was grand, a nice Guinness taste, right about average. It held itself together all the way & was easy going when it came to a few gulp-gargles at the end when we were pushed for time.

They were so acceptable that we popped back in for a few more post-gig & they all followed in the same vein. A grand auld pint, in the centre of town, would certainly be happy enough to drink The Black Stuff here again if passing through.

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Nice bit o’the cream

Ryan’s, Camden Street, November ’16 (3/4)

Guinness Time

I had to get a sneaky one if before hitting The Palace on Camden Street as I knew the Guinness in The Palace is amongst the worst muck sold in Ireland & there wasn’t a chance in Hell of me spending my hard-earned on a pint of piss in that establishment (we’re only there for the pool tables!).

This bar is straight up: a nice spot, a genuine barman, it even has a horse-racing area with a odds-monitor if that’s what ye fancy. The pint is only something like €4.25, which is just excellent (& fair in my opinion) value in this city. This particular G had a good, solid head, bit o’the cream, as it should be, easily passing a wobble-test & leaving me & my G-Punter mates very happy with our lot. We didn’t have much time so I went straight for the gulp-gargle, the soft lip-flop giving me a quality G-tache. I got a right amount in & it flowed like a full flavoured torrent through my mouthnthroat. Very tasty & very refreshing; exactly what I was after. The head hugged the glass all the way to a nice, creamy finisher… oh yes. I very much enjoyed polishing this one off in minutes. This establishment is solid for the G; a high 3 with great value to boot.

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Solid

O’Donoghues’s, Dublin, November’16 (3/4)

Guinness Time

It was early afternoon on a crisp but clear Autumn day & I had arranged to meet a few mates, among them a fellow G-Man, in O’Ds for a couple ahead of an Ireland match & a lengthy seis. There was no sign of them when I arrived but that wasn’t gonna stop me going right ahead & ordering for myself. I just don’t get enough of a chance to visit purveyors of The Black Gold anymore to be wasting precious G-Time sitting around waiting on friends.

As usual, there was a pile of Settlers resting at the bar, so my pint took only a minute to prepare. It looked just great to be honest, lovely bit o’the cream, as it should be, top-notch wobble-test to boot, I was well looking forward to digging in. I found myself a lovely spot near the back door &, as I lay her down before me, I noticed a lovely little cream-leak had formed. I had Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly et al looking down approvingly from their many perches upon the wall as I pulled the Goodness towards me. After a satisfyingly solid lip-flop, the black hit the mouth & flowed in over my tongue….. mmmmm, so liquidly refreshing, the perfect concoction of a Saturday afternoon. Black & creamy; just lovely. A very enjoyable pint, as was the next. It’s always such a delight to drink in here.

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Leaky and lovely

Mulligan’s, Dublin, October ’16 (3/4)

Guinness Time

Well, after my last experience in this Guinnessing-hole, I was becoming disillusioned with the state of the G in Dublin but more than keen to give it a chance for rememption considering that this establishment has served me more creamy bastards than any other. And so it was of a Thursday evening with an old friend that the opportunity arose for Mullies to save its reputation.

It was by no means jammers at half five so a handy spot just inside the lounge doors had been secured and by the time I arrived a well formed pint of the GoodBlacknWhite was sitting on the table awaiting me. I’d just done literally the most honest days work of my life sanding tables for Barretstown and was very thirsty for, if not a little deserving of, some Black Gold. The wobble test was very promising, bit o’the cream, as it should be, things were looking up for me, and for Mulligans. My excitement built; could it be a good ‘un, please be a good ‘un! The lip flop was slow and creamy leaving a good G-tache, the black goodness hit my mouth…. I couldn’t help but smile that knowing smile; it was on point. It was a solid, tasty number & I was very happy.

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Thick n creamy…. just the way we like it.

It kept its form, the head hugging the glass right the way down to a nice creamy finisher. I was ready for more, just to be sure, and sure enough the five that followed were all solid. Mullies, you are back. You had an off night but you’re back in business. Not quite back on top, but back in the good-game.

The Waterside, Donabate, August ’16 (1/4)

My goodness! Is that Guinness?

This kind of place is exactly why I started this blog. If I had to say what the problem here is, just as it is in any other 1/4, I’d say it’s that they use the same chemical mix for all draughts to get the beer from keg to tap. This is fucking bullshit. The publican is actually selling a product that they have not advertised. Imagine you ordered a steak & you were served a leg of lamb? Would you accept it? Fuck no! So why do publicans expect us to accept their shite pints of Guinness?

I had been really looking forward my first local pint & no better place than the Waterside, with its amazing views across the North Dublin beaches to Howth & out to Lambay Island. Unfortunately, I knew it that it was a bogey as soon as I saw it… it was a God-damned fizzy header! The head, though correctly apportioned, was full so of bubbles it was frothing over…. CO2 alert! It certainly wasn’t gonna be a creamy one, that was for sure.

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Fizz off!

Plonked down in a great spot in front of the telly for the hurling I was but I feared for the experience as as I brought the darkness toward my mouth. Obviously, there was zero lip-flop & as soon a it rolled over my tongue I knew I was right. Once the first gulp had gone down my throat the full squinty-wince face came on; I was fucked, it was gonna be a Struggler. At this point, you know it’s bad & it’s only a matter of whether it’ll drag itself into 2 territory or if the dreaded 1 is on the cards. The pencil-tache was forming very early, which is a very bad sign, but I soldiered on, each gulp as bad as the last, until I got to the point where I could go no further. I had reached the end of my tether, with this pint and with every poxy establishment that treats Guinness drinkers like shite-on-a-shoe. Halfway down I was when I just packed it in, up, & left. This place didn’t & doesn’t deserve my custom &, if you’re a G-punter, it doesn’t deserve yours either. I won’t be back.

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A watery wan if ever I saw one. Frothy, not creamy.

Mulligan’s, Dublin, August ’16 (2/4)

Not Guinness Time, Not Here Anyway

Red alert! Red Alert! Call the Guinness police! Holy shit, did this actually happen?! Is this some kind of creamless, wet, black nightmare from which I am yet to awaken? Please tell me it is! Mulligan’s, the original G-Mecca, with a 2 rating, what the hell is going on?!

It was a Friday evening & I was heading to a work leaving drinks being held in Mullies on my recommendation. I had talked up the Guinness no-end & I was delighted to be buying the leaver a pint of the GoodBlacknWhite in the home of the quality pint. A foreigner, & so obviously not a regular drinker, I thought “I’ll get him on the G-train after a few creamy beauties in one of Irelands foremost Guinnessing-holes”. The pints were purchased in the lounge side & when they landed on the table I couldn’t help but notice the head didn’t seem to be it’s usual uber-creamy Mulligan’s self. I’d never bother with a wobble-test in this establishment, as they have never served me anything but the best, but I was just slightly suspicious at this point.

It being Mulligan’s on a Friday after work, my anticipation had reached fever pitch. I salivated heavily as I moved the glass towards my mouth but the closer it got the worse the head looked; there seemed to be more bubble-fluff than smooth-puff. The lip-flop was a let-down, not the soft-caressing I have grown used to here so, as you can imagine, by now I was starting to wonder what was going on. The taste was not as I would expect either, definitely a bit of squints about it as it flowed over my tongue. I couldn’t take a gulp, only a sup. This pint was borderline & I was in shock. It was average at best all the way down to a watery disappointment of a finisher. Something was amiss so I decided to try the bar rather than the lounge for the second just in case it was a one-off (it never is!)…. it wasn’t. The taste again was, & it pains me to have to admit it, squinty-wince face. The issue here, for the first time ever in this establishment, was definitely the mix. Too much carbon dioxide if you ask me. I had a few more, each as disappointing as the last. To compound the problem, I had been embarrassed in front of my workmates, having made the claim that this pub served the best pints in Ireland & having then been shown up so badly.

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Head clearly not its usual ultra-velvetty self & as for the finisher!…. I’ll say no more.

This is the lowest point since the launch of Guinnesslove.com. I don’t know was it the staff, the proprietor trying to save money, an accident or what, but, Mulligan’s, you have forsaken us G-lovers.

The Strand Inn, Dunmore East, July ’16 (1/4)

My goodness! Is that Guinness?

We were back in The Sunny South-East for a long-weekend family trip away & I was still on the hunt to find a pub in Dunmore East that showed some love for the G (zero from two so far!). The sun was out, we had seats overlooking the bay & the view was beautiful. Not for the first time in this town, the scene was set, all that was now required was was a cool, creamy pint of The Good BlacknWhite to make this scene picture perfect.

Making the attempt was one of the bar girls &, unfortunately, she musn’ta been well versed in the art of the G. She left it settle for probably about 30 seconds before topping it off. This was a bad sign. I really hate it when a pint of Guinness doesn’t get left to its own devices for a sufficient amount of time. Whether it actually makes a difference or not, it’s part of the ritual that they say must be followed so God-damn it it should be respected. It breaks my heart so see a pint settling away, happy as Larry, when it just gets smashed by an early top-up. It settled into a dark one that had an ok look about it. The wobble-test gave me a little cause for concern as it wasn’t that creamy really but, still, there was nothing too alarming at this point. The sun, the scene & the pint in front of me all culminated in this tweet “The Strand, Dunmore East, in the sun with a cold one: G-heaven”

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Dark isn’t always delicious.

Unfortunately, after my first taste I realised I was, at a minimum, in G-purgatory. It tasted off, bit of the old squinty-wince face about it & the head started to dissipate after my first gulp. I was so disappointed, considering the scene as it was. We were in definite 2/4 territory here at this point. I soldiered on through but it was honestly rank; the finisher was akin to necking a mouldy lemon, it was straight out of G-hell! Though I saw no redemption for this place, I really wanted it to work so for my sins I went back to the well again & Jesus, it was off, well off, just like the first. This second wasn’t even drinkable, pure slop it was. I ended up leaving the half & heading. Again, why bother selling it if yer serving this shite? They need Francis Brennan back! As ever, my advice is to go somewhere that respects the G-punters but if you must drink here try the Birra Moratta on draft instead.

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She’s a watery wan!

Foley’s, Merrion Row, June ’16 (3/4)

Guinness Time

It was my first time upstairs in this place & being some sort of Victorian bedroom/ hipster-circus hybrid left me in fear that more effort would be going in to the decor than the pintage here. Having just come across the road from O’Donoghue’s, & a couple of serious top-notchers, I was more than a little apprehensive.

The pint was professionally poured, nice wait time, looked decent. The wobble-test proved promising so I tucked in, hitting it for an average sup. To my delight, it wasn’t too bad, bit o’the cream, as it should be, with a decent taste to boot. I was happy with it. I tried a couple more & they were just the same. Consistently grand pints I’d say, more than acceptable & leaving me pleasantly surprised.

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Very black

O’Donoghue’s, Dublin, June ’16 (4/4)

My Goodness! Now That’s Guinness!

Talk about hotly anticipated! It was the day of the France match; this was gonna be big. As town was the meet & watch point, what better place to get rolling than good old solid-as-fork O’D’s. We made our way in for 12 & due to the rake of settlers they have nestled around the bar, even at that hour, we had some creamy looking good-things sitting in front of us within 2 minutes. From my recent foray into this much-loved establishment I knew they still had it so from the moment I awoke that morning I had been anticipating some serious pints; the salivating had reached dehydration proportions & I now had just the remedy.

From the look of the creamy head I could tell there was no need for a wobble-test, this pint just needed me to dive right in & I bloody well obliged with a full sized gulp-gargle. Each sup was a cold, full-bodied taste of heaven. Jesus, this is how it’s meant to be. I couldn’t get enough. I would describe both the smell and the taste as “black & creamy”. There was so much depth to the flavour, my whole tongue, nay, my whole mouth was tingling with enjoyment. My first was over so quickly, a second was soon required & it didn’t let me down either. After a gulp you can’t help but exclaim “mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm” & so I did. What a start to the day!

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There’s #1 after a couple o’gulp-gargles with #2 lying in wait… look at her staring over in that close-up, I’d swear she was posing!

These guys do Guinness as it should be; a serious old-school taste & solid creamyness. Throw in the trad band playing away too (yes, they were there at midday) & these pints could just be Dublin’s best. I could drink pints here all day, in fact, I think I’ll do just that sometime in the near future.