Bowe’s, Fleet St., February ’17 (4/4)

My goodness! Now that’s Guinness!

 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.

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Just look at the cheann on them!

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.

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One gulp in… heaven

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.

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Head retention 101

Langton’s, Kilkenny, Jan ’16 (3/4)

Guinness Time

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.

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Bit o’the cream, as it should be.

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.

Hotel Kilkenny, Jan ’17 (3/4)

Guinness Time

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.

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No so strong in the cream department.

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!

The Salty Dog, Skerries, Jan ’17 (3/4)

Guinness Time

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.

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Number 2; lookin good

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.

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Nice n creamy

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.

Neary, Chatham St., December ’16 (3/4)

Guinness Time

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.

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Bit o’the cream

Mary Mac’s, Ballsbridge, Dec ’16 (4/4)

My Goodness! Now That’s Guinness!

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.

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Now that is a pint

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.

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