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.

Kehoe’s, South Anne St., December ’16 (3/4)

Guinness Time

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.

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Look at the beauty

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!

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Average-creamy

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.

Kehoes, Dublin, Dec ’16 (4/4)

My Goodness! Now That’s Guinness!

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.

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Would ye just look at that for solid-as-fuck creamy thickness.

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!

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What a finisher! A little bit of heaven.

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.

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