Healy Mac’s, Breaffy House, Mayo, Aug ’17 (1/4)

My goodness! Is that Guinness?

By the time I got to Carrick-On-Shannon I knew I was going the wrong way & my chances of a pint on the first night of of my holiday were going up in smoke. I finally arrived at Breaffy House around ten & was too wrecked for a sneaky so it was five o’clock the next day before I finally had the opportunity  to have my first holiday pint & I was buzzin, absolutely gasping for it I was. That was about the height of my G-buzz for this holiday.

This establishment has won foreign bar of the year for its bars in Malaysia & Indonesia. As we all know, the Guinness is shite anywhere outside of Ireland & unfortunately they serve the same ass-juice in their Irish branch in Breaffy.

Breaffy 1 1
Looks can be deceiving

When poured initially it started out as a pencil-tache & then grew into a normal head once settled, post-second pour. This is a 100% guarantee of a shite pint. If the Settler doesn’t already have the usual creamy head that remains once topped up, you’re fucked. Being my first holiday pint, I tried to pretend to myself that this one was normal & it would be ok but deep down I knew. The wobble-test was average I guess, wasn’t saying much really, certainly did nothing to quell my fears but sher I went for a normal sup anyway. There wasn’t much in terms of a lip-flop & the taste was quite bitter, definitely off. This had all the hallmarks of many pints I’ve had before; too much carbon dioxide, just a bad gas mix. Pure amateur stuff. I knew it would be bloody brutal in no time. Next sup was worse & by now the head was quickly becoming a fluffy bubble-head! By halfway down, the pint was just undrinkable, pure piss with a pencil-tache forming; all bubbles, no cream. Where is the god damned nitrogen? I want my cream!! I was gutted, my holiday was ruined. I packed the night in even though it was only seven. Fuck it like.

Breaffy2 2
Fluffy bubble-head 101

Pints like this are the reason this website exists. The manager says they check the G every few weeks, but, regardless of what they’re doing, the Guinness is just awful. It’s a lovely spot, but it’s no G-spot & if thats the clincher, like it is for me, then it’ll be a no for holidaying here.

Breaffy 3 3
Stop it now, this is just sacrilege
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Sandyford House, Mar ’17 (1/4)

My Goodness, is that Guinness?!

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.

Sandyord House 1
Oh mother of divine Jesus, what the hell is that?

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.

 

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.

waterside-aug-16-2-3
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.

waterside-aug-16-2-2
A watery wan if ever I saw one. Frothy, not creamy.

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”

The Strand Dungarvin July 16 2
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!

Dunmore East Golf Club, June ’16 (1/4)

My goodness! Is that Guinness?

It was a another swelteringly hot day in the Sunny South-East & I’d been out & about with the whole family just basking in it. Unfortunately for all concerned, due to the outrageous heat, I had inadvertently locked us out of the holiday home. So, having had to take a wander to track down a ladder, I was sweaty as fork by the time the auld one climbed in an upstairs window to let everyone in. I was bloody parched! I deserved a cool, smooth pint of The Good BlacknWhite.

Thankfully, the clubhouse of the Dunmore East Golf Club was a mere 20 yards from the holiday home so I got to the bar & ordered fairly lively. The pint only cost around €4 so that was a great start. It couldn’t come fast enough the thirst on me but to my abject disappointment it landed in front of me with a bubbly head. Gutted I was, but seeing as I was gasping for a drink I just had to get into it asap. Immediately upon first taste I got squinty-wince-face. The was no mistaking this one, it was all round off.

Dunmore East GC 7 Jun 16 head
Bubbles everywhere. Creaminess severely lacking.

My second attempt confirmed its mankiness as the wincing progressed & my face contorted. Had I not seen it poured myself I would well have thought it was the slops; horrendous it was. I struggled on, each sup worse than the last. By the time I got halfway we had gone from a fluffy to a pencil-tache head; it was time to call it. This was up there with the worst of them & was no longer drinkable. Why pretend you sell Guinness when you actually sell some shite? Just don’t bother. They have pint bottles of Harp, if yer ever here, go there!

Dunmore East GC 7 Jun 16 2
No thank you

The Palace, Camden St. – Jan ’16 (1/4)

My goodness! Is that Guinness?

This old haunt holds a place in my heart. A great spot back in the day, there are even rumours of nabbed pints in the upstairs club. Not just nabbed pints, empty glasses of Guinness being re-filled, left to settle, then topped up to perfection. I heard a lad once got snared on the second pour & forcibly ejected as a result, an hilarious story if true. Being middle-aged, I really only venture in here for the annual pool-comp myself & some mates play at the end of January so this review is for the downstairs bar rather than the club. It’s kind of a pool hall/ games bar so I wasn’t really expecting much.

Palace 5

The pint looked fine in fairness & had an alright looking head, bit o’the cream, grand looking collar but as ever, the proof is in the tasting. I’d waited all January for this one so I went in for a gulp-gargle, hoping for the best, but alas, as soon as the black had passed the flop I got that sour taste; pure squinty-wince face. This was clearly an unloved pint. I struggled through it but it was wholly unenjoyable. Still, I went for another, just to be safe, & I was hit with the squinty-wincer all over again, all the way through. Each gulp was tough going. These were awful pints. Considering that the Fosters is €4 here, there is no reason to be drinking Guinness in this establishment. Save yourself the pain, go straight to the Fosters. I wish I had.

The Celt, Dublin – Sept ’15 (1/4)

My goodness! Is that Guinness?

Bloody hell, another massive let-down. This place would have been my most regular haunt back in my 20’s & I have had many a great night on the perfect creamy pints in this place so I come to the table with the utmost of respect for the pintability here. Having had an absolutely brutal pint here when I was practically the only person in the pub back in April before the league final, I wanted to give them another chance in the hope that the experience was a one-off: how wrong I was.

Lets start with the basics; the pint of Guinness is €4.90: total blaydin rip! A bad start, but if the pint is going to be up-to-standard then I can let it slide. Sadly, & it genuinely breaks my heart to have to admit it, the pints in here are far from up-to-standard. As you can see from the pint-pic, the head has already flattened out before I’ve even had my first sup. A good quality creamy head should be blubbering over, ready to burst into your gob at the sniff-o-the-lip. This pint was saying to me “I’m going to let you down” & a Guinness head tells no lies.

150925 Celt Before After

When the black stuff hit my palette it was like chewing on a gone-off lemon: full on squinty-wince-face. Gutted I was. As you can see from above, we had hit pencil-tache territory after a few gulps &, though I’m not sure if it’s that obvious from the pic, the tache-head was foamy, rather than creamy; an absolute disgrace when it comes to a pint of the good stuff. Like any good food critic, I soldiered on through but there was no pleasure in the final gulp, nor redemption in the next pint.

The Celt: why have you forsaken us so? It could be the curse of the Tripadvisor, as seems to be happening down at The Cobblestone, or maybe publicans just don’t care about punters any more but this place has a long way to go if it ever wants to get back the lofty heights of those heady days when certified 4/4’s were rolling out night after night.