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!

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.


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.

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 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 Haven Hotel, Dunmore East, Co Waterford, June ’16 (2/4)

Not Guinness Time, Not Here Anyway

I don’t know how it is for everyone else, but when I’m on my holidays all I can think about is a nice cool pint. Lounging around is lovely; wandering on walks is wonderful; family fun n frolics in freezing seas is fantastic, but all the time on my mind is to find somewhere to enjoy a pint of the smooothest, coolest, creamiest Goodness. Mmmmm, just the thought of it.

It was a blisteringly hot day & I was on on me jollies in the sunny South-East & I was gagging to get a taste of the local attempt. To my delight, my auld pair said they knew a lovely spot with a great view that was perfect for some afternoon refreshment. The sun was splitting the pebbles in front of this period house hotel so we opted for a picnic table with amazing views across the bay to Hook head. The scene was most certainly set, it was missing just one thing. I ordered the pint but was too busy bringing drinks to the family to stay n view the Settler so it was ready n waiting upon my return. I wobble-tested & to my disappointment found a watery cheann. To add to this, the first thing my aul lad said when I sat down was “oooh, awwww, doesn’t look great that”! Irish auld lads probably just know, it’s intuition; you get to a certain age and you just have the-Knowledge-of-the-G. He was right, there were a good few tiny bubbles in the head; a bad omen. There was no lip-flop, twas more like what happens with the head of a beer, and as I tasted it I knew, I just knew the taste had lived up to the look and feel. I even tried to pretend it was half decent the second time I went at it but I had to give up, it just tasted off & my idyllic view was tainted. Too much carbon dioxide I’d say if pushed, but definitely not good enough. Get a beer if you want to enjoy the view but my advice is go somewhere else where the G-punters are treated with the respect they deserve.

Crossbar, Davin Stand, Croke Park – Apr’15 (2/4)

Event Drinkable

As most of you are probably aware, event G’s are, in general, fairly poor. If you get an average one you’d be delighted. Often they’re a messy single-pour, lashed out at a furious pace in an effort to cater for the volumes. This, of course, doesn’t engender a happy Guinnexperience but when it’s that, Carlsberg  or a small bottle  of wine, there’s only one winner for me.

The unfortunate thing about looking for a half-time pint in Crokers is that, depending on how well attended the match is, you could find yourself getting served just when they’re about to throw in again, which is exactly what happened me on this occasion. Likely as a result of the crowds of bouseys with pints in their hands hanging around the entrances trying to get a view of the match before heading back to their seats, the-powers-that-be have installed tellies outside the bar so you won’t miss anything, which is very handy. At a fiver, I guess it’s what you’d  expect & it’s not like you can go somewhere else. The pint was a single-pour but it settled fairly well & looked very drinkable.

Davin Stand

I put it to my lips, expecting, from the look of her, a decent bit o’the cream but was immediately disappointed by the watery taste. It wasn’t that the taste was off, as in establishments that show a severe lack of respect to the Guinness by over-carbonating, rather, it was just a lack of taste. It was a pint of Guinness alright, it was just devoid of character. I would class the pint as “stadium drinkable”; you can get it into you in about 3 minutes if necessary in order to get back to the stands & it’ll probably make that first one in the pub after the game that bit more enjoyable. Yes it’s a 2 out of 4 but in all honestly, I’ve had worse in pubs, so it’ll do you for a swifty at half time.

Ned Claffey’s, Castletown Geoghegan – Dec ’15 (2/4)

Not Guinness Time, Not Here Anyway

This really is a lovely, cosy little pub situated is the middle of nowhere away from any hustle n bustle &, oftentimes, from any mobile network coverage too. Though there’s a mini lounge, we ordered in the bar as there was a big open fireplace in there that adds greatly to the atmosphere. It’s the kind of place that you’d just expect the pints to be of a good quality; down the country, cosy family-run pub, around €4.20 a pint; it was meant to be.

Claffeys 20 Dec 15 3

The pint arrived frothing a little, which is obviously not a good sign. As you can see from the pic on the left above, as it settles, it’s looking ever-so-slightly fizzy or over-fluffy (as opposed to a thick-creamy one) which indicates over-carbonation. Once settled, it had the perfect priests collar, but a G-Man won’t be fooled. I went for a single-gulper, as I was trying to behave, & as it washed over my tongue & down my throat I knew the verdict; my hunch was right, it tasted off. Off in the usual too-much-carbonation-it’s-a-two-at-best kind of way. I’ve tasted it all before & it’s always the same; no care for the gas & thus a let-down to the G-Lovers amongst us. They can look the part but without the requisite nitrogen, they fail. I went back to the well just in case but, as always, it came back the same: 2/4. I wish I could get used to the disappointment but it still gets me every time. At least I had a rake of these to look forward to anyway.

Mount Wolseley Hotel, Carlow – Dec ’15 (2/4)

Not Guinness time, not here anyway.

Yes, it’s a hotel bar, and it’s a bloody massive hotel too. It’s a kids hotel really; they’re everywhere. They’re in reception, in the hallways, outside lifts & everywhere in the lounge. All-ages, from 3 months to probably 13 years, playing chasing round the tables, crawling backwards on all fours, screaming at parents, screaming at each other, screaming at themselves, yes it’s all happening in this lounge. Where are the parents you might ask? Well, they’re right there in the lounge too, boozing away. So parents bring kids here because it’s an extremely child-friendly hotel with a vast lounge (play) area. The adults are not here for quality pints, they’re just here for any pints! So what would you really expect from the Guinness here?

Served up with a bubble-filled head (we know a Guinness head tells no lies), I was absolutely expecting a the worst….

Bubble Head

I gave it an average sup &, to my surprise, it didn’t taste like the dregs. Certainly not one I’d describe as creamy, no way, not even opening the tasty-book, but drinkable, yes, enough to try another to be safe. Yet again, it was ok-ish, certainly not horrific; they’re consistent anyway.

Mt Wol 29.12.15 1

I was thinking of giving a low 3 here but “sher, it’s drinkable” isn’t good enough, “sher, it’s drinkable” is a 2/4. More effort definitely needed here to get in the good books.

The Long Stone, Dublin – Dec ’15 (2/4)

Not Guinness time, not here anyway.

This is a nice pub alright & was all Chrismassed up which added to the atmosphere & the anticipation because, as we all know, it’s always nice to have good G when you have all the decorations up all round & a Christmas tree in the corner. With Christmas cheer a decent looking pint landed in front of me (see bottom left below) so I gave it a good gulp-gargle. Unfortunately the head wasn’t great on the cream side & the taste was well-off. Bit o’the squinty-wince face I’m afraid; wasn’t happy. In fairness, the chap that poured it wasn’t a local so for my second I tried the back bar & a local lad. The pint tasted just a little better, nothing to drag itself over the halfway line into the much sought after 3 territory though. The head retention was good on this pint (see left below) but the taste was still off which goes to show, it’s all about the chemicals!

Long Stone 1.2.1

As ever, I trudged on through them but wasn’t too happy, considering I could practically smell the goodness from Mulligan’s around the corner. The pints never improved, nor did my G-mood. Sorry Long Stone, you gotta try harder.

Ely Winebar, Dublin – Nov ’15 (2/4)

Not Guinness time, not here anyway.

As can probably be ascertained from the name of this establishment, this is not somewhere one would generally frequent if they were after the finer pint. But for those of us who are after the pint regardless of where we are, this review is pertinent. I would not expect the pint to be all that great here to be honest but they have a tap & they charge €5.30 a jar & therefore they are fully open to judgement & that’s what they’ll get.

The cosy cellar had a pleasant, if mildly-pompous, atmosphere & the pint didn’t look half bad when served; bit o’the cream, nothing overly watery & nothing to be afraid of. Upon tasting, it didn’t seem too bad at first but as I moved through it the squinty-wince came to the fore. To compound the problem, my ultra-sensitive nose was picking up extreme fermented-grape flavourings which was making the pint taste worse. As they only have a Guinness tap & a blandom high-street-beer tap here, I do not expect that much effort goes into the Guinness draft & thus the over-carbonated taste. I saw the pint through, though disappointingly couldn’t hit the finisher. You are only getting a pint of Guinness here if you don’t like wine (me) & are eager to see if they can pull off the pint-o-G in a wine bar (me) but take it from a G-man; they can’t. Try a bottled beer or maybe a tea.

The Gingerman, Dublin – Oct ’15 (2/4)

Not Guinness time, not here anyway.

I had been looking forward to my end-of-week pint for a couple of days. It was well deserved too as work had been busy-as-fork all week. Arriving at around ten past six on a Friday, the crowd was 4 deep outside, but it wasn’t at-all jammers inside so there was no bother getting served. I was at the upstairs bar & the pint on delivery looked grand; the head had a bit o’the cream so I was upbeat about how the experience would be. Unfortunately, the taste was off, not squinty-wince-face but just not on: anti-tasty; the wrong side of 2. I knew by gulp 2 that it was a full-on let-down which is always so annoying when you can see a decent bit of cream n all. Anyway, I soldiered on through but knew it would be my first n last in this establishment. Absolutely not up to standard & not worth drinking in here. Try the Writers Block lager instead, nice & tasty; like Kronenberg, just without the violence.

The Long Hall, Dublin – Oct ’15 (2/4)

Not Guinness time, not here anyway.

No doubt about it, this is a cosy pub. The carpet on the floor, the friendly staff, the lively banter; it has all the right attributes. This is what was going through my mind as I ordered my first pint so I was feeling warm, fuzzy and generally happy with my lot. The pint, a fiver on the head, was expensive but I was expecting great things so didn’t let the price get me down. It looked great, really creamy looking head, the stage was set for this to be right up there.

Long Hall 10.10.15 small

The creamy head obviously provided a great lip-flop & I took a good long gulp. I tasted long & hard, I wanted it to be a success but unfortunately it just wasn’t up to it. It gave me that feeling that I may have been misled. Having a few more good slurps confirmed my initial thoughts. There was an inkling of that sharpishness that can ultimately lead to a squinty-wince face of a finisher & this one, though not by any means in the absolutely brutal category, turned out as expected. I had another to be safe but the result was the same. This is a lovely spot, they just need to make an effort with their Guinness to be able to justify charging €5 a pint in here. 2/4; Guinneslovers, avoid it.