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.

The Cobblestone, Dublin – Sept ’15 (2/4)

Not Guinness time, not here anyway.

Disappointed does not describe how I feel about the rating I’m giving this establishment’s efforts. I am gutted. This place was once amongst the top-dogs when it came to a tasty pint of the black stuff & as a result I had well talked it up to some mates I was taking here. Jayz, did I overpromise & underdeliver, it was actually embarrassing. Here’s me telling them about how I know good Guinness & how this place has always delivered a 4/4 pint & then bang; brutal pints. The head was a bit of a fluffy one which by halfway through was akin to that scruffy brown foam you see atop water. The taste was definitely not right but for the sake of The Cobblestone, a place that has given me many great nights & quality pints, I soldiered on through to the end. Sadly, the pint ended on a forcing-it-down squinty-wince-face that speaks volumes for the quality of the pint.

I don’t know if it’s the Tripadvisor certificate of excellence & the guaranteed tourist money or the fact that maybe less & less punters go for the pint o’G these days but something has gone seriously wrong here. To go from a 4/4 to a 2/4: seriously gutted for the place; biggest let-down so far on Guinnesslove.com.

Darcy’s Restaurant, Belfast – July 2015 (2/4)

Not Guinness time, not here anyway.

You’d think I woulda learned from my previous restaurant experience but a Guinnesslover is just that & so can’t resist when he sees a tap. Again, as per the last time I ordered a pint in a restaurant, I asked them how the Guinness was & they advised me not to worry, that it was excellent. Again, this turned out to be false. I guess the people in restaurants that are tasting these are not Guinnesslovers, they are foodies, & therefore can’t actually tell what a quality pint is.

When the pint arrived I shook the glass & the head seems a little watery, which is the first sign that it may not be up to standard. After about 3 sups the head had dissipated into some fluff-froth & that was that. I struggled on through as the were a nice bunch & I didn’t want to upset anyone but another member of my party mentioned it to the waiter when I was in the bog &, fair play to them, they didn’t charge for it (don’t worry, I’m not a bollix, we overtipped to cover the fact that I did drink most of it!). More establishments should take a leaf out of Darcy’s book in this regard.

The food in here is the best I’ve had when eating-out (I gave them a 5/5 on Tripadvisor), just leave the Guinness for somewhere else.

Seasons Restaurant, Portlaoise – June 2015 (2/4)

Not Guinness time, not here anyway.

As it’s a restaurant, I was a little reluctant to order a pint of Guinness here but the waiter/ proprietor could see I had something to say & he got it out of me. I would have preferred if they sold widget-cans, which generally taste pretty good, but he advised me that the Guinness was good & that I just had to try it to see him proven right, which I obviously did.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t proven right; the Guinness wasn’t up to standard. The head was frothy rather than creamy & the taste was sub-par. I finished the pint but by the end I was squirming somewhat, as is always the case when finishing one of these dodgy ones. You feel like you have to finish it anyway, seeing as how you’ve already paid for it & you think they’ll say you’re bullshitting if you just tell them straight out that it’s not good enough.

This place is fine, just don’t order a Guinness with your meal.