Ballybeg House, Co. Wicklow, May ’17 (3/4)

Guinness Time

Whenever you attend a wedding, you always have that fear that the venue just won’t be up to scratch in the G department, not to mention the bar staff being au fait with the art of the G. And so it was for me on this summer’s afternoon in Ballybeg House, South Wicklow. The reception room itself is a huge, permanent marquis with a bar in the corner, rather than being an actual bar, so all things considered, I was obviously a little scared of what I might receive here.

Having not realised that the speeches were pre-dinner, I had been caught off guard &, unfortunately, had not managed to pint-up beforehand. So, by the time said speeches, including the most legendary ramble touching on the marriage of a local fiddlers daughter & a detailed, three-point, Francis Brennan plan for the refurbishment of a hotel in the west of Ireland, were over, I was absolutely parched! Yer man behind the bar certainly looked like he know what he was at & the Settler really looked well as she sat there taunting me. To my delight, the head on the finished product looked great & I was more than happy with what the wobble-test was saying to me. I couldn’t wait to dive in so in I went, right there at the bar, for a good gulp-gargle. I received a lovely, creamy hit to the nose & an excellent full-flavored flow over my mouthnthroat; it was absolute thirst-quenching heaven & I was delighted so I was. All my G-fears evaporated in an instant. I could tell the G would be flowing late into the night. Many more were sank, all of a decent standard.

Ballybeg1
Looking well in her glitzy surrounds

If this venue is on your wedding shortlist, & it’s coming down to the G-quality; have no fear, it’s solid here.

Symth’s, Donabate, May ’17 (3/4)

Guinness Time

The pints have been underwhelming in this establishment in the past but I couldn’t resist trying again, what being my local & all, so I gave it a go on a surprising busy Wednesday evening. The  pint, ordered from the back bar (lounge), was poured in the front bar & as soon as it arrived I tried the wobble test as the last one I’d had here was a right waterdy-wan which tasted manky. Thankfully, on this occasion, the pint seemed half decent but, as I was still scarred from my last sortie, I went for merely a sup.

Smyth May 17
I’d drink that… & I did.

Happily, my G-fear was unfounded as she had a nice bit o’the cream, as she should do, & the taste was in the slightly above average range; definitely drinkable. She was a nothing- to-blow-me-away-but-nothing-to-stop-me-going-again kind of pint. The next was just the same; a default low 3, consistent anyway sure. So, the pint here is just grand really, nothing to write home about but eminently drinkable but at €4 a pint (yes, four euro!), well you’re actually making money with every pint you sink! I have no doubt that I’ll be back for more.

The Three Sisters, Dunmore East, Mar ’17 (3/4)

Guinness Time

Back in Dunmore East again, still on the hunt for a decent pint. And I’m now delighted to report that I’ve actually found one.

It was a sleepy March weekday afternoon & I was chillin like a tourist but nonetheless I was still on the prowl (as any self-respecting G-lover always is). Having got a walk out of the way it was relax & pint time; the best part of any holiday day & the time I had been looking forward since sunrise. As the Guinness was average-to-rubbish in the three other establisments I’d previously tried in this village, it had to be one of only two remaining so The Three Sisters it was & on we head. By the façade you wouldn’t know there was a cosy, country pub waiting inside, more like a Irish water park from the 80’s (Rainbow Rapids anyone) but anyway it is lovely inside. This, though, can often lull you into a false sense of security, expecting a decent pint before any efforts have been attempted. This was exacerbated by the fact that the proprieter, a chap in his 50’s I’d say, said he’d drop the pint down to me &, as he seemed very comfortable in his surroundings, I trusted him with the pour.

Fear not though, when she arrived at my table she looked just great, exactly what I’d hoped for. Nice dome, thick lookin head & the wobble test confirmed it’s credentials; so far, so good, but of course, the proof is in the pudding, so in I went. Just a sup to start, nothing crazy, as I was with the family. The lip-flop left that which every good G-lover expects: a soft, flavour-filled residue around my nose. The liquid Goodness left a smile on my tongue; cool, black, refreshing, and a nice bit o’the cream, as it should be. I was loving this lasy afternoon pint, it was everything one would expect of a decent pint of The GoodBlacknWhite. I had another for good measure, again; solid as an ox, leaving this G-man in a good G-mood. Nice pints of Guinness are just lovely, & you will get one here.

3 Sisters 3
Nice all round

The Gallops, Leopardstown, Apr ’17 (3/4)

Guinness Time

My fellow G-Lover @Guinnesstaster had been talking this place up for a good while. It’s his local so he regularly pops in for a sneaky here n there, sending me midweek Guinness porn, every pint-pic showing a scandalous amount of cream & getting my juices flowing when they really shouldn’t be.

Gallops2
Nice

When I arrived, after a huge pile of baby related stress, the lads had already got stuck into a couple but from what I could see they looked average, & @Guinnesstaster confirmed this to be the case. I ordered a little nervously but was dealt a decent looking pint with a lovely dome; so far so good. The wobble-test said “grand; nice bit o’ the cream, as it should be”, so things didn’t seem to be as bad as I was expecting. In I went, just the one gulp to start here, nothing extreme. The lip-flop was grand, exactly what you’d expect from a half-decent pint of The Good BlacknWhite, & the flavour was good n Guinessey. To my delight, the head held all the way through to a nice, creamy finisher. All round it was an enjoyable pint; nice, no complaints, the standard you would expect from every establishment in Ireland.

The same went for the pints that followed. These pints were the quintessential 3 outta 4’s or, as I so eloquenty described them at the time; “solid-as-fuck”.

Gallops 1
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.

langtons-jan-17-mix
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.

hotel-kk
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.

salty-dog-01-17-3-2
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.

salty-dog-01-17-5-2
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.