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

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.

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.

mulligans-aug-16-12
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 Guinnesslove.com. 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 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.

strand-inn-30-7-16-4-2
She’s a watery wan!

Foley’s, Merrion Row, June ’16 (3/4)

Guinness Time

It was my first time upstairs in this place & being some sort of Victorian bedroom/ hipster-circus hybrid left me in fear that more effort would be going in to the decor than the pintage here. Having just come across the road from O’Donoghue’s, & a couple of serious top-notchers, I was more than a little apprehensive.

The pint was professionally poured, nice wait time, looked decent. The wobble-test proved promising so I tucked in, hitting it for an average sup. To my delight, it wasn’t too bad, bit o’the cream, as it should be, with a decent taste to boot. I was happy with it. I tried a couple more & they were just the same. Consistently grand pints I’d say, more than acceptable & leaving me pleasantly surprised.

Foleys June 16 s
Very black

O’Donoghue’s, Dublin, June ’16 (4/4)

My Goodness! Now That’s Guinness!

Talk about hotly anticipated! It was the day of the France match; this was gonna be big. As town was the meet & watch point, what better place to get rolling than good old solid-as-fork O’D’s. We made our way in for 12 & due to the rake of settlers they have nestled around the bar, even at that hour, we had some creamy looking good-things sitting in front of us within 2 minutes. From my recent foray into this much-loved establishment I knew they still had it so from the moment I awoke that morning I had been anticipating some serious pints; the salivating had reached dehydration proportions & I now had just the remedy.

From the look of the creamy head I could tell there was no need for a wobble-test, this pint just needed me to dive right in & I bloody well obliged with a full sized gulp-gargle. Each sup was a cold, full-bodied taste of heaven. Jesus, this is how it’s meant to be. I couldn’t get enough. I would describe both the smell and the taste as “black & creamy”. There was so much depth to the flavour, my whole tongue, nay, my whole mouth was tingling with enjoyment. My first was over so quickly, a second was soon required & it didn’t let me down either. After a gulp you can’t help but exclaim “mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm” & so I did. What a start to the day!

O'D's June 16 s
There’s #1 after a couple o’gulp-gargles with #2 lying in wait… look at her staring over in that close-up, I’d swear she was posing!

These guys do Guinness as it should be; a serious old-school taste & solid creamyness. Throw in the trad band playing away too (yes, they were there at midday) & these pints could just be Dublin’s best. I could drink pints here all day, in fact, I think I’ll do just that sometime in the near future.

Smyth’s Ranelagh, June ’16 (4/4)

My Goodness! Now That’s Guinness!

It was the evening of the Ireland Sweden match and I was on holidays so I was seriously lookin forward to these pints. I’d never drank in this place so was buzzin to be tryin some new taps. It had been over an hour since I ate so I was totally ready for the pint &, thanks to my mate Rob, by the time I arrived there was already a right creamy looking bastard sittin at the table awaiting me. A brief wobble-test confirmed its credentials; the head almost tried to flop for my mouth! The lip-flop hit like a fluffy cloud of darkened goodness caressing my face, & it was oh-so-smooth as it rolled over my tongue & down my throat. The taste was deep & Guinnessey, a delight; I couldn’t wait to get another in.

Smyth Ranelagh June 16 2
Jesus, just look at that cream-leak.

And there were many more, all above par. These guys serve great pints, I will definitely come here again for the G. As with all solid Guinnessing-holes, this place comes with a warning: it’s so good you’ll be 5 deep in a couple of hours. Plan accordingly….. and enjoy.