Emily Says . . . . ‘The Dark Stuff’

Guinness 2

In her eleventh feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at her trip to Dublin and the Guinness Store;

The life of Emily Puckering strongly revolves around all things alcoholic, and despite the gloomy reality that I don’t spend that much of my time actually drinking, I do get the few opportunities to venture out of Manchester and explore some of the finest beverages that the world has to offer.

I spent a weekend in one of Ireland’s most renowned drinking spots, Dublin. And what is it that Dublin is so famous for? The Dark Stuff… or more commonly known as Guinness! Being one of the world’s most recognised stouts, I had high expectations of the quality of Guinness that Dublin had to offer. But firstly, what exactly is this dark stuff?

The story of Guinness dates all the way back to 1759, when a young Arthur Guinness found himself in Dublin and opened a brewery at St. James’s Gate. Rather than doing what every other brewery was focusing on; brewing ale, Guinness focused upon making the perfect porter.

By the time the 1800s came around, Guinness took that extra step forward and began exporting their famous black beer around the world, ranging from Africa to New Zealand. With Guinness being enjoyed all over the world, its popularity grew rapidly and a love for its unique taste was kindled.

With an ABV of 4.2%, Guinness provides the perfect balance of bitter and sweet with its malted and roasted characteristics. But it is the production of the porter that truly makes it one of a kind. Guinness brewers were the first to introduce the combination of nitrogen and carbon dioxide to draught beer. This resulted in Guinness’ velvety smooth texture and its unique settle, something it would very quickly become famous for.
It is water, barley, roasted malt extracts, hops and a unique Irish yeast that go into the production of Guinness. A large portion of the barley is roasted, which is what gives the dark colour and characteristic taste.

Guinness
Many mistake the colour of Guinness for being completely black, when it is in fact a ruby red. The flavour provides a rather unexpected light body, in contrast to what the overall appearance suggests on first impression. The light body alongside the velvet-like texture delivers a beautiful drinking experience. Upon the first taste, strong notes of coffee and chocolate are present with some slightly fruity characteristics. The bitterness of the hops finish the taste with subtly dry notes.

Visiting the St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin was an experience one doesn’t easily forget. The history of Guinness is told through a timeline that consists of over six floors, ending with the famous Gravity bar overlooking the city; with Guinness being served on draught of course!

Furthermore, if you find yourself in Dublin, a visit to St. James’s Gate is an absolute must, as is getting yourself a pint of the dark stuff on your next visit to a bar, whether that’s in Dublin or down at your local; the dark stuff isn’t as scary as it looks…

The Briton’s Protection Review

The Briton's Protection

Classed as Manchester’s best bar for whisk(e)y, The Briton’s Protection has got it all. On the corner of Great Bridgewater Street, the outside decor gives it a traditional pub feeling, and with hanging baskets from every window, it oddly doesn’t look out-of-place nestled in Manchester. Once you step foot inside you enter the long bar area where your greeted with a smile by both barman and customers. On my most recent visit, I of course opted for a whisky, but they do have other varieties available including Guinness, Staropramen, Strongbow and Carling on tap, and a range of spirits including the new Kraken spiced rum and Monkey Shoulder. Wines are available as well as ales including Tetley, Beartown and Angel Tears.

The Whisk(e)y range

As mentioned, my most recent visit I opted for a whisky. You are handed the whisk(e)y menu (something that has never happened to me before!) and can browse through their quite stunning selection. You can scan there backbar that includes the Scotch Glenfiddich range and Johnnie Walker, the Irish Jameson’s as well as American Jim Beam, Makers Mark and Knob Creek but the menu indicates some little gems that you can miss. Their selction also includes a Czech and Welsh whisky which im going to have to go back and try. I went for a Dalmore 15yr (check out my tasting notes on the Dalmore 15yr here – https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/dalmore-whisky-masterclass-review/ )

Whilst sipping on The Dalmore, I couldn’t help but notice they have a certificate hanging predominantly on the bar with the words ‘Whisky Bars of the World 2011’. I couldn’t agree more! With nearly every whisk(e)y available, you will surely find something that will take your fancy, and if not, the barman seem more than capable in offering you their advice which although probably mandatory in the job description, always makes you feel a more welcomed.

If your ever in the Manchester area, this is one of the must-see places on your to-do list and when you can pick up a Glenfiddich 21yr for just £7.50, even Jamie Milne, the Glenfiddich UK Ambassador, is pleasantly surprised!