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…

Emily Says . . . . ‘Big Shed’

Big Shed

In her eighth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at her visit to Australia;

For those who haven’t noticed my absence in the last month, I spent eleven days in Adelaide, South Australia fulfilling my duties as a bridesmaid for my childhood best friend. As amazing and as honourable this role and trip was, it was an exhausting journey back to Manchester and jet lag truly took advantage of me. Not to mention being thrown back into the late bartending shifts the minute I stepped foot off the plane from that twenty-three hour flight.

But I’m back! As is my body clock. And it would have felt rude to not bring some of the Australian sunshine back with me, even if I didn’t bring back a tan to prove it…

Being a bridesmaid is no walk in the park, and myself and my twin sister Charlotte found our days packed out with wedding rehearsals, bridal showers and overall preparations for the big day; which, by the way, payed off just beautifully. Luckily, we managed to squeeze in a day off consisting of brunch, beaches and, most importantly, beer!

South Australia homes many breweries, and we payed a visit to one of the most popular: Big Shed Brewing Co. Founded and directed by Craig Basford and Jason Harris, the pair started brewing in Jason’s shed in Barossa of Adelaide back in 2002. The shed was big enough to fit in all the necessary brewing equipment, and so began the love affair of Big Shed Brewing. Experimenting using unique ingredients from the pure curiosity of ‘what happens if…’, Craig and Jason began discussing making their passion into a business.

Finally in September of 2014, Big Shed Brewing Co launched their own tasting bar and kitchen to display and sell their products. Consisting of six taps and food that is specially paired with the different beers, this brewery is perfect for sampling, learning and even taking away their unique beers. I took away three different bottles, and here is a little summary of each of the three.

F Yeah - American Pale Ale
F Yeah – American Pale Ale

ABV: 5.5%
An overall easily drinkable and fantastic beer. Beautifully hopped with a biscuit and aromatic malt, F Yeah provides a full bodied and wonderfully hopped experience. Alongside a citrus-like aroma, there is also a firm bitterness that truly balances this beer; which is what makes APAs so wonderful! A full strength beer that can be enjoyed during any occasion thanks to its steadily balanced ABV.

Californicator – West Cost IPA
Californicator – West Cost IPA

ABV: 7.5%
With the West Coast USA being all about their hops, this number has naturally replicated that. The bitterness from the strong hops in this beer are backed up perfectly by citrus aromas, and even a hint of apricot. The bold flavour of this beer makes it incredibly moreish; a risky game to play with its heavy ABV of 7.5%! Perhaps not the ideal beer for a quiet get together with the family… but overall, a cracking no-nonsense IPA.

Golden Stout Time – Dessert Stout
Golden Stout Time – Dessert Stout

ABV: 5.4%
Something for the sweet tooth! Taking a step back from the hops and focusing on the strong infusions of toffee and honeycomb, this dessert stout is perfect for a post-meal treat. The sweet infusions give this beer a hearty and rich tasting experience, ticking all the boxes for the perfect dessert beer; with an easy going ABV too! For sipping and enjoying, this number is one to be savoured.

Sadly, Big Shed Brewing Co hasn’t appeared its face over here in the UK yet. But if anyone is planning a trip to the South of Australia, a visit to the brewery or even grabbing a bottle of two from the local liquor store shelves is an absolute must! A true taste of the South Australian sunshine, Big Shed is one not to be missed out.