felt like I was walking into a different era. Started in 1759, by Arthur Guinness, many parts of the building are in the original condition, as they were during Arthur Guinness’s days.
Just as I was walking down the cobbled brick street to the entrance, a horse and carriage whisked by. I had the feeling of what it must have been to walk these streets in those days, hearing the clicking of the horses hoofs and the wheels on brick on the grey, air chilled day.
Inside the building is a mix of modern and ancient. Brick and steel with sky high ceilings and big open spaces. I really wasn’t prepared for the vastness of the storehouse, with each floor offering a glimpse into the history and craft in the tradition of Guinness beer making.
The Guinness archive is remarkable with thousands of original press posters, bottle designs and labels and a historical documentation of life and work at the St. James Gate brewery in Dublin. I went on the weekend when the archives were closed, but they were kind enough to let me have a quick peek inside.
The ingredients in Guinness are pure, and simple. I have friends who grew hops in the backyard garden of their east village apartment in NYC for their artisenal beer making. I went to visit when it was hops harvesting time, and the hops were on every surface in the apartment drying. These hops reminded me of them.
Below is a polaroid of the Guinness brewery.
One of my favorite things about the tour was learning how the Guinness wooden casks were made. They were crafted by hand in the ancient craft of coopering. No rulers. No guages, each piece was shaped only by the precision of the master coopers eye, with hands trained to shape each piece perfectly down to the millimeter. There were no nails, screws or pieces holding the parts together. The barrels were all seamed together perfectly by the hand of the Cooper. Such a pride of craftmanship.
Here’s the video they show on the tour to document the barrel making.
Have fun and don’t forget to drink responsibly! As the Irish say, Sláinte~