My Favorite Thing in Ireland: The Guinness Connoisseur Experience!

As many of you may know, the Guinness Storehouse is an iconic stop in Dublin, and a visit to the Guinness Storehouse is a must for any visitor to Ireland! The Storehouse is located an easy 20/25 minute walk from central tourist-Dublin and its open every single day. I’ve been a couple of times and, most recently, went on the Guinness Connoisseur Experience tour last November. This post is meant to give visitors some more information on visiting the Guinness Storehouse and the Guinness Connoisseur Experience!

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The perfect pint in the Connoissuer Experience!

To plan a visit to the Guinness Storehouse (or a pilgrimage if you are like me…), set aside a minimum of three hours to arrive and explore the entire Storehouse, longer if you plan to eat a sit down meal or take the Connoisseur’s Experience (highly recommended for true Guinness lovers!). In planning your visit, know that the Guinness Storehouse tour is not an actual brewery tour (there are no public Guinness brewery tours), but an experience to fully immerse visitors into the world of Guinness. And, its where I first discovered Guinness 10 years ago…!!

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Literally me and Dan one decade ago.

Visitors of all ages are welcome to Guinness Storehouse. On that note, there are two tours of the Storehouse: the regular tour and the Connoisseur Experience. The regular tour includes a self-guided tour of the Storehouse and one complimentary pint of Guinness. The Connoisseur Experience includes the regular tour plus a 1 hour and 45 minute tasting of various Guinness beers with about 20 other beer enthusiasts and the complimentary pint of Guinness! If you are doing the normal tour, advance tickets are not required, but you may have to wait in line (bring the pin number from the ticket if you book in advance). If you want to do the Connoisseur’s Experience, I strongly encourage booking in advance, as each experience is limited to about 20 guests and often book up.

If you are doing the Connoisseur Experience, I recommend arriving to the Guinness Storehouse at least 2 hours before your Connoisseur Experience is scheduled to begin, earlier if you plan to eat lunch at the Guinness Storehouse. And on that note, definitely eat lunch either before you arrive or at the Guinness Storehouse – there is a lot of beer served during the Connoisseur’s Experience!

In And Around The Storehouse.

No matter the tour when you arrive near the Guinness Storehouse, even though you do not get a tour of the brewery, the Storehouse is located on the edge of (one of) the actual Guinness brewery; you can smell the beer being brewed! In addition, many things around the Storehouse are branded Guinness. Of importance, the famous Guinness Gate is located around the corner to the right of the entrance (when facing the entrance). Definitely line up to get your picture here! If you miss it (or its raining), there is a replica inside but its not the same! In the warm weather, there are also horse and buggy rides departing around the Guinness Storehouse.

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Dan & I at the iconic Guinness Gate.

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The fake indoor gate – 2008!

Entry To The Storehouse And The Ground Floor – the Gift Shop!!

Upon entering the Storehouse, there is a Guinness employee at the entrance checking bags and directing those with tickets, needing tickets, etc., to various counters. If you pre-purchased Connoisseur Experience tickets online, tell the employee and you will proceed to the counter on the left to collect your tickets and receive instructions for the Connoisseur Experience.  For regular pre-purchased tickets, you will proceed to collect your tickets from a kiosk .  If you don’t have a ticket, get in line!

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The magical Guinness store!

Once you have your ticket, you will proceed to the “Ground Floor” which holds a totally awesome and huge Guinness gift shop with some really unique Guinness souvenirs.  Resist the urge unless you are really early, as you will have to walk through here again on your way out.   Once you pass the gift shop, you will begin the tour of the Guinness Storehouse, which is spread over four floors and is entirely self-guided. Do not miss the famous 9,000 year Guinness Storehouse lease beneath the floor just next to the gift shop. As you start the tour and view the lease, look up. You will notice that the Storehouse is supposed to be shaped like a giant pint glass, with the 360 degree Gravity Bar (see below) at the very top!

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9,000 year lease. Pretty baller.

The First Floor Of The Storehouse – The Making of Beer.

The First Floor of the Storehouse is dedicated to the beer-making process, from water to hops to the barrels in which its aged. The First Floor offers a pretty cool water display, numerous videos, and signs throughout explaining the beer making process, ingredients, and the various displays. Definitely bring your camera; its cool! There is also a small cafe on the first floor, the Cooperage Cafe, selling coffee on nitro, water, soft drinks, and quick bites (sadly, no Guinness).

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En route to the first floor!!

The Second Floor Of The Storehouse – The First Taste.

The Second Floor of the Storehouse is all about the taste Guinness! On this floor, visitors learn more about the Guinness company and the special ingredients that give Guinness its taste via touch and video, and end with a small, shot glass tasting of Guinness. The tasting session is pretty extravagant and not to be missed!

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Dan & Arthur Guinness. 2008.

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First taste!

The Third Floor Of The Storehouse – Marketing Madness.

The Third Floor of the Storehouse is my personal favorite floor; its dedicated to those amazing Guinness advertisements from yesteryear! One can spend a surprising amount of time here and they even have a Guinness photo booth.

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Vintage advertisements.

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The Fourth Floor Of The Storehouse – The Connoisseur’s Experience.

The Fourth Floor is home to the Connoisseur’s Experience and the Guinness Academy, where every guest can learn to pour a pint of Guinness perfectly. For the Guinness Academy, get in line with your entrance ticket (if you pour a pint here – you DO NOT get a complimentary pint on the top floor)! For the Connoisseur’s Experience, check in at least 10 minutes in advance at the desk on this floor. Upon check-in, connoisseurs are lead to a private waiting area. Note – if you are doing the Connoisseur Experience, do not take part in the Guinness Academy; you will get this experience in the Connoisseur’s Experience. 

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Pouring our pints – i.e. the guinness Academy Experience in the Connoisseur Experience.

Our Connoisseur Experience started right on time and lasted approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. The Experience begins with some background on Guinness and a tasting of the standard Guinness. Our tour guide was very knowledgable and welcomed questions!  We then proceeded to taste four Guinness different beers (about 10 ounces each): regular Guinness, Guinness Extra Stout, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, and Guinness West Indies Porter. And then, some more regular Guinness!

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First sample – regular Guinness. My fave.

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Next up – 1/2 glass of Guinness Original Extra Stout.

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Third – 1/2 glass of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.

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Fourth – 1/2 Glass of Guinness West Indies Porter.

After our beers, everyone got to go behind the counter and learn to pour the perfect pint! This was really fun and everyone got a certificate for pouring the perfect pint (i.e. the same experience as the Guinness Academy)! Everyone was then again allowed to top off their Guinness before departure. We took our final Guinness to the Fifth Floor and drank it overlooking the escalator system!

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Guinness over looking the Storehouse.

The Fifth Floor Of The Storehouse – The Guinness Restaurants.

Speaking of the Fifth Floor, its home to two restaurants – The Brewer’s Dining Hall and Arthur’s Bar.  The Brewer’s Dining Hall is a cafeteria serving traditional Irish dishes and lots of Guinness, whereas Arthur’s Bar is designed more as a pub. No reservations are required (but there could be a small wait). These are good places for a casual lunch, to kill time, or to have another Guinness on the mothership!

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Lunching at the Guinness Storehouse circa 2012.

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Dan Eating at the Guinness Storehouse in 2008.

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Me in 2008.

The Sixth Floor Of The Storehouse – The Gravity Bar!

The Sixth Floor is home to the famous Gravity Bar! Gravity Bar is a circular bar with 360 degree views of Dublin! Gravity Bar is really cool and there are descriptions of various landmarks in Dublin so you can understand what you are viewing. With the exception of those partaking in the Guinness Academy, every visitor (yes, even those participating in the Connoisseur’s Experience) receive a complimentary pint of Guinness or soda in the Gravity Bar! Those participating in the Guinness Academy receive their pint there (you pour it). However, you can bring your pint from the Guinness Academy to the Gravity Bar.

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Entrance to the famous Gravity Bar!

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The Gravity Bar decorated for Christmas!

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Gravity Bar. November 2017!

The tour is over after the Gravity Bar, however you can go back down to the Floor Five restaurants and the Ground Floor gift shop!

STEAL THIS TRIP

Guinness Storehouse: 9:30 – 19h (open until 20h in July and August, last entrance 2 hours before closing). Tickets can be booked online in advance here.  Connoisseur’s Experience tickets should certainly be booked online in advance here. Note – if you book your ticket online be sure to take down the pin number, as you will need it to collect your tickets from the kiosk at the Guinness Storehouse (not required for Connoisseur’s Experience).

ON A BUDGET

Totally worth the cost in my experience. Get 5% off if you purchase tickets onine in advance.

 

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