Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Best Guinness in the World

I just spent the last few days in Dublin. A highlight was getting to visit the fantastic Irish pubs featuring bars lined with Guinness pumps. I had been reliably informed by my Irish friend Dave that one such classic pub that does some of the best Guinness in Dublin is The Ferryman (35 Sir John Rogerson Quay, Dublin, map). So there we headed.
Guinness in The Ferryman, Dublin
At some point during my stay a taxi driver told me, 'Guinness doesn't travel'. Tasting the velvety stout in Ireland, I'm inclined to agree. Though I'm never really able to fully divorce the stimulus of taste totally isolated from all the other senses that create your experience so judging whether Guinness is better in Dublin than elsewhere is tough. I might well be swayed by the knowledge that I was drinking it in its home town but it may well be the best.

Though strangely the best single pint of Guinness I have ever tasted was my first... and it was in Rome...

I was 16 and on a school trip. It helped that it was an Irish pub - which was still standing when I paid it another visit a few years ago for old time's sake. The pub's on the cut from the main road to the stunning Trevi Fountain, arguably the most beautiful fountain in Rome. This recent return pilgrimage to the Eternal City was a sight seeing trip but a Guinness pit stop did not go amiss.

So back when I was 16, in Rome for the first time, head reeling from the overwhelming romance of the place, it is clear that any decisions would not be based on taste alone and would be influenced by all the other factors. At age 16 any beer was going to be great: a mixture of novelty and exhilaration. The final factor was that the barmaids were incredibly good looking, Italian, and, yes, I'll repeat, we were 16 so the fact that they were talking to us (we still had a lot to learn about the hospitality industry) made us feel like men and the Guinness taste sweeter.

To Dublin, the craic and Italian beauty in all forms. And of course to Guinness, which travels just fine in my humble opinion.

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