My Goodness, My Guinness – A Guinness Brewery Tour – By Lee Salawich
In 2008, I had the very good fortune to briefly visit Dublin on the way to London and I thought I’d share my story here at The Brew Club! The backstory, I’ve been a huge fan of Squeeze since I first heard “Tempted” nearly 30 years ago, and so I’ve caught them in concert numerous times.
When they announced a one-off gig at the London Motor Show, I called a friend in London and we bought tickets the day they went on sale. At the time of the announcement, there were no plans for a U.S. tour and I thought this could be the only chance to see them that year. Not having been to the Emerald Isle, I decided to stop in Dublin en-route to London.
The Guiness Storehouse is the most popular tourist attraction in all of Ireland. I can understand why: part factory, part brewery, part museum, and home to the World’s Largest Pint Glass, the Storehouse captures the interest of many types of visitor, and The Gravity Bar has one of the best views in the country.
And also, a very cool, life affirming experience happened while I was there. I was wearing my very “Irish” O’Bama shirt (and an ever-present Steelers hat) and walking around the bar, enjoying the complimentary pint of Guiness included with admission, and admiring the view. A young man approached and said, “Go Obama! “Are you American?” I asked.
We chatted for a few minutes; he and his friends had graduated college in the spring and were backpacking around Europe before beginning graduate school in the fall. I spent a junior term abroad in London, and backpacked around Europe in 1984. We had a great conversation about politics, travel, etc., and I had an epiphany: they were young, idealistic college people traveling around Europe the way I was in 1984! Holy shit, it’s like me, a generation later. I know, I’m extending things a bit, but I was jetlagged, tired and feeling no pain from the Guiness.
So, I went to the London Motor Show and spent a good six hours there and had some funny conversations. One of Nissan’s new cars is a Pivo. I said to a Nissan rep, “Do you know what that word means in Slavik languages?” He said he didn’t, and I informed him, “It means beer. That just sends a bad message, like it’s okay to drink and drive. Doesn’t anyone google these things?” He make a comment like “you’ll be drunk loving the car.” Umm, I don’t think so … I was on a roll.
I said that, “in the US, Nissan has an SUV called the Armada. Whenever I see one, I think that Lord Nelson is going to sink it.” I didn’t go into Murano and explain what a “Marano” is, but I did tell him that the Chevy Nova means “doesn’t go” in Spanish.”
I drank several more Guinesses and Harps the two days I was in Ireland. It was great to visit with my friend, the concert was awesome, and later that night I had my first IPA. (Don’t remember which one, it was in a random pub in London, but it was on draught and wonderful.)