Go Ahead, Be a Snob!
Snobbery isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s justified. In life, the genesis of wisdom comes from, and evolves, through experience. The perpetually inexperienced, or unadventurous, may never gain wisdom. That’s fine—not everyone can be Plato.
But anyone can learn about good beer.
Young people the world over drink bad beer. Cost and inexperience often lead college kids astray. They traverse a road littered with pale, watery ales and brews. The cheap stuff serves the (sometimes) ignoble purpose of inebriation. It’s a common stepping stone—a bridge—meant to be crossed.
Because with experience comes the ability to discern good from evil.
Dublin, Ireland, is home to (arguably) the world’s finest beer: Guinness. A recent excursion to Dublin led me to the front door of the Guinness Storehouse, where Arthur Guinness’s legacy thrives. Let me tell you—this isn’t just a factory—it’s an interactive combination of hands-on and virtual touring that activates all the senses and gives you a first rate introduction to the beer’s history and brewing.
Arthur started making his beer in the middle of the 18th century, over 250 years ago. Early on, he finagled a 9,000-year lease on a factory, some property, and water rights. The price was more than right, and is a key factor in the sustained success of Guinness. If more than 10,000,000 glasses of Guinness being served annually is any indicator, the world is a happier place as a result.
I learned from a virtual display that, in the old days, the Guinness factory was revolutionary in its humane treatment of employees. Sick workers need not be concerned that they would lose their job—and medical care was provided. Widows were taken care of by the Guinness family. It’s rumored that local daughters were often told, “Marry yourself a Guinness man,” by their mothers.
In addition to the history, there are a host of activities designed to let you fully embrace the beer.
Your olfactory senses and taste buds will pack their bags and go on a pleasant journey. Move between “scent stations” and dip your head down into the smoke being released in different spots around the modern room. Smell the different ingredients of Guinness in raw form. Close your eyes and enjoy. Complete the experience with a sample—wonderful.
After that, satisfy your tactile cravings on level four of the Storehouse, where you are taught how to pour the perfect glass of Guinness for maximum flavor. Learn where to put the tap, and what angle to hold it. Let it settle—then top it off.
Once you’ve graduated, and poured your beer, hop on the elevator and make your way to the top floor, the Gravity Bar. Find a seat, sip your pint, and enjoy a great view of Dublin.
It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that can’t be beaten. If you haven’t crossed that bridge already, the view, the sounds, the smells, and the tastes, will change you forever. Perhaps you’ll find you have become a beer snob, the Plato of good beers, chock full of beer wisdom.
And that’s just fine.