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Guinness Storehouse at Bentleys
An admission – I’m really not a big fan of beer. It could be an element of self-preservation – I enjoy wine and most spirits and I suspect I over-indulge a little. So, having one type of booze that I avoid might just be a good thing. I do like oysters though – and I haven’t been to Bentleys for a long time. So, when I was invited to an evening of food and Guinness pairings with the promise of oysters on the menu, I accepted happily.
The exception to my on-paper dislike of beer is when Guinness comes in the form of a black velvet – mixed with champagne. That was my ultimate drink at Uni over 30 years ago and I do still enjoy it. So, being greeted with a black velvet was the perfect start to the evening for me. I learnt, surprisingly, that it is actually 2 parts Guinness to one part champagne – though to me it tastes more like the latter. Wishful thinking perhaps?
On to the oysters, which were served three ways – as they came, with just a splash of lemon, with a classic shallot vinaigrette and with a spicy Asian dressing. Paired with straight draught Guinness, it was a fine way to start things off, along with delicious pigs in blankets
Our food was all prepared and cooked for us by the chef from the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, while some of the team were on hand to explain a little about each pairing.
Since I’ve never been to the Guinness Storehouse, it was quite an insight for me. All the food was delicious – and I discovered that the Storehouse actually has three cafes and restaurants where you can try the same sort of food and Guinness pairings we experienced.
Chargrilled chicken tarragon had a nice earthy note, perhaps the shallot dressed wicklow field mushrooms or perhaps the char. The dish worked well with Guinness’s first foray into lighter beers – Hop house 13 Lager
By this stage, I’d developed something of a taste for Guinness. But, I couldn’t quite bring myself to like the Guinness Foreign Extra that we were served next. A bottled beer designed for export, it is stronger than normal draught Guinness and just a bit too bitter for me. I happily munched my way though the pork faggots with kale and Guinness braised onions though, and I do appreciate the pairing. The alternate bottle of Special Export worked rather better for me with both the pork faggots and the slow cooked beef daube.
While we were eating and drinking, a few intrepid bar warriors were learning how to pull the perfect pint of Guinness. Apparently, the markings on a classic glass are a great guide. You need to tilt the glass at an angle and the way to check is to line the nozzle up with the top of the golden harp. And, you don’t fill the glass all the way. Once you reach the letters, you stop, put the glass down and let the beer settle and form a head.
Finally, the evening was rounded off with a delicious Guinness, chocolate and hazelnut mousse, paired with classic Guinness Original
So now, with a longing for more Guinness, chocolate and hazelnut mousse and even a bit of a taste for Guinness itself, I’m going to put the Storehouse firmly on my list of things to do when I visit Dublin next.
St James’s Gate,
Dublin 8, Ireland