Irish take beer drinking very seriously, and enjoy several pints daily in their many pubs.
Arthur Guiness, who in 1759 started as a small independent Dublin brewer, contributed greatly to popularize beer, but particularly stout. It is a dark beer fashioned after “porter” that was popular with porters of the Covent Garden produce- and Billings Gate fish markets of London. Porters are brewed from heavily roasted barley. Guiness used highly roasted barley and mixed old and new brews to achieve texture-uniqueness. While Guiness stout is dark, almost impenetrable, it has a light texture. In fact, stout and oysters go well together.
Guiness dominated the Irish beer market for centuries and still does to large extent. Interestingly enough, Irish were originally whiskey drinkers (potein). Eventually, with a lot of marketing effort, Guiness converted many of them to appreciating beer- his beer – stout.
Only the city of Cork, the home of Beamish and Crawford and Murphy’s have been able to block Guiness’ total dominance of the Irish market.
At one time A. Guiness bought out some of his competitors, others went bankrupt for a variety of reasons, but Beamish and Murphy’s still exist albeit foreign interests own both. Beamish is owned by Scottish and New Castle, and Murphy’s by Heineken, the Dutch brewing conglomerate. Guiness is part of Diageo one of the largest beverage alcohol production and distribution companies of the world.
Today, Ireland’s young consumers favour lagers although the old still enjoy their stout.
Of late, Ireland started to become fertile ground for small, quality-oriented niche breweries. There are now more small brewries and brewpubs in the country than ever before.
Some are listed below for those planning to travel to Ireland and wish to experience the stout and the atmosphere in their pubs:
Acton’s Country Pub ad Microbrewery www.brooklodge.com
Balbiggan Brewing Co. 353 8437 512
Biddy Early Brewery www.beb.ie
Carlow Brewing Co. www carlowbrewing.com
Celtic Brewing Co 353 405 41558
Dublin Brewing Co www.dublinbrewing.com
Emerald Brewing 353 903 25737
Franciscan Well Brewery 353 212 10130
Hilden Brewery 353 289266 3863
Irish Brewing Co 3532 45435540
Kinsale Brewery www.kinsalebrewing.com
Messrs Maguire 353 1670 5777
Porterhouse Brewing Co porterhousebrewco.com
Strongford Lough Brewing Co www.slbc.ie
Ulster Brewery (Heineken) 353 2890301301
Whitewater Brewing Co whitewaterbrewing.co.uk