Beer Cities: Dublin

Dublin city guide

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Beer has been brewed on the island of Ireland for thousands of years. Originally in pits called a Fulacht Fiadh, like the Burnt Mound in Great Britain, beer has been a staple in Irish culture just like it has been throughout most of Europe. When one talks about Dublin as a beer destination anywhere in the world, there is no escaping what beer is on everyone’s mind. The Guinness brewery, located in the centre of Dublin, has not only shaped the geography of the city, it has provided Dublin with a beer culture that’s unrivalled anywhere in the world. Just mention the word stout and you immediately think of Dublin which is quite a feat considering stout was originally the provenance of Dublin’s proverbial big brother: London.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like stout because if you want to know where the best traditional pubs in Dublin are, just follow the Guinness drinkers. The pubs that are traditionally known to serve the best Guinness are also the ones that tend to have the best atmosphere and the most craic. Conveniently, these days you will usually find some local craft beer in most Dublin pubs, even if it’s just a token tap and a few bottles or cans. If we take Brogans, which is next to the iconic Olympia theatre, you will get a fine pint of Guinness but walk down the steps to the Underdog Bar and you will find a tiny basement packed with the best craft beer in Ireland and abroad. Other well known traditional pubs are Mulligan’s of Poolbeg street, The Long Hall, Kehoes, The Palace, Grogans, The Stag’s Head and O’Neill’s. All of them serve independent Irish beer with O’Neill’s in particular boasting as big a range as many dedicated craft beer bars.

Dublin has more breweries than Guinness, though many are not accessible to the public, however right in the heart of Dublin by O’Connell Bridge is J.W Sweetman’s, a large multi-level pub with a brewery on-site. The copper kettles are visible through the window from the street. Follow the south side of the Liffey all the way to the east and you will find a massive Brewdog Outpost with onsite brewery. I recommend using a public bike to get there.

The Porterhouse brewery started as a brewpub in the late 90s in Temple Bar before moving production to the western suburbs, but you will find the two main Porterhouse bars in the city centre as well as Porterhouse beer available throughout the city and be sure to pop in to the Dingle Whiskey bar next to Porterhouse Central. If you are coming for craft beer, you really need to get around the numerous Galway Bay Brewery bars like Against the Grain, The Black Sheep, Paddle & Peel as well as Brewdock. A 20-minute walk from the centre of Dublin will bring you to 57 The Headline on Clanbrassil Street which serves some of the best independent Irish beers in the city along with some fantastic food. Geoff and Maire have been at the forefront of the Irish craft beer scene before there even was one. There are a couple of distilleries along the way worth visiting too. 

If you can get out of the city centre, a 20-minute tram journey will bring you to the Rascals Brewery which has a taproom and pizza restaurant, there’s even a distillery next door so you can combine the two. A couple of other breweries can also be visited such as Hope Beer just off the Howth Junction DART stop and Porterhouse brewery itself by the Broombridge LUAS stop, the same line as Rascals so you could go from one to the other, however at the time of writing this, Porterhouse has not officially started brewery tours yet since opening the new brewery. 

There are far too many excellent pubs in Dublin to mention so happy exploring and be sure to combine your beer visits with distillery/whiskey visits since they are conveniently close to each other.


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