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The Guinness beer: what it is and its history

The Guinness beer: what it is and its history


The Wild Rover Irish pub sells one of the best pints of Guinness in Barcelona. Guinness is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. Guinness is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide originating in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin.

The hallmark flavour derives from roasted unmalted barley, although this is a relatively modern development. Indeed the full recipe still remains a closely guarded company secret adding to the myth. The draught beer’s thick, creamy head comes from mixing the beer with nitrogen when poured. It is popular with Irish people both in Ireland and abroad, and is still the best selling beer in Ireland.

The word “Stout” originally referred to a beer’s strength, but eventually shifted meaning toward body and colour.

Arthur Guinness started selling the dark beer porter in 1778. Throughout the bulk of its history, Guinness produced only three variations of a single beer type: porter or single stout, double or extra and foreign stout for export’. Porter was also referred to as “plain”, as referenced in the famous refrain of Flann O’Brien’s poem “The Workman’s Friend”:

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night –
A pint of plain is your only man.

When money’s tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt –
A pint of plain is your only man.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,
A pint of plain is your only man.

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare –
A pint of plain is your only man.

In time of trouble and lousey strife,
You have still got a darlint plan
You still can turn to a brighter life –
A pint of plain is your only man.

Guinness was well known for taking good care of its workers in Dublin. By 1900 the brewery was operating unparalleled welfare schemes for its 5,000 employees. Another interesting but not well known fact is Guinness’ protestant tradition. Before 1939, if a Guinness brewer wished to marry a Catholic, his resignation was requested. According to Thomas Molloy, writing in the Irish Independent, “It had no qualms about selling drink to Catholics but it did everything it could to avoid employing them until the 1960s.”


Guinness has also been referred to as “the black stuff” and has become popular around the world particularly among the African population. Indeed Guinness has one of their biggest factories in Nigeria. It has been mentioned in many songs one of the most famous references found in the Christy Moore song “Delirium Tremens” inspired in the Guinness advert from the 1980’s:

Goodbye to the Port and Brandy, to the Vodka and the Stag,
To the Schmiddick and the Harpic, the bottled draught and keg.
As I sat lookin’ up the Guinness ad I could never figure out
How your man stayed up on the surfboard after 14 pints of stout.

Guinness has been known for its award winning advertisement campaigns throughout the years and sponsors one of the most famous Jazz festivals in the World: the Cork Jazz festival, which as been running for more than 35 years.

Would you like to taste our Guinness beer? Come to The Wild Rovert Barcelona and give it a try!

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