Pork rib tips – Big E Ales

Pork rib tips - Big E Ales
1 pound bite size end cuts of pork ribs served with side of bbq sauce. $8.99
Big E Ales, Lynnwood WA

Hmm, these were really tough and dry. I guess I appreciated that they were on the lean side, but that also meant they lacked flavor and moisture. Not my favorite.

Seasoned chicken breast bites – Big E Ales

Seasoned chicken breast bites - Big E Ales
Boneless cuts of tender chicken breast with homestyle breading. Served with ranch dressing. $7.59
Big E Ales, Lynnwood WA

These weren’t all that special and they were actually kinda hard and dry. The breading tasted good though and definitely tasted better with dipped in the ranch. I’m not sure I could differentiate these from frozen.

Muscles from Brussels BPA – Urban Family Public House

Muscles from Brussels - Urban Family Public House

A pale ale in the Belgian tradition. Clean grainy malt character provides crispness to a soft, delicately fruity yeast with earthy, spicy hops in the finish. Notes of pear, hay and earth. 16 ounces $5
Urban Family Public House, Seattle WA

This was a tasty local brew by Urban Family. I enjoy Belgian style beers because they tend to be lighter and easier to drink for me. The Muscles from Brussels went down smoothly but still had a lot of flavor and personality.

Fountain of the Northwest

Fountain of the Northwest, by James FitzGerald, Intiman Theater at Seattle Center.

Artisan ales – Reuben’s Brews

Artisan ales - Reuben's Brews

American rye. A clean, crisp and refreshing rye based brew. Light in color and hazy, this brew has an aroma of citrus and tangerine compliment a smooth body and a crisp finish. $5
Wheat IPA. $5
Reuben’s Brews, Seattle WA

This was a randomly located brewery where we met my brother for drinks towards the end of our Seattle visit. The atmosphere was young and fun and the beer was delicious!

Reuben's Brews branded coaster

Reuben’s Brews branded coaster.

Cedar totem pole
Cedar totem pole, Victor Steinbrueck Park.

Assorted beers – Two Beers Brewing

Churchkey Pilsner - Two Beers Brewery

Churchkey Pilsner. Pint $4
Two Beers Brewing, Seattle WA

My brother drove to this brewing right after picking me up from the airport, lol! I’d never been to it before, but it was really cool. It’s kind of hidden down in the industrial area. The beers were really tasty and the bartender was really cool and cute to boot, hehe.

Evolutionary IPA - Two Beers Brewery

Evolutionary IPA. Pint $4

Crooked Belgian Wit - Two Beers Brewery

Crooked Belgian Wit. Schooner $3
Hints of coriander and citrus peel.

Persnickety Pale - Two Beers Brewing

Persnickety Pale. Schooner $3

The Old Jameson Distillery – An hour I can never get back!

Whiskey bottle chandelier - The Old Jameson Distillery

Jameson Irish whiskey bottle chandelier in the lobby. Be prepared to be stuck in the lobby with a horde of other tourists waiting your turn to enter tourism gloom!
The Old Jameson Distillery, Dublin IRELAND

I thought it only fair that since I posted about my visit to the Guinness Storehouse, I should also post about my visit (imprisonment?) to The Old Jameson Distillery. I’m glad that we hit them on consecutive days because it gave me clear perspective on what makes a great tour! And then there’s Jameson…

Tour sign - The Old Jameson Distillery

Tour sign as you approach the distillery. If you’re on this street and see this sign, I suggest you turn around and walk away. Don’t waste your money. No, fo’ real!

The mark of a great tour experience is coming out of it happy and having learned something. I did NOT come out of the Jameson tour feeling happy in the least, and all I learned was that the Jameson Company has perfected the art of shoving propagada down your throat!

The tour at The Old Jameson Distillery is guided and you’re placed into a large group with a tour guide. You’re first made to watch a video reenactment which turns out to be just a long, blatant Jameson commercial! Then the walking portion begins through the cheesy displays in cramped rooms. I’m sure that our group size far exceeded the occupancy limit in the TINY display rooms they paraded us through, and it made it difficult to hear the droning rehearsed script complete with tired jokes that the bored tour guide recites. Don’t be the last person into the next room or you’ll be pressed against the back wall and unable to hear or see anything!

Miniature display with man and barley - The Old Jameson Distillery

An example of the cheesy miniatures! The rooms are SO small that I understand why they had to miniaturize the displays. I just wish they would have done a better job. This guys is totally misproportioned! The rooms are also VERY dark.

Mash tun, mashing process - The Old Jameson Distillery
Yet another miniaturized display, this time of the mashing process in a mash tun! The amount of time you spend in each room seems to be timed so don’t dilly-dally! It’s pretty much limited to the time your guide can regurgitate the script so there’s NO additional time to look around at the displays (which is probably a good thing). They also close the door from the previous room so don’t get separated from your cell mates!

Wooden washback for fermentation - The Old Jameson Distillery
Wooden washback where fermentation happens! Don’t think I actually learned this information on the tour, I’m having to look up the distilling process on the internet so I can write this post. Here are some things that I DID learn on the tour (probably not accurately): the distillery is full of drunken angels, it’s pronounced JAM-eson, you don’t want to be late to work or you’ll end up looking like a tattered angel, Mr. Jameson is very elusive, and stuffed cats are SCARY!

Feints Still, distilling process - The Old Jameson Distillery
Feints Still, Jameson whiskey is triple-distilled y’all! You can thank the drunken angels when you see this room because the torture is ALMOST over! But not before they squeeze you in yet another cramped room where they have one last chance to sell you an over-priced, limited edition! Wow! Then there’s the final video with a SPECIAL surprise at the end. Um, it’s not REALLY a surprise when you can see through the glass and see the tasting room on the other side.

I was so pissed and annoyed after the tour that I couldn’t even enjoy the tasting. And don’t think that it’s a fun, relaxing, take-your-time kind of tasting. Oh no, Jameson somehow finds a way to ruin the tasting portion too! You’re forced to sit in a specified area where you have to continue listening to your guide as they try to convince you that Jameson is the best whiskey in the world.

I’d have to say that I wouldn’t recommend The Old Jameson Distillery tour…

Pouring the perfect pint – A trip to the Guinness Storehouse

Guinness pints
Our pints of Guinness at various stages of pouring. Mine is the second from the right, a beautiful sight! Lol. Sláinte!

Discounted entrance which included a pint of Guinness €14.50
Guinness Storehouse, Dublin IRELAND

The Guinness Storehouse is purported to be Ireland’s number one visitor attraction, and somehow I believe it. To jumpstart our first full day in Dublin and kick off my friend Kryan’s pre-birthday celebration, we took public transit to this brewery/museum/beer haven! It’s housed in an old historic brick building, but the interior is quite clean, beautiful and spacious.

9000 year Guinness lease
The central atrium is actually the world’s largest pint glass! Well, shaped like one anyway. If it were filled with Guinness, the seven story tall atrium would hold 14.3 million pints! At the bottom of the atrium, displayed beneath glass, is the 9000 year lease that founder Arthur Guinness signed in 1759 on the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin.

Harvesting barley
The self-guided tour takes you through multimedia displays that explain the brewing process used to make Guinness stout. This projected video shows the harvesting of barley, one of the four natural ingredients used in brewing.

Guinness experience waterfall
A long sheet of water cascades through the middle of one room. The displays are both interesting and interactive.

Chronology of Guinness
Chronology of Guinness. Among the artifacts used in the brewery process are displays like this one which recount the historical events that shaped this global brand.

Brewing tank copper lid from 1936

Copper lid from 1936 which was probably from one of their many brewing tanks.

Old copper brewing tanks
Old copper brewing tanks/vats. Weave in and out among these large tanks, some of which have been converted to video viewing rooms.

The Guinness Academy pouring station
The Guinness Academy pouring station on the 4th floor. We decided to redeem our free pints while learning how to pour the Perfect Pint. This bar/classroom was really cool! They had 4 or 5 of these stations where groups would learn the craft of pouring pints from a Guinness Ambassador (yeah, kinda cheesy but we’re on vacay, ya’ll).

Kryan volunteers to pour
Of course my friend Kryan volunteered to help demonstrate how to pour the Perfect Pint. Well I guess he was the pre-birthday boy! I was a little disappointed that our Ambassador was from Michigan, what!? I would have preferred a native Irishman so I could listen to his cute accent but Michigan-guy was actually really nice and super informative. Some things I learned (which Kryan knew btw): Guinness is a ruby red color, pouring Guinness is a two-step process with waiting involved, aim for the harp when pouring the first round, it matters whether you pull or push the beer tap handle, etc.

David pours Guinness
My other friend David takes his turn to pour with guidance from our Michigan Ambassador.

After pouring our Perfect Pints, we grabbed a table and happily consumed all 198 calories each, lol! We even got cute certificates declaring us pouring experts.

Gravity Bar views
Gravity Bar sits at the top floor of the Guinness Storehouse and offers 360 degree views of Dublin! It’s a fun relaxed space where seating can become scarce, but everyone seems a little jollier with their pints in front of them.

Kryan and his Guinness pint

Kryan recounts his hour of glory as the Guinness Ambassador’s assistant. Sláinte, männliche schlampe! Love you, mean it!

David, Kryan, and Tristen
My travel buddies David, Kryan, and Tristen!

Rainy Dublin
Even the rain couldn’t put a damper on our Irish adventure!

Susan Boyle sighting

And our Guinness Storehouse Experience was topped off with a Susan Boyle sighting, OMG! This lady is tiny! We saw her walk by our table and we had just decided to follow her and ask for a quick photo when a group of feral students mobbed her, ruuude! That’s ok because the following day good ‘ole Suze followed us onto our Dublin Bus Tour. What a stalker, right!?