Guinness is considered one of the pinnacles of beer for many of the beverage’s most adoring fans. A trip to the Dublin facilities is seen as sort of a pilgrimage. While Dublin is still the home of the popular brew, Americans don’t have to trek that far anymore to get an authentic Guinness experience.
Last August, the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House opened just outside of Baltimore, only the second Guinness facility that creates experimental beers, and the first Guinness brewery in the U.S. since 1954. Of course, the Dublin staples are all on tap—most notably the popular Guinness Draught—but so are some brewed right in Maryland, including the Guinness Blonde, Guinness IPA, Guinness Milk Stout and Guinness White Ale (all on tap year-round). Other experimental beers will rotate throughout the year, but some available recently included the North-German Pilsner, Coffee Stout and, in collaboration with Sierra Nevada, the Resilience IPA, which supported the Camp Fire Relief Fund.
“There’s kind of a running joke among those of us that work here that [Guinness] spent $90 million to remind people that they’re a brewery and not just one beer,” says Ryan Wagner, a Guinness Brewery ambassador.
Free guided tours of the brewery can be reserved online, with an option to include a tasting for $15. Most of the brewery is accessible for guests without a tour, but the guides provide Guinness and site history (the brewery is at the location of Maryland’s first legal distillery after Prohibition) as well as access to the brewery area.
The brewery has some St. Patrick’s Day plans as well, with events that will occur throughout the month, including some special beer releases and a live chat with the Dublin facility.
Wagner highly recommends an in-person trip to the Dublin facility, should you ever get the chance, “but it’s all about the beer here,” he says. “You can go there and learn everything that there is to know about the 260 years of Guinness history, and then you can come here and learn what Guinness is doing for the next 260 years.” // Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House: 5001 Washington Blvd., Halethorpe, Maryland