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Traveling to Ireland. Don't like beer. Don't like whiskey.

As noted above, I do not care for either. What other pub drinks are common? Do they have much in the way of wine or other local spirits?

Posted by
9363 posts

Try a cider, like Bulmer's. You'll find it everywhere. Pubs also have tea, soft drinks, and such.

Posted by
441 posts

I always ordered a soft drink and they always had it. I don't drink alcohol but enjoyed watching a guiness being poured.

Posted by
12040 posts

Any decent restaurant or pub that serves food will have at least some wine.

Posted by
8894 posts

I don't like beer or whiskey either. I drank wine.

Posted by
8894 posts

Yes, I'm sure you can get water and soda. The OP was specifically asking about wine or other local spirits.

Posted by
800 posts

But I would encourage you to try a drink of Guinness. Though I DO like beer, I don't like Stout, or so I thought until I went to Ireland. I had what I thought would be my only glass of Guinness, just to say I had had one in Ireland, on my first night in Dublin. I proceeded to drink nothing but Guinness the rest of the trip. But others who we traveled with had no problem getting good wine as well.

Posted by
588 posts

I don't drink beer but I tried a
Guinness and it was delicious. However, I'm a big cider fan and Bulmer's pear cider is great. If ou haven't tried Irish whiskey, you might want to try in a cup of coffee or a hot toddie. Delicious!

Posted by
333 posts

Pubs aren't like typical American bars. Barkeeps don't mix drinks like a mojito or a martini for you. Instead, they will give you a shot of whatever type of alcohol you want (rum, vodka, gin) and then give you a separate small bottle or can of your choice as a mixer. There's also plenty of wines available. The bigger cities will have American-type mixer bars if you really want a mix drink.

Irish Ciders are very good. Bulmers in the free state and Magners in the North are from the same company located in Co Tipperary, just different naming rights. There is a Bulmers Cider in NI as well but I don't like it as much the co Tipperary cider. There are plenty of alcopop type drinks (like Bacardi Breezers) as well.

You may want to try a glass (about 8 oz) of Guinness or Smithwicks even if you are not a beer fan. They are very good and you maybe pleasantly surprised.

Posted by
977 posts

Try a small Guiness with a dash of black currant juice. Great introduction to the lovely black stuff!!

Posted by
655 posts

I too would suggest that you try a Guinness but, whatever you do, don't let it keep you from the pubs. You would be missing part of the Irish experience.

Posted by
11978 posts

You can go with cider. Good wines are available but seem to be expensive.

You should at least try a Guiness in Ireland. I couldn't stand Guiness when I tried it at home. Before visiting Ireland, everyone I talked to said I had to try it in Ireland. It really is fantastic, like drinking a cream soda.

Posted by
43 posts

Also Jameson whiskey isn't anything like JD or JW or most other whisky commonly found in the states.
Took the tour last week and was one of the selected volunteers for their comparison tasting. I didn't expect such a large difference between them. And it is great with cranberry juice.

I also agree that the black currant adds a unique twist to Guiness as well. And it is different in Ireland than here, much smoother.

Posted by
10344 posts

I ask you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury: On what other travel forum do you get a discriminating discussion of the finer points of Irish whiskey?

Posted by
1678 posts

Kent, well put.

I wish they sold Bulmers cider in my neck of the woods (they don't) because it's delish! I don't like beer either and actually enjoyed a pint or two of the dark stuff in Ireland. I also don't like whiskey and I also enjoyed several good ones (Bushmills in the north, the older the better). Try anything once, you'll discover what you like and don't like.

Posted by
333 posts

CL...

Bulmers is sold under the Magners name in the US. It is available at BevMo. You can get it on tap in some bars here in California

Posted by
1035 posts

...or try some Paddy Whiskey.

I always have some in the house. It is hard to find in the USA, so bring some home if you like it.

From Wikipedia:

"Paddy whiskey is distilled three times and matured in oak casks for up to seven years. Paddy has a high malt content in its blend in comparison to other Irish whiskeys, this ensures that Paddy is 'One of the softest of all Ireland's whiskeys' (Jim Murray, International Whiskey Connoisseur)."

Posted by
95 posts

I am like Buffy, in that I don't care for the taste of beer or whisky. I'm fascinated though, by the comments about Guinness. Apparently Guinness in the US is nothing like Guiness in Ireland. I get that. But if one was to get Guiness in England or Scotland, would it resemble Irish Guinness or US Guiness?

Posted by
1035 posts

.... or if you are really lucky, you will meet a local willing to share (not in a pub though) some Poteen. Now that is the definition of hard liquor.

There is a legal version of it available for sale, but that takes all the fun away.

Posted by
977 posts

Michael not too sure about your advice re poteen. I was told by a local on my first trip to Ireland to be very careful about the local brew. It can literally be lethal.

Posted by
319 posts

Diane,

I don't think that the Guinness is actually different in Ireland; I think that it just doesn't travel well. So the Guinness in England or Scotland would probably (can't remember if I've ever had a Guinness in England) be better than in the US but not quite as good as in Ireland.

Wherever you find yourself, give a Guinness a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Posted by
495 posts

@Heather, yes the cider is alcoholic. The mass market stuff recommended above is beer strength, about 5% ABV. If you find somewhere that has some small batch local stuff then the strength could range from quite weak (3%-ish) up to wine strength (12%-ish.)

With regards to Guinness in England etc. tasting better, the answer is 'sort of.' As mentioned to problem with Guinness is that it doesn't travel well, English Guinness used to be brewed locally but about 10 years ago in the name of authenticity (and probably cost cutting,) they started importing from Dublin. So now our new, more authentic Guinness actually tastes worse. As a comparison I've only had one Guinness in the US and I wasn't impressed. If that was typical or just a bad pint I don't know, I get the feeling that the US, having a ice cold lager culture, doesn't do ales and stouts well judging by some of the British beers I've tasted there. I'd guess most US Guinness is locally brewed though but I don't know.

Posted by
43 posts

My wife used to say she doesn't like beer. Then she met me. I'm a 'home brewer' and one of the generalities in most recipe books is that "it isn't that you don't like beer, it is that you haven't a beer you like yet." Both of us now really enjoy going to brew pubs and trying the local brews, they usually aren't anything like Bud or Miller. Yes, there are some we don't like, but just as many that we really enjoy. And she also doesn't like many of the ones I do, and I don't like some that she does.

I would have told you I don't like whiskey, even mixed. But we now have a bottle of Jameson. I was barely able to down the Jack and JW samples during the testing, but the Jameson was alright.

Posted by
9110 posts

'the US, having a ice cold lager culture, doesn't do ales and stouts well' is the all-time, polite, stereotypical, british understatement and the reason I spend so much of my allowance trotting back and forth to the UK.

Posted by
495 posts

@Ed: I don't think it was necessarily an understatement but I hope no-one took it as criticism, some things are just local specialities. In fact the inverse is also true, lager only became popular in the British Isles in the '60s after the first package holiday boom with local copies of continental brews. And for that reason we don't do it particularly well and I can't think of any nice British or Irish lager, neither country has the brewing tradition (if someone mentions Harp then I think my point is proved!)

Posted by
9110 posts

Peter, my point was that a lesser person than you would have just said that american beer stinks and be done with it.

People need to face facts. You guys have beer making figured out, we don't.

Posted by
495 posts

Without turning this into an argument about who has the worst beer I disagree.

Over here we have no tradition of brewing lagers, the type of beer served cold and popular in the US and the continent therefore the stuff we produce, Harp, Carling etc. is not very good. I really think even the mass-market American beers are better than these (even Bud!) Plus from my travels the US seems to have a thriving, if very pretentious, 'micro brew' culture which produces some top notch stuff that's on a par with the best European beers.

I will concede that American mass-market beer pales against most of the mass-market stuff from the continent, not just the 'biggies', Czech, Belgium etc. but even places like Italy.

Also I truly think Britain leads the world in ales and bitters (with Ireland earning a mention) as nowhere else in the world seems to have these as part of their brewing culture. But as far as lager goes you have us beat.

Posted by
333 posts

Guinness that is imported into North America and UK comes direct from the St James Gate Dublin Brewery. It's all of the Guinness Draught variety although they just did a special release of the 250 Year Anniversary Stout in North America.

There is a brewery in Africa that supplies a lot of other places and has some different types.

Yes. It does taste better in Ireland. I think it has a few different factors.

  1. It doesn't travel well and it seems to age rapidly.

  2. Despite all the widgets, etc it still gets a slight metallic taste. Don't let the cans sit around for a long time and it seems like cans bought near St Pat's and after taste better. (I wonder why :)

  3. Guinness has a really elaborate tap delivery system in Ireland that is constantly checked and maintained by Guinness themselves. Lines are flushed monthly

  4. Depending on the US location, you might be drinking a Guinness that has been stuck in a tapped keg for a week. I can really tell the difference between a freshly tapped keg and one that has sat around for a few days.

  5. The best Guinness I ever tasted was at the Gravity Bar at St James' Gate. Worth every penny to take the tour

Posted by
47 posts

Actually Ed -- I disagree with you. I think parts of the United States have beer brewing figured out, but not all of the country does. (I'm from the Northwest--throw a stone and you'll hit a brewpub or coffee shop that most likely roasts their own beans). But then, part of the country understands barbeque, and parts of the country are definitely not on that bandwagon.

I don't think any beer travels that well, hence the reason Guinness isn't as good in the United States. I'd say the same thing about Belgian beers--the ones I had in Belgian were so much better than the exact same imported beers for sale in the USA. But some of the locally brewed beers in the Belgian style could rival the Belgian originals. But then buying a good Oregon or Washington beer in a different state can be replicate the 'Guinness' experience--I had what should be a decent Full Sail Ale in Texas and it was quite possibly the skunkiest beer I've ever tasted in my life.

Posted by
993 posts

A little off the subject: Is Guinness a beer? I thought it was food group. Actually it is neither. It was advertised as a Very Stout Porter. I guess that's why so many think its a Stout. Cider is a good choice..stay away from Strongbow..it contains nothing natural. Bulmers IS good. You could also try a shandy. Tyson..what the what... Guinness that's sat in the keg for several days?? That's just wrong. Remember in the Republic to ask for a "half and half" and "black and tan" in the North.

Posted by
1525 posts

So what if you don't drink alcohol?

Are you supposed to stay home?

I get the attraction of flavor. But lots of consumables have nuances of flavor and don't get this kind of worship. So it can't really be about taste, is it.....

Posted by
495 posts

Randy, I think you missed the very first response to this question where Nancy said they have soft drinks and tea. She did forget to mention coffee, if one is being picky.

If you don't like alcoholic drinks you have the same options that you would at home except the tea will be drinkable and the choice of pop will be more limited.

Posted by
1357 posts

As far as how to categorize Guinness, we called it "liquid bread" while over there, mostly to justify our daily 4:00 pint ritual.

There are great beers in the US, but not in the mass-produced-can variety. But I was shocked when talking to military wives who had been stationed in the UK complaining about not being able to find good beer over there, nothing like Budweiser. I couldn't even respond to that, it just shut my brain down for a minute.

Posted by
495 posts

Also makes you wonder where in the UK they were based... we don't just have beers like Budweiser we have Budweiser*! (And to a lesser extent Coors and Miller.)

Seriously it's one of the most common beers over here, less popular on draught but I can't think of last time I saw a pub that didn't have bottles in the fridge (it's Mrs Pete's tipple of choice) and any supermarket or off-licence will have stacks of the stuff.

*Talking about the AB Budweiser here, the 'real' Budweiser is also available but no-where near as widely.

Posted by
11978 posts

Peter,

There actually are good beers in the US. They just don't happen to be the Bud, Coors or Miller varieties.

I lived in the Northwest for 20 years. Microbreweries there produce some very respectable beers, ales and stouts. It's not unusual to find bars that specialize in beer (not really pubs) pulling room temperature locally made beer in the traditional manner.

The wave of microbreweries has taken off in other parts of the country as well. The big companies countered with new brands designed to imitate the micros (but are in fact more like their other products).

Buffy,

Most of the hops in the world are grown in Yakima (I think it was 75%, according to a friend who grew hops there). If/when you taste a Guiness, you're tasting hops grown in Washington by your local farmers.

Posted by
108 posts

I don't like beer or whiskey either but Irish pubs do offer many other drinks, and you can always ask for water! you'll also find soft drinks, fruit juices and cider. Their cider is good!

Posted by
495 posts

@Brad: I know! If you read back I think you'll find that's been my point all along.

Posted by
47 posts

"But I was shocked when talking to military wives who had been stationed in the UK complaining about not being able to find good beer over there, nothing like Budweiser."

Here's something along the same lines: a few years ago, my husband's company opened a plant in Ireland, and various people were sent out for 7-9 month assignments to get everything running . . . and coworker came back early because his wife couldn't handle not living by a Walmart.

Posted by
333 posts

She could of drove to the North and went to ASDA for her WalMart fix :)