Friday, February 15, 2013

ROC: The Auld Dubliner - A Properly Poured Pint of Guinness and Irish Fayre Available in Sunny Orange County

To some, they might ask "what's the big deal about 'properly' pouring beer into a pint glass?" Chances are those people don't exactly have a huge appreciation for beer and might tell you in a condescending, Valley girl sort of way that beer is gross. However, The Auld Dubliner, an Irish pub in Tustin, CA at The District shopping center is no place for people like them. The bartenders at The Auld Dubliner properly pour a pint of Guinness as if it was a divine nectar from the heavens. The Yardhouse, although awesome for having 200+ beers on tap and a chain that I actually admire, doesn't come close to how people pour pints at the Auld Dubliner. For those that started out drinking at pubs such as the UCI pub including myself, the Auld Dubliner is on a whole other level with much better food serving traditional Irish fare, properly poured pints along with a great whiskey selection, and a more mature crowd. In addition to the food and godly libations, the bartenders and waitstaff are very friendly and hospitable.


Although they have other amazing beers, ales, and even Magners Irish Cider on tap,  it's all about the Guinness! On their doors, there are even stickers certifying the pub by Guinness as an establishment that serves the perfect pint of their brew. Guinness is poured at the Auld Dubliner either through a single pour as a flawless motion where it stops immediately at the brim and is placed before you in order to let the beer settle before consumption or a "two-stage" pour. The two-stage pour is when during the first stage, the bartender fills to around 70% of the glass. After the pour, the beer settles for a couple of minutes and then is topped with the second stage of pouring followed by thirty seconds to a minute of settling for a well-developed, foamy head. The purpose for the separate, two-stage pour is to fully develop both the body and the head for maximum flavor and texture. When a godly pint of Guinness was placed before me, another customer had wondered if the pint was actually a replica model as it looked divine; I wouldn't blame her.

Other than amazing libations offered at the pub, they offer some very delicious Irish dishes. Granted some of the items on their menu diverges from what's considered traditional such as Irish tacos. However, for being all the way out here in Orange County, they do offer plenty of Irish/UK authentic fare such as corned beef and bangers (sausages) & champ (mashed potatoes) along with condiments you typically won't find in the states such as HP sauce which is a brown sauce that has the consistency of steak sauce but tastes like Worcestershire sauce.

My go-to pub dish is Fish & Chips . At the Auld Dubliner, they prepare it using cod and batter made with Smithwick's Ale which gives it its golden, puffy, and crunchy coat. Served with Tartar sauce, a wedge of lemon, and malt vinegar if you wish, this is the best fish and chips I've had in Orange County. The chips are very delicious as well. Pictured above is a half order but they've recently took off the option of ordering entrees as half orders. For a full order, they give you double the amount for $15 vs $11 previously for a half order; it's of amazing value as they give a lot of food.

If I'm not in the mood for something fried but for something hearty instead, I would order their Irish Stew. Granted, it's more of a modern take on Irish stew, especially when it's topped with mashed potatoes. However, it's a great dish as there's a lot of chunks of stewed beef along with vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions. Garnished with chopped green onions, they provide a refreshing contrast to the hearty stew. Although it may seem unusual to top the stew with mashed potatoes, they make the dish even more comforting; what's more comforting than meat and carbs? The addition of a slice of grilled Ciabatta bread makes the dish even more hearty and comforting as one can use it to mop up the remnants of the stew. The Irish Stew at the Auld Dubliner is even more comforting on a rainy day while enjoying pints of Guinness and whiskey and watching a football game on the big screen. Pictured above is once again a half order and only full orders are available.


 In addition to draught beers, they also have a great selection of Irish whiskeys, granted it is of course an Irish pub. Jameson and Bushmill's are standard and they carry other versions such as their more aged variants. In addition, they carry scotch whiskeys  as well such as single-malt Macallan and blended-malt Johnnie Walker (pictured above is a neat pour of Johnnie Walker Black alongside a pint of settling Guinness).

The Auld Dubliner has big screens that show American football, basketball, soccer (or football however you want to call it - great to visit during the World Cup), and even rugby. If sports isn't to your liking, they have more private booths like the pubs in Ireland and the UK. My only gripe with the Auld Dubliner is with some, a good portion, of the music played through the speakers that consists of pop in which I'm not a big fan of, especially when I want to enjoy by myself a properly poured pint of Guinness at the bar. Of course, that music primarily caters to the chardonnay/pinot grigio/ vodka tonic swilling crowd of sorority girls. However, I bare through it like the rest of the guys as we would admit that without that music, the Auld Dubliner, or any other establishment where beer's the focus, would be a giant sausage fest, or in this case a "banger" fest (I apologize for that lame attempt of a joke). Pop music aside, the Auld Dubliner is a great place to hang with friends after work or even as a date place with your special lady (she's already special if she's a beer drinker). With traditional Irish dishes, bottles of whiskeys immediately available for consumption, and Guinness-certified pints; the Auld Dubliner is my favorite pub in Orange County and blows others right out of the water.


Auld Dubliner on Urbanspoon

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