Ultimate 6er | Easy-To-Find (Good) St. Paddy’s Day Beers
St. Paddy’s Day is right around the corner, but the festivities often begin days in advance. Hosting a party, heading to a parade or fun at the pub are some of the many ways one can embrace their inner Leprechaun. But, for the love all things Michael Flatley, please refrain from drinking bad, green beer. Finding a quality beer that pays homage to Ireland isn’t that difficult; there exists many easy-to-access, readily-available beers one can enjoy at nearly any bar or purchase in any store.
O’ Hara’s | Irish Stout
ABV: 4.3% | IBU 40
“It’s not luck, it’s craft.”
No one will make fun of you for having a Guinness (read on), but if you are looking for something different, O’Hara’s is an outstanding choice.
O’Hara’s Irish Stout provides robust roasted notes, but the beer is exceptionally smooth — big flavor on the tongue, yet easy drinking. The bountiful amounts of Fuggle hops offer tart bitterness to a beer comprised of rich, complex coffee aroma and flavor, roasted barley notes, and a bit of sweet licorice. The otherwise traditional Irish Stout also reminds one — just a little — of a smooth espresso, and that tiny spin on the classic brew has resulted in numerous awards and increasing popularity since the brewer arrived on the scene in County Carlow, Ireland, in 1996.
Breckenridge & Boundary Brewing (Northern Ireland) | Nitro Irish Stout
Colorado may not be the hotbed of Irish Culture when compared to Chicago, New York or Boston, but when a brewery travels to Belfast for inspiration, chances are the beer will be authentic.
Nitro Dry Irish Stout oozes with St. Paddy’s Day goodness, and at a sessionable 4.8%, it’s okay to have more than one. The roasted barley malt and slight coffee notes refrain from being too harsh because the velvety texture makes for one smooth-as-silk drinking experience. The addition of a few hops give it a nice complexity. Nitro Irish is truly a good Irish beer, no matter if you partying in Breckenridge, Belfast, Boston or even the Bayou.
From Belfast to Breck — See this video:
Introducing our Nitro Series Spring Seasonal, Nitro Dry Irish Stout! We collaborated with @boundarybrewing of Belfast, Northern Ireland to create this traditional Dry Irish Stout with dark character and a classic, creamy body. Our innovative nitrogen-charged cans allow you to enjoy this brew anywhere! Read more on our blog: bit.ly/NDISblog #BelfasttoBreck #nitroonthego #NDIS #nitro #stout #stpatricksday #spring #collaboration #irishstout
Samuel Adams | Irish Red
ABV 5% / IBU 25
Although Boston Beer Company may not be Irish, Irish-Bostonians enjoy a strong tie to their mother country. Sam’s Irish Red offers rich, hearty malt as a backbone that’s somewhat caramel-like, similar to the red ales found on the Emerald Isle. The earthy, not-so-bitter English hops provide a nice touch to a beer that’s truly perfect on a day where beer drinking may last for several hours. (Note: This particular beer is part of Sam’s Brewnited Variety Pack)
And, hey, choosy moms choose Sam’s Red – it must be good!
Boulevard Brewing | Irish Ale
ABV 5.8% | IBU 30
Boulevard’s early spring seasonal Irish Ale serves as a Midwestern tribute to traditional Irish red ales of old Ireland. The recipe includes six kinds of pale and roasted barley malts (Pale Malt, Munich, Amber 50, Cara 120, Cara 300, Chocolate), which provides rich, toasty notes, some breadiness, some caramel-sweetness and a tawny reddish hue. Throw in a few hops (Magnum, Zeus, Bravo, Sterling, Saaz) and one gets a nice, but subtle, hoppy bitterness that lingers on the tongue.
Harpoon Brewery | the Craic
ABV 6.9% | IBU 55
Much like the many Irish-Americans that will celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, Harpoon’s hybrid ale combines the classic American crafted IPA with a traditional Irish red ale for one harmonious and delicious beer. Craic presents toasted, malty flavors due to the use of manhe malt combinations common in Irish red ales. Craic simultaneously delivers drinkers with a noticeable hop zing comprised of citrusy and fruity notes.
Guinness | Dublin Porter
Of course, it’s okay to indulge in Guinness on St. Paddy’s Day. The Dublin institution arrived on the scene in 1752. Let’s just say that Guinness has been brewing beer in Ireland for a looong time.
Everyone knows about the classic Guinness Stout — no explanation needed. But, if you want to truly embrace Irish history, try Dublin Porter or West Indies Porter (usually found in specialty packs, but many bars have them available for specials on St. Paddy’s Day, too). This writer’s favorite is Dublin Porter. Guinness notes: “Sip Dublin Porter and you’re sampling Guinness history. Light but well rounded. Sweet and smooth. Just bitter enough. [Dublin Porter] is inspired by an archival recipe from our brewers’ diaries, dating back to 1796.”
Some modern alterations have been done with this beer, but it’s very much in spirit with the original beer — and certainly good enough to honor the true spirit of St. Paddy’s Day.
Great Lakes Brewing Company | Conway’s Irish Red
ABV 6.5% | IBU 25
This seven-time medal winner (gold and silver) honors the many Irish civil servants. As noted on the website, “A pint for Pa Conway! Our co-owners’ grandfather and policeman who’d likely uphold that an Irish Ale with full-bodied caramel malt flavors is just the ticket.”
Conway’s Irish Ale has a gorgeous copper body and provides toasty, bready, sweet malt flavor. The carbonation is prominent in this ale, too, which cuts through the sweetness, resulting in a wonderfully balanced beer. But here’s the best part, Great Lakes provides Conway’s Irish Ale cooking recipes. One can make a fantastic roasted lamb shank or a decadent cheesecake. Sounds like a good St. Paddy’s treat to me!