– By Brittany Seki, Senior Editor –
For most us, Saint Patrick’s Day means donning green gear and mini leprechaun hats, watching parades full of shamrocks, and of course, drinking our faces off. But what does all this have to do with the death of Ireland’s patron saint? Here’s a little Irish history 101: Saint Patrick was a priest who dedicated his life to converting pagan Irish to Christianity. This religious celebration takes place on the day he died (March 17, 461) and commemorates the birth of Christianity in Ireland. On this day, the rules associated with Lent are lifted and people are able to celebrate by indulging in food and drink. And what better way to celebrate than with a delicious glass of Irish stout or ale?
Those with Celtic blood have a hardened reputation for being able to handle a few pints or more. However, this might be because brewing companies in Ireland produce beer with the Irish drinker in mind – someone who will head to the pub for a few beers at a time rather than sipping a strong IPA. So for this Saint Patrick’s Day, opt for red ales, stouts and lagers to celebrate! Guinness isn’t the only Irish beer available to drink ‘til your hearts content. Give our top 10 Irish brews a try this St. Patty’s Day:
To start off your drinkfest, you can’t go wrong with Ireland’s most popular beer. Guinness Draught embodies rich flavors of coffee and chocolate, but won’t overload your calorie intake. This creamy stout is easy to drink and a great first pint of the day.
Beamish Irish Stout
As an Irish dry stout, Beamish is an excellent alternative to Guinness. With a creamy head and notes of roasted malts, this stout will go down smooth.
O’Hara’s Celtic Stout
Made by Carlow Brewery, a craft beer company, O’Hara’s Celtic Stout is a classic. The combination of all natural ingredients (hops, roasted barley, yeast, water) and no additives gives this beer a full-bodied, slightly bitter flavor.
Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
A little heavier than Beamish or Guinness, Oyster Stout is made by one of Ireland’s biggest craft breweries. And the name says it all – freshly shucked oysters are added into the conditioning tank. This gives the brew a unique flavor, along with its smooth finish.
Stouts aren’t for everyone. If you want to shy away from thick, creamy brews, you have to give this traditional Irish lager a try. The first sip is a bit bitter but ends with a refreshing, smooth finish.
Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
Nothing says Happy Saint Patrick’s Day more than Irish cream ale. This amber brew boasts an almost nutty flavor, with notes of roasted malt. Kilkenny is known for its creamy finish and unique aroma.
Murphy’s Irish Red Ale
Besides stouts, Ireland is known for its red ales and Murphy’s has some of the best. The red comes from the roasted barley used in the brewing process. With its hoppy taste and crisp finish, this Irish red ale would make a perfect addition to your Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Brú Rua Red Ale
Another traditional Irish red ale, Brú Rua has a robust flavor with a bit of a bitter finish. Made from a craft brewery, this hearty red ale encompasses hints of berry and a citrus aroma.
Thomas Caffrey’s Irish Ale
Caffrey’s is a refreshing, creamy ale. Most choose this classic Irish ale for its light taste and for easy drinking. Sounds perfect if you need to slow down your Irish festivities!
Smithwick’s Irish Ale
Monks once brewed this crisp red ale! With a hoppy flavor and hint of caramel maltiness, this will be Irish ale to remember.