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When you think of St. Patrick’s Day beer, you're mind probably immediately thinks of Guinness beer. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with that — as it's, arguably, the most well-known Irish-based beer on the market. But, guess what? There’s more to Ireland than just Guinness Stout.
Instead of just enjoying a pint of the black stuff this St. Patrick's Day, grab a bottle or draught of a few of our other beer options to really dig deep into your Irish heritage. Hey, everyone's Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, right?!?
There are an abundance of great Irish-style beer currently available in the U.S., you know that already. But, to truly get the Irish experience, you have to stick to the brews that are actually from the home of Colin Farrell and rainbows with pots of gold at the end of them (not really), so take a chance on these St. Patrick’s Day beer options to help get your drink on this year.
If you visit Ireland, you’ll probably want to grab a pint of Guinness as soon as you get settled. There’s something about drinking Guinness in Ireland that just makes it so much more special than downing pints with your buddies at a local Irish pub in the States. But, if you visit Cork, Ireland, they won’t let you drink a Guinness. That is, until you drink a Beamish first. This malty, sweet, robust stout has been in production since the late 1700s, and, if you bring this to a St. Patrick’s Day party instead of Guinness, you’ll really turn some heads.
Murphy’s Irish Stout
Likely the second most-famous stout in Ireland (after Guinness, of course), Murphy’s has been brewed in Cork (like Beamish) since the mid-1800s. Just like Beamish, Murphy’s is owned by Heineken and is definitely not a clone of Guinness. That’s because, it was created as an alternative stout to the mega-brand. It’s less heavy and, subtly, less bitter than its iconic rival, making it a perfect St. Patricks Day beer.
Ohara's Irish Stout
To say that Carlow, the brewer that makes O’hara’s, is a little new to Irish beer scene is an understatement. Their flagship brew, O’hara’s Irish Stout, has only been produced since the year everyone was bugging out about Y2K and The Sixth Sense was the highest-grossing film in America, 1999. In that short span of time, it’s received numerous accolades and awards. That’s because it’s a stout made the way stout drinkers expect a stout to taste (that’s a lot of stout in one sentence). It’s rich and malty with subtle bitterness, a hint of dark chocolate and a whole heap of coffee aroma and flavor.
If, for some reason, you grow tired of tipping back pints of stout on St. Patrick’s Day, grab a Harp. This pale lager was created in 1960 by the Guinness Company (now Diageo), to give drinkers a light lager to drink instead of the heavier stouts of the time. The name and logo are derived from the famous Brian Boru harp located at Trinity College in Dublin. And, today, it’s still the perfect Irish beer to cleanse the palate from heavy St. Patrick's Day beer we all normally drink. It always pairs really well with corned beef and cabbage, too!
O’Hara’s Irish Red
If you'r avoiding a stout this St. Patrick’s Day, you better imbibe an Irish red. We don’t know if the Irish red style has anything to do with the frequent hue of Irish people’s hair, but it doesn’t really matter, because they taste incredible. O’hara’s version of this iconic style is very smooth, malty and has a subtle hint of toffee and caramel to smooth away the bitterness. Another hit from Carlow.
Smithwick’s Irish Ale
Like Harp, Smithwick’s is available in pretty much every Irish pub in the U.S. Founded in 1710 in Kilkenny, this Irish red ale touts itself as the oldest beer produced on the Emerald Isle. Made with hops and roasted barley, Smithwick’s is definitely a lighter and sweeter alternative to the usual Guinness. At the very least, enjoying a Smithwick’s is a nice change of pace before returning to your stouts and Irish whiskey on St. Patrick's Day. Wash down your bangers and mash with a tall pint of this Irish classic — just remember to pronounce it correctly while ordering; it's "Smit-ticks."
Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
For a true change of pace from your typical Irish Car Bombs and pints of the black stuff, grab a bottle or two of Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. At first sip, it’s very similar to Smithwick’s (it’s made at the same facility), but, once you drink a little more, you’ll realize that this beer is much creamier and a little more bitter than it’s counterpart. This beer originally used the Smithwick’s name and was advertised as a stronger version of the beer. But, a few years ago, they decided to give it its own name, separating it from Smithwick’s, but still making it an ideal St. Patrick's Day beer option.
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