St. Patrick’s Day is when many claim to be Irish and celebrate by consuming mass quantities of green macro beers. If you’re a better-beer drinker, fear not; there is a plethora of great craft beers to enjoy.
Stouts have long been an Irish tradition but many American brewers got on board and now brew phenomenal stouts. Another popular Irish style is the highly drinkable red ale.
Here is a short list of some great beers that will help make you feel Irish and also help celebrate safely with a lower ABV. Grab yourself a pint, or three, and cheers with some great beers this year!
North Coast’s Old #38 Stout: This traditional Irish dry stout is the best replacement for the widely popular Guinness. The dark chocolate and roasted grain notes have a subtle sweetness that comes through with brown sugar but the beer possesses a wonderful crisp bitterness we love and finishes very dry. The 5.4 percent ABV is also perfect for a great go-to beer throughout the day and won’t cause palate fatigue.
Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Conway’s Irish Ale: This 6.5 percent ABV Irish red packs a bit of a punch, especially when compared to standard beers enjoyed on parade day. The rich semi-sweet bready malts have aromatic notes of caramel with biscuit qualities. Very well balanced with an interesting array of flavors and aromas proving just how intricate some of the “standard” beers can be when brewed properly.
Sam Adams’ Cream Stout: If you are looking for something a bit more decadent to enjoy try Sam Adams wonderful Cream Stout. Don’t let the name fool you into thinking this is going to be an overly sweet treat. While there is an array of sweet flavors with chocolate and cream leading the way, there is perfect balance with roasted malts that keep this beer from becoming too cloyingly sweet. The 4.9 percent ABV is a huge plus on days when some may overindulge!
Ballast Point’s Even Keel IPA: With focus on being careful and enjoying a highly flavorful beer, Even Keel tops the list. While IPAs are not typically thought of on St. Patrick’s Day holiday, they are a staple for many craft beer lovers and have made their way into the glasses, or cups, during festivities. The wonderful citrus and tropical fruit punch from this beer delivers everything you want from a solid IPA all while weighing in at an impressive 3.8 percent ABV! There is also a version brewed with fresh mangoes for those who truly love tropical fruit flavors in beer.
Left Hand Brewing’s Milk Stout NITRO: Milk Stout has gained a stellar reputation as one of the best within the style. When the brewery began to unleash its NITRO line of beers few were ready to experience this beer on another level. The incredibly smooth body of this beer seems out of this world while the sweet milky qualities and chocolate notes provide a drinking experience that must be savored. This is a fun beer to watch as it is poured from the bottle.
No matter what beers you enjoy, remember while you may overindulge, do it safely. Make sure you have a designated driver or plan in place to get home safely. Enjoy great beers but don’t ruin your life or someone else’s.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.