Each year as March 17th draws near, there are a number of things that come to mind. Leprechauns, shamrocks, the color green, and rainbows with pots of gold are all popular symbols for St. Patrick’s Day, but the one beverage that is immediately thought of for anyone who is of legal drinking age is green beer.
In addition to serving loads of cabbage and corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day, many restaurants provide green beer as an option for their customers. People would also be hard pressed to find a bar, pub, or tavern that isn’t serving glasses of ale or lager with a hint of green added as well.
Green beer is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition for anyone who enjoys toasting the Irish, but for those looking for something a little different, why not try some authentically Irish Beer? Ireland is the home to various ales, lagers, and draughts that have grown quite popular and are readily available throughout the world. So instead of adding a bit of green food coloring to your Budweiser or Coors Light this year, give these Irish greats a taste.
1. Guinness Draught or Stout
The cream of the crop when it comes to Irish exports is Guinness. Founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759, the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin provides the world with this distinctive and extremely popular beer. Appearing almost black in color, Guinness Stout goes down sharply and leaves a somewhat bitter aftertaste.
The draught version of the beer is similar in color, but is thick and creamy due to its high nitrogen content and low amounts of carbon dioxide. Not only is the beer itself readily available throughout the world, but due to its popularity, so is Guinness merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, glasses, and signs.
2. Harp Lager
For those beer consumers who can’t stand the harsh bitterness of Guinness, a better option may be Harp. Brewed in Dundalk, Ireland, this lager is pale yellow in color and goes down crisp and smooth. With a light and refreshing aftertaste, it can be easy to down a glass of Harp in a matter of minutes. Fans of Miller Lite or Coors Light may want to give this one a try.
3. Smithwick’s Ale
When it comes to Irish Ale, Smithwick’s has been brewed in Kilkenny since 1710 and is one of the country’s top beers. Ruby red in color, Smithwick’s has a somewhat fruity aroma and a bitter aftertaste. The roasted barley added during its brewing, give this ale a flavor that is actually similar to coffee. People who enjoy Rickard’s Red or Killian’s Red, may also enjoy a pint of Smithwick’s from time to time.
4. Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
Kilkenny is a type of ale that is red in color and is very similar in taste to Smithwick’s, although not quite as bitter. Much like Guinness, it has a thick and creamy texture and a full-bodied taste. Kilkenny is a beer that is best to sip slowly, so that one can fully appreciate its savory taste and enjoy it to the fullest.
5. O’Hara’s Irish Stout
The Carlow Brewing Company in Ireland has only been around since 1996, but its O’Hara’s Irish Stout continues to grow in popularity. Although it resembles Guinness in color, it doesn’t come off quite as harsh on the palate. With a combination of sweetness and roasted coffee flavor, O’Hara’s goes down relatively smooth and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. The overabundance of hops may turn some people away from this beer, but overall it has a taste that most will enjoy.
Although none of these five beers are green in color, they do have a taste that is unique compared to many of those that are from North America. So whether it’s at a pub, a restaurant, or at a house party, try celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year with a beer that is truly Irish.