Tap This: Looking for a different beer to try on St. Patrick’s Day? Try one of these.
St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching and soon our area will be flooded with watered down green beers and an over abundance of a particular Irish stout. While for some this “tradition” is something to look forward to, for others this is one that is very dreaded. This year if you decide to celebrate and are tired of the same old thing every year, why not find yourself some better beers to enjoy.
Stouts have long been a tradition of the Irish and while they certainly started this trend many American brewers have gotten on board and brew phenomenal versions of the style. The other popular beer this time of year, besides green colored beer but for this let’s pretend it doesn’t exist, is the Irish Red.
The other tradition for the holiday is overindulging a bit with alcohol, while judgments are certainly reserved here, it is best to remember that many craft beers do have a higher alcohol content, so be on the lookout.
Here is a short list of some great beers that will help make this time of year feel very 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 definitely possesses that wonderful crisp bitterness we love and finishes very dry. The 5.4 percent ABV is 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 for parade day, so keep that in mind. The rich semi-sweet bready malts have aromatic notes of caramel with biscuit qualities as well. 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.
Flying Dog Brewery’s Lucky S.O.B: This is another great take on the Irish red style with a bit more crisp hop bite. The sweet toasted malts impart subtle flavors of biscuit with hints of dark fruit with a crisp pine, spicy, and herbal hop profile bringing perfect balance. The 5.5 percent ABV makes for another great go-to beer that packs a ton of flavor into a smaller beer.
Sam Adams’ Cream Stout: If you are looking for something a bit more decadent to enjoy the festivities with, look no further than 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 definitely an array of sweet flavors with chocolate and cream leading the way, there is perfect balance against 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 a focus on being careful on a day when many overindulge and also a focus on a highly flavorful beer Even Keel is a must! While IPA’s are not typically thought of around the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, they are a staple for many craft beer lovers and have no doubt made its way into the glasses, or cups, around this holiday. 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!
No matter what beers you enjoy this time of year it is important to remember that while you may overindulge, do it safely. Make sure you have a designated driver or backup plan in place to get home safely. Enjoy many great beers but don’t ruin your life or someone else’s over it. Have a great St. Patrick’s Day celebration, cheers!
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.