On the one day of the year when everyone is Irish, it only seems fitting to outfit the beer fridge with authentic Irish beers — or at least darned good domestic mimics.
Sure, Guinness has been the quintessential St. Patrick’s Day beer, but there are plenty of other choices. Here are some favorites of mine:
From Porterhouse Brewing Co.: A stone’s throw from Dublin, in the Bray and Wicklow areas, you’ll find this brewery crafting a handful of nicely elegant beers. You don’t have to visit Ireland — ask your stockist (tip o’ the old world hat) to score these beers for you. The distinctive pull ring closure is the most obvious feature of the three Porterhouse beers I sampled.
Oyster Stout is brewed with real oyster and surprised me with it remarkable balance and disjunctive, enjoyable flavor.
Wrasslers Full Stout is made to a recipe originally brewed in the early 1900s — a stout like your grandfather used to drink. It’s full in every way with generous quantities of roast grain for flavor.
Porterhouse Red is a very traditional Irish Red Ale that balances refreshing hops with naturally sweet yeast and caramel tinged malts.
Even better news: None of the trio surpasses 5 percent ABV. But wait, there’s more!
I recently told you about Stranford Lough beers — and it’s St. Patrick’s Best label is showing in force around the city’s shelves. The wort for this beer is made in Ireland, dehydrated — then reconstitutes and finished under contract with American brewers. The beer is a bitter, but maintains a nice, light character — and an ABV of 4.2 percent.
Eyes open too for Legbiter Ale – a golden ale that as big on hops as many of it’s American craft beer competitors.
If the imports are sold out, don’t fret. There are plenty of American–made beers made to satisfy your Old World beer palate.
Victory Donnybrook Stout is a well made stout that seems to be the American giving Guinness serious competition. Roasty with a bitter finish – it’s the Yank’s tweak to dear old Guinness.
Boston–based Harpoon Brewing Co. has rallied to market with plenty of its Celtic Ale. The flavor is malty and complex with a moderate hop finish that makes for a medium bodied, smooth, rich beer.
Among my other favorite Stouts to consider are Victory Storm King and Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout.
Need a Stout with training wheels? Try milk stouts — beers that are sweeter and more creamy. Brands to watch for are Left Hand Milk Stout and Duck Rabbit Milk Stout. The addition of lactose sugar makes these beers less bitter and creamy.