St. Patrick’s Day Traditional Brews by: Nathan Utley
Dia Dhaoibh Fellow Beer Fans,
St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon! Now, some people believe that drinking cheap, domestic beer loaded with green dye will make you feel Irish. But I guarantee you wont find a true Irishman drinking anything green on St. Patrick’s Day. To prepare for this wonderful day of levity, I thought we might look at the traditional styles of Irish beer. Ireland’s brewing tradition is built upon two main styles, Red Ales and Dry Stouts.
Ireland is one of the first countries to brew a stout; the black beer is considered by many to be the Emerald Isle’s national beverage. Ireland’s dry stouts are markedly aromatic, with rich maltiness and intense hop flavors. Bitterness is typically moderate to strong. In color, these are black/opaque ales, with low to medium body and a creamy brown head. The degree of sweetness and dryness will vary in dry stouts. However, they are all top-fermented and have the unique and special character of roasted barley, which produces a slightly roasted (coffee-like) trait. A nice stout is the beer of choice on the holiday.
Irish red ales commonly range in color from light red-amber to a dark rust/brick hue. These ales have a pleasant toasted malt character and toffee/caramel sweetness. They can often possess a buttery, well-rounded quality, and are only lightly hopped; presenting only subdued bitterness and floral/citric flavors and aromas. Irish ales are similar to Scottish ales but are a bit lighter and paler.
Already at Spirit’s Lakeside we have a wide variety of Irish imported beers and Irish-style American brews perfect for your celebration. I recommend trying the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Harpoon Celtic Ale, and for the adventurous taster, the Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask (a Scottish stout aged in Irish whiskey casks). These enticing brews are loaded with both flavor and culture. Enjoy my friends.