8 Best Beers for St. Patrick's Day – Parade

irishbeers

St. Patrick’s Day might be the drinking-est holiday of the year, mainly because there aren’t any of the distractions that come with other holidays. On Halloween, you may have made the mistake of choosing an unwieldy costume which makes it harder for you to consume alcohol and/or use the bathroom. On Thanksgiving, you have to focus on the food—otherwise your Aunt Ruth will shoot you daggers. (Everyone must praise her cooking skills.) On Christmas, you’ve got to put down your cocktail to open presents. But none of these things apply on St. Patrick’s Day. All you have to do is show up at a bar wearing a green t-shirt and you are good to go.

But, if you’re going to be drinking on St. Patrick’s Day (god bless your little alcoholic heart), steer clear of the green beer. Sure, it’s “fun,” but remember that it’s just cheap beer with green food coloring in it. Nothing more, nothing less. Want to stand out from the pack of hard-drinking, fist-pumping bros? Stay away from the drink specials hawking green beer, Guinness, and Jameson. Any bar worth anything is going to have some craft beers with an Irish lilt to them. Be on the look-out for eight of our favorites.

1. Rogue Ales Irish Lager: You don’t want to start out the day with heavy Irish stouts. You’ll be sloppy by 4pm, and nobody wants that.  Begin with something lighter, like this Irish lager from Rogue Ales. It has a smooth flavor, an apple crisp finish, and a low ABV, so you can slam back several without getting crazy.

2. Murphy’s Irish Red: Irish Reds are named for their amber color, lightly hoppy taste, and malty finish. They’re a good go-to for St. Patrick’s Day because they’re heavier than the green beer swill, but much lighter than the stouts you’ll see on offer. Murphy’s has been churning out brews from Ireland for over 150 years, so it’s a solid choice.

3. Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale: There’s a little bit of Ireland in Ohio, namely the Great Lakes Brewing Company and their Conway’s Irish Ale. The namesake of the beer is Patrick Conway, the grandfather of Great Lakes founders Daniel and Patrick. (That may or may not be him on the bottle’s label.) Conway’s Irish Ale has a toasted, malty flavor, which would be great accompanying Irish nachos, which are not Irish at all, but are delicious.

4. O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale: O’Hara’s is a contemporary Irish microbrewery based in Dublin, and their contemporary spin is evidenced in this IPA with an Irish twist. With the Irish Pale Ale, O’Hara’s combines the balance of European IPAs with the dry hopping typical in American pale ales. Fruity, flowery, and hoppy, this one will be a good choice come St. Patrick’s Day.

5. Flying Dog Lucky SOB Irish Red Ale: The “luck of the Irish” is a common phrase thrown around on St. Patrick’s Day, but nobody really knows where it comes from. (Theory #1: it’s supposed to be ironic, because Irish people have historically been unlucky—remember the Potato Famine?; theory #2: When Irish people immigrated to the US during the Gold Rush era, they were good miners and ended up striking rich often.) You can debate this endlessly while you’re at the bar, enjoying a Flying Dog Lucky SOB ale, which is brewed with (supposedly) honest-to-God four-leaf-clovers. Snatch this one up quick, maybe you’ll get lucky at the end of the night.

6. O’Hara’s Irish Stout: A stout that looks like liquid blackness in your glass with a chocolatey head, O’Hara’s award-winning Irish Stout goes down smooth with espresso, licorice, and chocolate notes. It’s also made with Fuggle hops, which will be a hilarious fun fact to tell your friends around beer 6 of the day. 

7. Kilkenny Irish Red: Kilkenny Irish Red is brewed in the oldest operating brewery in Ireland, and though it’s hard to find (it’s popular in Canada and Australia, less so in the US), it’s worth a try if you see it on the tap list. Fun fact: Mike Myers and Drake (both Canadian) supposedly love Kilkenny. Drink like Shrek all night long.

8. Moylan’s Dragoons Dry Irish Stout: Brewed in California with hops and malted barley imported from the UK, Moylan’s Dragoons is a classic dry Irish stout brewed to honor the Irish-born General Stephen Moylan, who was the commander of the 4th Continental Dragoons during the Revolutionary War. It also has an ABV of 8%, so drink with caution. More than three of these, and you’ll lose your own Revolutionary War with gravity.

Amanda Waas is the creator of You’re Welcome, a gift guide site for all of life’s awkward occasions. Her writing has appeared in Every Day With Rachael Ray, Glamour, Time Out New York, AOL’s Shelterpop and DIY Life, and various others. Follow her on TwitterPinterest, and Facebook and sign up for her succinct, not-annoying weekly e-newsletter for gift suggestions sent right to your inbox.

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