irish beer

Banish the green beer! Every year around March 17, Irish-Americans, party people and amateur drinkers gather to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and raise a glass to the traditions and culture of the Emerald Isle. You’ve no doubt heard of Guinness, Ireland’s most famous brew and the most popular stout in the world – but have you heard of Murphy’s, O’Hara’s or Harp?

Alas there are no organic Irish brews, however you can make your own with an Easy-Brew Organic Beer Kit from Brew Organic. The dry stout-style kit produces a thick, full body and creamy head, and comes with organic malt extract, organic specialty malts, organic hops, organic bottling sugar, Irish moss and a recipe.

If home-brewing your own organic Irish stout isn’t in your near future, try out some brews from Crannog Ales, a certified organic farmhouse microbrewery in British Columbia, Canada. Crannog Ales produces various organic Irish beers, including Hells Kitchen Organic Irish Ale and Red Branch Organic Irish Ale.

While not organic, there are plenty of traditional Irish brews to indulge your green streak this Saint Patrick’s Day, from light-bodied lagers to malty red ales and a range of dark roasted stouts. Find the following Irish selections at your favorite local beer specialty store.

Guinness is an extremely popular dry stout that was born in a Dublin basement in 1759. Today, 18,000,000,000 pints of Guinness are sold each year in over 100 countries to Guinness enthusiasts who adore the distinctive burnt flavor and super creamy head, achieved with nitrogen. Order your Guinness draught from a bar at an Irish pub for the authentic experience, or pick up a six-pack of bottles and pour at home – try it over vanilla ice cream for a truly exceptional experience.

Murphy’s Irish Stout is a dark, strong beer that has been brewed in County Cork since 1856. Sweeter, lighter and less bitter than its cousin Guinness, Murphy’s Irish Stout has a texture resembling cream, very little to no carbonation and evocative caramel and malt aromas.

O’Hara’s Irish Stout is a newcomer that’s been met with massive critical acclaim in the beer world, with many declaring that the brew is “better than Guinness.” With a mild coffee aroma and sour aftertaste, O’Hara’s is a thick stout that is deep black in color with amber highlights and a particularly fresh flavor,

Porterhouse Red Ale is a classic Irish red ale with a rich, caramelized flavor and deep woody aroma. Colored a toasty burnished bronze, Porterhouse Red Ale has a light body and medium carbonation – a very drinkable brew.

Smithwick’s Irish Ale is known as “Ireland’s Oldest Ale” and has a ruby red color and was originally brewed in the medieval St. Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny. Produced with hops and roasted, malted barley, Smithwick’s flavor is smooth and refined with a bitter, complex finish.

Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale was created for export in 1985 from the makers of Guinness and caught on quickly for its distinctively smooth taste, deep red hue and creamy, nitrogenated head much like Guinness. Drinkers are greeted with a rich aroma and a less hoppy, sweet taste compared to other Irish ales.

Moling’s Traditional Celtic Beer made by Carlow Brewing Company is based on traditional Celtic recipes and uses only authentic ingredients: water, yeast, malt and hops. With an auburn hue, this buttery medium-bodied ale has a rich earthiness, floral malt and bitter overtones.

Harp is the most popular Irish beer after Guinness, and is poured alongside the dark stout in the famous “Black and Tan” beer cocktail. A pale lager with a crisp, light-bodied style, Harp is preferred by the legions of Irish beer drinkers who want a lighter brew.

image: mccun934