Any discussion of authentic Irish brews begins at the Guinness Brewing Company in Dublin, Ireland. As the old saying goes, you wear green and drink black on St. Patrick’s Day. Once you master the perfect pour, or find a bartender who has it down pat, there is no better St. Patty’s Day tradition. So yes, the conversation starts with Guinness, but it certainly doesn’t end there, with hundreds of years of Irish brewing heritage and history dedicated to concocting the perfect ales and beers.
The great thing about Irish brewers is that they don’t launch new brews every season, every year, or even every 50 years. The most respected Irish brewers have only created a handful of brews, with some focusing on a single specialty. Instead of constantly trying to come up with something new, they focus on perfecting their existing masterpieces. Here are a few of our favorite Irish stouts, lagers and ales.
Guinness Extra Stout
This is it, the one that started it all. Crafted to perfection for over 200 years, Guinness Extra Stout is descended from the definitive West India Porter known as Extra Superior Porter. Crack it open, and the first sip tastes as fresh as ever. The unmistakable deep-dark color, the crisp hint of roasted barley, the fresh breeze of hops, and the refreshing bite all make for the bittersweet reward.
Guinness Black Lager
Introducing a true original. New Guinness Black Lager is cold-brewed with roasted barley for a refreshing lager taste like no other. Your first sip will surprise you. You have to taste it to believe it. This will be the first St. Patrick’s Day in America for the newest member of the Guinness family.
Made with pure water from the Cooley Mountains in Dundalk, Ireland, this 1960 creation of the legendary Guinness Brewery in Dublin is the bestselling Irish lager. Slightly bitter up front with a smooth aftertaste, crisp and clean Harp Lager has a sparkling color that makes it a distinctive, yet approachable import.
Crafted and perfected since 1710 at the oldest working brewery in Ireland, Smithwick’s Irish Ale has a rich, ruby color and creamy head. The taste is refreshing and clean, with a gentle balance of bitterness from the hops added early in the boil, sweet malty notes from the ale malt, and a hint of roast coffee from the roasted barley.
This Irish pale ale’s roots go back more than 150 years to McSorley’s Old Ale House in New York City. Now owned by Pabst Brewing Company, McSorley’s Ale is still brewed with that legendary New York water. Malty, toasty, caramel and toffee give it a rich and timeless taste. No other domestic ale can claim as old of an Irish-American heritage.