I don't think there's a holiday out there that screams "BEER" in America quite like St. Patrick's Day. You can make a case for Cinco de Mayo but I'll disagree.
March 17th is widely touted in the United States as the day when "everyone's Irish!" I bet you even half of all beer drinking U.S. born citizens couldn't tell you the reason St. Patrick's Day is even celebrated anywhere. It's the one day when we wear green so we don't get pinched and swig on green beer.
Here is a quick overview of St. Patrick's Day as it is celebrated in America according to Wikipedia,
The day is observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture. Celebrations include prominent displays of the color green, eating and drinking, religious observances, and numerous parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century.
Of course March 17th is much more festive if you're living in Boston and able to watch the world famous parade or in Chicago where they also have a parade but dye the Chicago River green! Here in Alabama it's usually just green shirts with witty sayings on them, four-leaf clover shaped glasses and the aforementioned green beer.
Well as a connoisseur of beer, I'd like to teach you about a few truly Irish stouts, lagers, cream ales, and ales that I've enjoyed over the years. So whether you’re heading to an Irish Pub or hosting your own party this St. Patrick's Day, here is my list of the Top 5 the best Irish beers!
1. Murphy's Irish Stout - I'm sure the Guinness faithfuls are shooting mental daggers at me right now but I love Murphy's Irish Stout. The best way for me to describe why I prefer this over that is Murphy's is less bitter and less heavy. I love to drink more than one beer most days and I can do that with Murphy's. It packs a creamy blend of rich flavors that bring to mind chocolate milk and espresso.
2. Smithwick’s Irish Ale - Smithwick's was founded in 1710 and was originally brewed in St. Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny which is Ireland's oldest operating brewery. Smithwick's Irish Ale is a smooth red ale with a distinct caramel flavor. If you've never considered yourself a "beer daredevil" and prefer to not have your mind blown at the over abundance of crazy flavor combinations each time you take a sip, I'd recommend this one. Not trying to take anything away from this fine beer, as it did make it into my "top 5" list but it is more mild than the other beers featured here.
3. Guinness Extra Stout - I'd venture to say that Guinness is probably the most popular and well-know of the Irish beers in America. When poured into a traditional pint glass Guinness appears black but is actually dark brown in color. The head is thick and creamy and the flavor almost has a coffee essence to it. In Ireland the Guinness is usually served closer to room temp. More than likely you'll be served a cold stout but I recommend you try it a little warmer as I prefer it that way.
4.Harp Lager - Brewed by the Guinness Brewery in Dublin Ireland, Harp is what is known as a Vienna-style Irish lager. Crisp and dry with a slight aroma of grain, Harp finishes smooth with a light, buttery aftertaste. It is Northern Ireland’s number one lager. Harp is also on of two ingredients used to make one of my favorite match-ups, the Black & Tan!
5. Murphy's Irish Red - Brewed in Cork, Ireland, Murphy's Irish Red has a nice balanced hop flavor with a little sweetness. It's not as harsh as some Irish reds can be.
So have fun this St. Patrick's Day and more importantly, enjoy your beer!