Ireland is beautiful country. It’s rich with rolling green fields, grazing sheep, and automobiles hugging tight windy curves. There’s also bajillion little dreamy pubs, warm and cozy, where thirsty patrons congregate to drink, chat and listen to small three-piece bands comprised of a hand drum, violin and a guitar. And most importantly, they can drink Irish beer without irony on St. Paddy’s Day unlike the rest of us slobs. Here are seven of the best Irish beers that you can enjoy on March 17 without feeling like an imposter in bright green attire.
Smithwick’s Irish Ale
If you take one lesson rom this list, let it be this: this beer is pronounced Smitt’icks. Not Smith-wicks. Okay? Take a moment and just internalize that. Okay, got it? This ale is easy drinking and a favorite of Irish townspeople from Dublin to Killarney.
Murphy’s Irish Stout
When you think of a stout, you often think of something one step away from a rye loaf. But Murphy’s is softer, fluffy and sweet. While the brewery is considered one of the Big Three in Ireland, it’s making headway in the States.
Killian’s Irish Red
Originally brewed in Ireland in 1864, the beer is named after George Killian Lett. It’s a perfectly balanced red, dry with a kick of hops, that, when compared to most reds, leaves you satisfied and not thinking you just ate candy.
This one’s strong (7.8%). It has to be to live up to its playful name. This dark ale — is it more of a Stout? A Red Ale? Who cares, it’s delicious! — is just plain good. And while the beer isn’t from Ireland (it’s made by Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg, WA), it offers a loving nod to the world’s most renowned drinkers.
Classic. Leave it to the Irish to create a delicious beer for the people. Harp is everywhere in Ireland and with good reason. It’s crisp, flavorful and damn near perfect.
Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
Killkenney is one of those Irish towns with pubs on ever block and music flying out every window. The Irish Cream Ale is velvety and puts a smile on your face like a delicate violin solo.
No surprise here. The world’s most famous Irish beer is dark, creamy but lighter in ABV (only 4.1%) and don’t let anyone else tell you it’s not! If you get a chance to travel to Dublin, check out the Guinness brewery. The top floor is a view to remember.