Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and while for some that might mean getting wasted on dubious green beer, for me it’s an opportunity to pay homage to one of the many cultures that make up my heritage. I mean, I’ll still wear green, but I won’t wear one of those head bands with the little clovers on springs. Moderation, people.
Here are some beverages on my weekend sample menu. If you’re feeling particularly celebratory or, like me, have some Irish blood in there somewhere, I encourage you to give these a go.
$2.50 for a 500mL can
From the Guinness company, Smithwick’s is a robust red Irish Ale. It’s smooth but has a bit of a hoppy bite on the finish – if you’re more of a lager or saison person this beer might not be for you. That being said it’s a great alternative if you want something with more body, a bit of a bite, or just a change from the more famous Irish imports like Guinness or Harp.
Kilkenny Traditional Cream Ale
$11.10 for 4 500mL cans
Kilkenny is another favourite Irish beer of mine. Unlike Canadian cream ales, Kilkenny has a ton of body and flavour to boot. It’s super creamy and has a thick head that stays for days and always reminds me a little of whipped cream or maybe creme fraiche. Sometimes I’ll order it in a slightly-dingy-feeling pub and pretend I’m back in the UK.
$2.80 for a 500mL can
Well, Magner’s is a cider, so right away it’s a great lighter alternative if you’re not much of a beer drinker. It’s especially delicious over ice on a hot summer day, but I think it’s worthy of a bump up to March too. Plus, they make pear cider too!
Beau’s Strong Patrick
$7.95 for a 600mL bottle
So Strong Patrick is not Irish, but rather an interpretation of an Irish red ale from Ontario-based craft brew kings Beau’s Brewery. It’s a bit stronger than most mass market beers at 6.7% and has been aged in barrels, both things giving the beer great depth of flavour and lots of warmth. This beer is pretty much a lovely, malty Irish-y beer-hug. Not sure what I mean? Give the beer a try and you’ll get it.
$34.95 for a 750mL bottle
You didn’t think I was going to miss talking about Irish whisky, did you? Generally speaking, Irish whiskies are smoother and softer than their Scottish counterparts, which makes them a good go-to option for most whisky drinkers. If you’re looking for a stronger way to celebrate Ireland in all its glory I recommend Jameson. It’s popular for a reason – it’s smooth and gentle but still has enough flavour to be interesting.
How will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?