Thirsty Thursday: Irish Beers

I hope we all made it through St. Patrick’s Day unscathed and with great memories and good times. Miles and I had a pretty calm day (though it was wet because it rained unexpectedly and that wasn’t fun considering it was cold rain and I was in shorts and a tank top), but I still managed to enjoy some Irish style beers.

That said, I thought we’d look at the two traditional beer styles that come out of Ireland: the dry stout and the Irish red. We all know two extremely popular Irish beers, both produced in Dublin: Guinness (a dry stout) and Smithwick’s (an Irish red). We can all imagine how much of these beers were had last weekend on St. Paddy’s Day itself (I may have had one of each). Rather than me trying to rehash what people much more informed than me have already put together, I present this list of links instead.

  • Forget Green Beer. This article covers some history behind both styles and also gives examples of American craft beers brewed in the same styles (including the Thomas Creek River Falls Red Ale out of Greenville). Red ale appears to have a background shrouded in a loss of history.
  • Wikipedia: Beer in Ireland. Of course, what’s an attempt to use reliable links without Wikipedia? This page includes lagers in its styles of Irish beers and also talks about beers that are Irish-themed, but not actually produced in Ireland (like Killian’s, which is owned by Coors).
  • A History of Beer in Ireland. This article focuses mostly on the history of the dry stout and Guinness. (This site looks like it would be excellent for anyone looking to research places and things to do before going to Ireland, too.)
  • History of Irish Beer. This is a short little article, but I included it because it makes reference to an ancient brewing recipe found during an archaeological dig in an old brewery. It also talks about Gruit, which is something I’ve never heard of.
  • Irish Red Ale. For the homebrewers and for a thorough analysis of what actually goes into an Irish red ale, this is what you’re looking for. This page covers history, what judges look for in competition, and tips for brewing an Irish Red.

I have only had a handful of both of these styles, surprisingly. I thought I had imbibed more, but apparently not. Here’s what I’ve had:

Happily, I have actually gotten some American craft beer styles of each. I’ll have to be on the look out for one more dry stout to try so I can have five under my belt. Anyone have any recommendations?


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