International Spotlight Ireland

guinesstoucanWith St Patrick’s day coming up I felt now would be a good time to pay homage to the unique beers of Ireland. When most people think Irish beer It conjures up images of Guinness and the green Budweiser that we serve in the states. The reality though is that Ireland’s beer culture is far richer then that. Ireland is known for the maltiness of their beers and the roasty flavors they have, rather then the hop flavors of American craft beers. The reason for this is that hops are not native to Ireland and the change to them was slow. Because hops weren’t traditionally used many of their beers get their bitterness from the roasted grains. Ironically Ireland owes much of it’s history in beer to England. The stouts that we attribute to the Irish are actually English in origin. Another misconception is that everyone in Ireland drinks stout. Although stout once was the more common a long time ago it’s been overtaken by lagers. Generally Ireland’s traditional beers are broken down in three groups, Irish reds, stouts, and lagers.

Irish Reds –Usually these will have malty flavors and a bit of roastiness. Murphy’s and Smithwick’s are good examples

Stouts –These are gonna have that bitterness from the grain with coffee and chocolate malt flavors. If you can, try Murphy’s or O’Hara’s. If those aren’t available you can go with the classic roastier Guinness, or thicker maltier Beamish.

Lagers – For most people in the states there is only one Irish lager, and that’s Harp. These lagers should have a bitterness up front, followed by a smooth finish.

If you want to get creative with your beer many Irish pubs in the states will serve some interesting beer mixers.

Black and Tan –Half stout and half ale. The beer stays separate giving it a cool look

Shandy – This is simply beer and lemonade. The combination isn’t as weird as it sounds

Black Velvet –If you really want to celebrate this one might be your choice. It’s Guinness and Champagne.

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One Response to “International Spotlight Ireland”

  1. Carlos says:

    I love my poor man’s version of a Black and Tan, a half glass of Black Butte Porter and half of Mirror Pond….my mouth is watering just thinking of it!

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