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10 Stouts Worth Trying Before St. Patrick's Day

Tickers in this article: DEO

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- You still have a little time before Diageo-Guinness and every bar with a cardboard shamrock in the window try to convince you there's only one stout on tap in these United States. With all respect to Arthur Guinness, that's just nonsense.

First off, stout and St. Patrick's Day don't have a whole lot to do with each other. We've said it before and we'll say it again, there is no "official beer of St. Patrick's Day." It's a religious holiday that has no more traditional ties to beer than Hannukah or Halloween do.

Even if St. Patrick's Day did have an official beer, Guinness wouldn't be it. That nitrogenated dry stout Guinness touts this time each year has more than 150 years of Irish tradition behind it, but makes up less than 1% of the U.S. beer market and is less than a third of the beer drunk in Ireland. Ask folks at a pub in Galway what they'll have, and nearly two times out of three they'll answer with Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser, Stella Artois, Carlsberg, Heineken or some other light lager.

Also, while we're very sure Guinness stout is Irish, we're not so sure it's actually stout. Arthur Guinness' original recipe for Guinness Stout was originally his Extra Superior Porter. True porters didn't return until the initial American craft beer boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s. To this day, judges at beer competitions insist stouts are darker, use roasted barley and less water than porters. Unfortunately, even brewers and beer experts don't believe there's much separating porters and stouts beyond what a brewer decides to call them.

All of that said, this is an absolutely fantastic time of year for stouts. There's still a chill in the air and a craving for something malty in U.S. beer glasses. There are also a whole lot of stouts out there to get the job done. Here are just 10 that fit the bill: