10 St. Patrick's Day Beers as Irish as Guinness
DUBLIN -- ( MainStreet) -- No, everybody isn't Irish on St. Patrick's Day, and neither is their beer.
St. Patrick's Day continues to walk the fine line between religious holiday, celebration of Irish heritage and reason for everyone else who isn't associated with either the church or Ireland to buy or sell beer. Last March, U.S. brewers alone produced nearly 17.7 million barrels of beer just to meet demand, according to the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. That was the most beer brewed in March since 2006.
But is any beer really "Irish?" George Killian's Irish Red has "Irish" right there in the name, but it has little to do with the Irish red ale George Killian produced in Ireland from 1864 to 1956. After Killian's brewery closed, his brand name was passed on to a French brewery and, eventually, to the folks at Coors. It's now part of the Molson Coors (TAP) empire and doesn't brew a drop on Irish soil.
Guinness, meanwhile, has more than 250 years of history behind the doors of its St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin, but is now part of U.K.-based Diageo(DEO) . The Guinness family still owns 51% of the brewery itself, but the brand is just one among several in a multinational corporation's stable.
What can we divine from these two examples? Well, if you want to be considered Irish, it helps to keep producing your product in Ireland. All of Guinness' Irish and U.K. production still comes out of Dublin, the brewery still stands and the attached Guinness Storehouse still serves as a museum to the beer's humble beginnings and heritage.
It also helps to keep producing a low-alcohol product that won't have you stumbling out the door after long sessions at the pub. At the very least, it should have something in its makeup, character or even heritage that would make it at home in an Irish pub. We've pored (and poured) though the options and found 10 beers as Irish as Guinness for your St. Patrick's Day enjoyment:
One of the Big Three Irish stouts along with Guinness and the next stout on our list, Murphy's is a lighter, sweeter alternative. If that only makes a drinker want more of it, Murphy's highly sessionable 4% alcohol by volume should remove any fears of a nasty hangover by night's end.
Murphy's history in Ireland stretches back to 1856, when it was brewed at a facility known as Lady's Well Brewery. The name changed to Murphy's Brewery in 1983 when the company was bought by Heineken International . Even after the big-beer takeover, Murphy's remained the less-bitter alternative to a Guinness and is most likely to be the stout on tap in a non-Guinness pub.