Just in time for America’s favorite “reason” to drink Jameson before noon, we’ve welcomed a second Certified Cicerone® to the DrinkTanks team! We tapped Marketing Director Caroline Macdonell for her thoughts on a favorite Irish-style brew for your upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
St. Patrick’s Day is surrounded by lore and legend, but my favorite historical tidbit is that it’s a religious holiday that miraculously turned into an occasion to drink your weight in beer and paint your face like a culturally offensive Green Goblin-Braveheart love child. Probably not what the Pope intended, and to me, we certainly don’t need the excuse of a holiday to enjoy a good beer anyway. While I’ll admit to wearing green and attending a March 17th parade (or eleven), it’s always been purely for science.
Yes, of course. You’re following me. The scientific study of how to best enjoy Irish beers.
When it comes to choosing a St. Patrick’s Day pint, everyone thinks of stouts. Namely, the iconic Guinness Draught Stout. It is the foundational Irish stout, and yes! It does, in fact, taste better in Ireland.
Since it’s likely that many of you have previously ordered a Guinness this time of year, let’s expand our palate beyond St. James Gate and pay a visit to our friends over in Kilkenny at Smithwick Brewery. It’s sad to say, but I hadn’t enjoyed Ireland’s most consumed ale in many years. I suppose I got a little spoiled during my time in Cleveland, Ohio where Conway’s Irish Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Company flows like water from January through March. But when I decided to kick it old school on St. Pat’s this year, the traditional Smithwick’s seemed like the perfect pour.
A note to my Hop Head friends: I encourage you to invite the delicious, biscuity dance of malt flavor into your world. If not this Import, check your local brewery’s tap list for their version! You can return to your regularly scheduled IPAs after March 17th, and I promise a Red won’t clash with your green and white striped knee-high socks and giant felt leprechaun hat.
Smithwick’s Red Ale
ABV: 4.5% IBU: 20 SRM: 12
Smithwick’s Red Ale pours as advertised with a nice ruby red, amber color and offers up a sturdy, creamy head with excellent clarity in the glass. It produces aromas of roasted malt, wheat bread, subtle notes of fruit, and only a mild floral hop note. The flavor aligns with the nose with sweet roasted malt and caramel. A nice wheat bread crust flavor steals the show before a hint of fruit and a very slight floral bitter finish finish out the profile. There is a crisp and dry, yet sweet mouthfeel with medium body and moderate carbonation.
Suggested Food Pairing: Your favorite American Domestic Lager with a dash of green food coloring. It is St. Patrick’s Day after all!