While countless pubs across North America will undoubtedly be serving green tinged pints of North American lager this St. Patrick’s Day, most loyal Irish men and women will be raising a glass of their own to toast the day.
Irish beer is synonymous with Guinness, but there is actually a full colour spectrum of brews produced on the Emerald Isle. While Stout continues to be Ireland’s most exported beer style, the Irish themselves now consume almost twice as much lager.
Irish Lagers: Harp Stays Sharp
The first lager brewery in Ireland dates back to the late 19th century, but quickly disappeared. It was only when Harp Brewery entered onto the stage in the 1960s that Irish lager gained a foothold in the market. Don’t expect anything distinctively Irish about the flavour of Harp. The brand emerged in an era when breweries were looking to create new brands to compete with the influx of euro-lagers. Expect to find crisp, clean flavours with a little more malt and hop profile than standard American lagers.
Irish Red Ale: Ireland’s Oldest Ale
While Guinness may stake claim to Ireland’s most famous brew, Irish Red Ales have been made for longer. Irish Red Ales have been produced continuously since 1710, more than 40 years before Guinness opened its doors. The style is known for its mild caramel, toffee-like malt character, somewhat creamy palate and relatively mild hop bitterness. The easy-going nature of Irish Red Ales has made the style a popular entry point for consumers making the move from lager to ale.
Irish Dry Stout: A Lovely Day…
It’s always a lovely day for a Guinness. The beer is so dominant that it in many ways is the definition of the Irish Dry Stout category. Irish Dry Stouts offer coffee and roasted notes on and boast a creamy palate, highlighted by low carbonation levels and a dry finish.