8 Irish beers to imbibe on St. Patrick’s Day

Not all beers consumed on St. Pat’s should be dyed green. If you’re bouncing around town during this leprechaun- and corned beef-infested booze fest, open your eyes to the stellar local Irish-inspired beer game St. Louis has brewed. Look for malt-forward flavor profiles dominated by a key ingredient: roasted barley – the unmalted, husk-on, heavily kilned grain.

Irish red ales like Killian’s or Smithwick’s are Ireland’s response to the British bitter – more malt with less focus on the hop bittering. Amber red in color and clear, Irish reds tend to use a touch of roasted barley in the malt bill to add color and a slight nuttiness to the overall flavor profile.

Urban Chestnut Powell 50 is a lovely rendition of this style with delicate notes of biscuit, tea and citrus, while Mark Twain Rambler’s Red Ale is more Americanized with a touch of chocolate malt to give it a light Tootsie Roll nose and more substantial chocolaty malt backbone.

Guinness isn’t the only Irish dry stout you should look for this St. Patrick’s Day. These dark, opaque beers appear heavier than they are and are easily comparable to cold brew coffee. Six Mile Bridge Beer has a medal-winning Irish dry stout that boasts the classic roasted coffee character all Irish stouts strive for with a lovely bittersweet chocolate and a hint of smoke on the finish. Looking for that nitro fix, a la tradition? Urban Chestnut O’Florian is creamy as can be with rich coffee notes all around and an impeccable dry finish.

Not as sessionable as the Irish dry stout, foreign export, or extra stouts, change the game with a significantly heavier malt bill and a much larger addition of hops, creating a beer with fantastic body, a slightly warming booze character and strong notes of roasted coffee and bitter chocolate from all that dark, heavy grain. Urban Chestnut Kinsale completes this style with notes of vanilla and a touch of tropical fruit on the nose, while Civil Life Extra Stout boasts a lovely herbaceous aroma full of licorice.

Finally, if you find yourself in St. Peters or Wentzville this weekend, stop by Third Wheel Brewing Co. for a pint of Green Beer Irish Dry Stout or Friendship Brewing Co. for Celtic Blood Irish Red AleSláinte and be safe, St. Louis!

Katie Herrera is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and account manager at Craft Republic.