Walk into your local liquor store and you could be forgiven for thinking St. Patrick’s Day was created by Guinness. It’s the day for Ireland’s favorite beer to shine—and 13 million pints of the stout will be consumed in those 24 hours.
There’s nothing wrong with Guinness, of course. (It’s delicious!) Nor is there anything wrong with Jameson, Ireland’s best known whisky. But if you want to have a St. Paddy’s Day celebration that stands out from the crowd, there are a few other options available to you.
Here are a few you might not have been aware of.
O’Hara’s Irish Stout: Made by one of Ireland’s first craft brewers, this is an incredibly smooth, easy-drinking stout. It’s full-bodied and boasts a flavor profile that leans most heavily on the roasted, smoky flavors of the malt. You’ll pick up the slight hint of espresso, but not enough that it’s distracting. It has a crisp, dry finish that will leave you eager for more.
Murphy’s Irish Red: Currently owned by Heinekin, Murphy’s is increasing the size of its footprint through the U.S. with many strong offerings. The Irish Red is a good choice for St. Patrick’s Day, with a dry, crisp, hoppy taste and plenty of carbonation. It’s a good choice for those who want to celebrate, but aren’t fans of stouts.
Kinnegar Brewing Scraggy Bay: This IPA’s going to be difficult to find, but if you get your hands on it, guard it jealously. Kennegar is a fairly young craft brewer based out of County Donegal that specializes in farmhouse ales. Their saisons are well done, but Scraggy Bay, a hoppy golden ale, is their most popular, offering citrus and floral notes all riding atop of slight bitterness.
Knappogue Castle 12 Year: Prefer Irish whisky to beer? A boutique distillery with U.S. distribution, Knappogue’s signature single malt spends 12 years in bourbon barrels. It’s crisp with hints of both fruit and pepper and is good both neat and on the rocks. It’s a wonderful find for the discerning whisky enthusiast.
Bushmills Red Bush Irish Whiskey: Sometimes, you’re looking for a good whisky on a budget. Red Bush offers a quality taste for just $20 to $25 per bottle. The bourbon barrel profile is harder to pick out, but you’ll get a nice biscuity body with tropical fruit notes. There’s a spice to this one that might take some people off guard, but it’s a good blend that’s fine on its own or even better in cocktails.