St. Patrick’s Day – the one day when all of us are a little Irish. So, the real question is, what beer should you celebrate with? There’s the usual suspects (no offense meant, we’d drink these in a heartbeat) Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s, but we’re here to expand your mind and your palette with a list of local craft beer options.
It’s a simple question; one without a simple answer. If you need help deciding on your adult libations for the big day, let us, let these words, help put your mind at ease. These beers aren’t fizzy and green. Like the article titles suggests, we’re beyond artificially dyed lagers. We have compiled a list of the area’s best Irish-inspired beer to enjoy on Paddy’s Day. Actually, these beers would probably be great year-round, but we digress.
12 Gates Brewing Dry Irish Stout (4.1% ABV): Loads of soft roast, dark chocolate and a satisfying creamy texture. This one is light at 4.1%, so you can safely enjoy a few pints as you celebrate. It’s also available on Nitro at the brewery for that added velvety softness.
42 North Brewing Fenian’s Rising Milk Stout (4.8%): A sessionable stout that features milk chocolate character and graham cracker aromas. 42 North is also dropping a new Irish Red Ale (5%) for the holiday this year. The new brew is an easy drinking traditional red ale that’s malt-focused with an intentional sweetness and a roasted dry finish.
Big Ditch Brewing Galaxy Red (7%): “Not a traditional Irish Red by any means, although it does have a nice malt backbone,” Big Ditch says, “it mixes that maltiness with tropical hop flavors like pineapple, mango, and papaya from the Australian Galaxy hops used. A nice hoppy alternative this St. Patrick’s Day!”
Buffalo Brewing Company 1841 Irish Red (6%): Named in honor of the year the first Irish Mayor Isaac Harrington was elected and brewed with 100% Irish Malt and 100% English Target Hops. If you grab some at the brewery, make sure you grab a pint from their British Anagram Hand Pull Beer engine.
Flying Bison Aviator Red (5.25% ABV): Aviator Irish Red Ale is an obvious choice. It’s a true Buffalo beer institution. Aviator is one of Flying Bison’s original beers from 2000 when they opened on Ontario Street. It’s a tribute to one of their founders, Larry “Red” Mrozek who passed away before the brewery opened.
Hamburg Brewing Irish Red (4.8%): Smooth, malty and just the right amount of roasted, Hamburg’s Irish Red is a must-drink for St. Patrick’s Day. “Our Irish Red Ale stands with tradition as a smooth malty ale backed by a good dusting of roasted barley, just like the ones across the pond. So even if you are not Irish, you can still drink like it,” the brewery says of their Irish-inspired beer.
Old First Ward Red Clover (5.5%): “Our Red Clover is an Irish Red that breaks the mold of the mass-marketed malty beers you commonly see,” OFW says of the brew. “We balance a mild malt sweetness with a nice roastiness to make a very drinkable beer.”
Pressure Drop Brewing Pitter Patter Red IPA (6.5%): Because of course this list needed another IPA, especially a nice and malty red one. It’s light and crisp with a fully bodied crisp finish and just the right hint of red to it.
Resurgence Brewing Irish Breakfast Ale (5.2%) and Imperial Irish Breakfast Ale (9.5% ABV): Both feature a red ale with notes of maple, coffee and smoked meat. The imperial version has been aged to pump up those flavors. Its higher alcohol content makes it a perfect sipper. Both are available at our taproom and at local beer sellers, but supplies are limited.
West Shore Brewing Lehigh Irish Red (5.3%): Hopped with Northern Brewer and local Cascade, this beer will be malty sweet with a nice crispness to it. This locally sourced brew is also made with malt from Batavia’s New York Craft Malt and Niagara Craft Malt.
In the words of a traditional Irish blessing, ‘May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.’
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter at @buffbeerleague, on Instagram at @buffalobeerleague and on Facebook at @thebuffalobeerleague.