Beer drinkers are crazy about St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday has, over time, lost it’s religious meaning and has been replaced with an incredible party tradition. While the color green historically represented the shamrock St. Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity to the Celts, it is now the color that is worn and that beer, rivers and even food are dyed. While excited celebrators often reach for the well-known Guinness, I’m here to enlighten you to the fact that there are other stouts that give you a more authentic Irish drinking experience.
Dublin has Guinness and, yes, it is world-famous for a reason. But head 135 miles (215 kilometers) southwest and you arrive in Cork, the hometown of Beamish and Murphy’s. These two less-famous stouts definitely stand up to Guinness, but retain their own unique flavor that keeps locals coming back for more.
If you want a stout with a tiny hint of spiciness to it, check out Beamish. A slightly smokier flavor than Guinness, this is not for the lighthearted. It reminds me of rich Italian espresso and it’s unique flavor will keep your taste buds tingling with excitement. If you don’t like Guinness, you probably won’t like Beamish as it has more of a burnt flavor. If Guinness isn’t quite enough for you, Beamish might very well be your cup of tea, so to speak.
Murphy’s creaminess hits the spot. Made without carbonation and reminiscent of rich chocolate milk or iced coffee, Murphy’s goes down smooth. If you want a stout that’s easy to drink, but not Guinness, this is a great option.
Of course, beer isn’t for everyone and Irish stouts aren’t always crowd pleasers. If you want another option for St. Patrick’s Day, get yourself a Magners Irish Cider. Imagine Martinelli’s cider with alcohol. Delicious. It’s easy to find outside of Ireland (within Ireland, it goes by it’s original name of Bulmers) and is generally cheaper than other imported ciders. Magners was my go-to drink at picnics in the summer. While I was visiting Ireland, Magers came out with a pear cider (delicious) and have since released a berry cider. I’ve also found the English cider Strongbow in the States, but I’m always saddened by it as you can get it in a 2 liter plastic bottle in London for a few pounds (less than $4.50) and it’s considered a lower quality, cheap cider. Definitely seek out Magners and don’t settle for Strongbow!!!
Those who go in search of Guinness in Ireland and on St. Patrick’s Day are missing out on a lot. Beamish and Murphy’s definitely rival Guinness, but hold their own unique flavors. If you want to drink Irish, but you don’t like stouts, Irish ciders are a fine option. While Beamish is probably my favorite Irish stout, I haven’t found it in the States yet, so this St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be drinking Magners and remembering the places I enjoyed it in my 5 weeks in Ireland.
For my recommendations on German beers, check out my post 3 of My Favorite Beers in Germany.