The Holiest Day of All

Friday, March 17, 2006


Dear Lord, it's Saint Patrick's Day!!!

What better way to celebrate what amounts to Christmas, New Years Eve and my Birthday all rolled into one than with a special Irish Edition of Around the Keg? There is no better way.

1) Guinness Extra Stout. This is the Most Holy Beer that started it all for me. This beer was my savior from the shallow, insipid life of Bud Light and Miller I was leading. So much barley died for my previous beer-related sins in this beer. Hold it. Revere it. Drink it. Forget red wine during mass; Guinness is truly the Blood.

2) Beamish Irish Stout. As creamy as Guinness Extra Stout, but slightly less coffee-ish. Pours right down the throat. You've had 6 before you realize it.

3) O'Hara's Celtic Stout. In America, Celts (pronounced Seltics) play basketball. In Ireland, the Celts (pronounced Kelts) painted their faces blue, killed the English for fun (till that BASTARD Cromwell) and now...brew amazing beer. This has a thick, creamy head, and plenty of that lovely roasted barley/coffee smell. Dark, dry, slightly bitter with sharp carbonation. Much closer to what Irish stouts actually are.

4) Murphy's Irish Stout. Another legendary Irish beer. You get that slightly watery, very creamy feel from the little nitro widget in the can to replicate the smooth draught pull you get in Ireland. Not as bitter as Guinness, with more of a toffee undertone to it. Another beer where you've suddenly just had 8 without knowing it.

5) Smithwick's Ale. Pronounced "smitticks" around the Emerald Isle, this is dark brown, with amber highlights and a thin head. Malt sweetness dominates, with more than a bit of caramel. While not an Irish favorite, it keeps the English alestyle drinkers happy. I think they plan to invade England by keeping people satiated with this beer. Can't invade with an army? Keep 'em drunk.

6) Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. Nice deep coppery red that settles in a glass like Guinness with that dramatic cascading-bubble effect. Toffee, pears and caramel. Creamy smooth and worth the slam. A common theme among Irish beers: they are sneaky. All of them seem to intice you to quaff 6 or more before you realize you've done it.

7) O'Hara's Irish Red. Dark ruby amber with a slightly tan head. Malty smell with a faint fruit tartness. Big malt up front tempered decently with a lingering bitterness and a little hint of smoked peat in the background, like that lovely smell from Irish fireplaces.

8) Harp Lager. This is brewed by Guinness. The folks in Ireland are not big fans of Harp, which is essentially an American-style macro lager. They did it to corner even more of the market share in the world than they already have, which is close to being a rival to Bud. Drink it because it's Irish.

9) Belhaven Scottish Ale. Okay, so St. Patrick wasn't Scottish, but the Irish and Scots share a strong Celtic heritage, many traditions and a mutual distrust of their closest neighbors. Dark brown, nearly red, with sweet malt and smoked peat smells. Same taste, but finishes nice and dry with just a hint of that smoked peat flavor you find in good scotches. Yummy.

10) Skullsplitter. What an awesome name. Named after a Scotsman who whipped some serious ass. Has a picture on the bottle of a guy in a winged helmet with a big sword. This beer tastes like that. Drink two of these, and Mr. Skullsplitter will come a-visiting. Huge robust dark-roasted malt flavor with tons of smoked peat. Not for the weak.

So there you have it. A collection of the finest offering from the Celts. Enjoy St. Patrick's Day as irresponsibly as possible. How a man who brought Christianity to Ireland came to mean a day of drunken bacchanal I will never understand, but whatever.

2 comments:

Sopor,  9:44 AM  

Yea! St Patty's Day! I can't wait! I've got a bottle of Great Lakes BC Conway's Irish Ale http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/73/5096/ to drink tonight, but I think the rest will be Scotch Ales and Wee Heavy's, I am Scottish after all!

Otto Man 2:47 PM  

Skull Splitter! That's outstanding.

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