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Six craft beers to drink for St. Patrick's Day

March 13, 2013|By John Verive
  • Craft beer makers produce excellent examples of dry stouts and red ales.
Craft beer makers produce excellent examples of dry stouts and red ales. (Flickr )

This lucky year, St. Patrick's Day falls on the weekend, and only the Super Bowl is a better excuse for devoting your Sunday to some serious day-drinking.  While Guinness is the obvious choice for a brew to spend your day with, why not try some craft beers this year instead?

There are a few things to look for in a St. Patty's day beer. A sessionable brew -- one that is both light enough in body to not fill you up and low enough in alcohol to not knock you over -- that you can raise a few pints of is a good idea. And because the day is ostensibly about celebrating Irish culture, why not stick to historically appropriate beer styles?

Guinness is the archetypal dry Irish stout, and there are plenty of craft options that can offer the similar roasted flavors and drinkability.

Moylans Brewery in Navato makes Dragoons Stout -- a slightly richer example of the style.

A local option would be Beachwood BBQ and Brewing's Bulldog Irish Stout. Bulldog should be on nitrogen taps -- like Guinness -- around town for the holiday, and the nitro imbues the beer with a creamy texture and the thick head of cascading bubbles that Guinness is known for.

Solidarity by Eagle Rock Brewery is another great local option, and though it isn't a stout -- the brewers call it a "dark mild" --  it does exhibit the rich flavors of roasted coffee and chocolate common in stouts. Solidarity is a very quaffable 3.8% ABV, and it is also offered on nitro taps -- and occasionally spiked with vanilla beans. Either way, Solidarity makes a great match for shepherd's pie or corned beef and cabbage.

The Irish red ale is an alternative style if you're not in the mood for the roasted, often bitter flavors of stouts on St. Patrick's Day. Smithwicks -- brewed by Guinness -- is a common example, and the beer's amber color and slightly sweet and malty flavor defines the style.

Moylans Brewery also makes a craft version of the Irish Red called Danny's Irish Style Red Ale, and Karl Strauss makes the lauded Red Trolley.

Taps Fish House & Brewery in Orange County makes a gold medal-winning Taps Irish Red that exemplifies the easy-drinking style (and goes great with some fish and chips).

What's your go-to brew for St. Patty's Day revelry? Will you stick to the Irish standards or branch out into the world of craft beers Sunday?

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