Ok, we’re not Irish. But, like many, we have great reverence for their culture, and envy the true Irish on March 17th. Come St. Patrick’s Day, we all partake in Irish-style festivity and relish in the rampant beer drinking. This is the day everyone feels free to sing in the pub at the top of their lungs. The day mismatched green clothes are a welcome sight. The day even newbie beer drinkers who fear dark brews down a pint of Guinness with delight.
But St Patrick’s day isn’t just about how many pints you can slam, below are a few tidbits you can carry with you into the pub in case you want to pass for Irish – ish…
1) St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in England, kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave, and then escaped back to England. Later, he chose to return to Ireland of his own free will to work as an ordained Bishop. He did not, however, banish snakes from the country, as has been told in tall tales. There are no snakes in Ireland, but there never were.
2) ‘Black and Tan’ is an offensive term in Ireland. The ‘Black and Tans’ referred to the Royal Irish Constabulary forces sent into Ireland by the British to supress the Irish Revolution. So it’s not exactly a festive term in that country. If you’d like to order a Black and Tan on St. Patty’s day, ask for a Half and Half; half Irish lager, half Irish stout.
3) How do you tell if a four leaf clover is actually real? Check the fourth leaf. It will be smaller than the other three. So don’t get bamboozled by imitations!
4) Everyone should know at least two Irish toasts to share with friends at the pub, here are two of our favorites:
"May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live."
"May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The foresight to know where you're going,
And the insight to know when you've gone too far."
5) Though Irish Stouts are dark in color, they are not huge beers with high alcohol content. The dark color comes from the roast level of the malt used in the brewing process. Guinness is actually fairly low in alcohol, around 5-6%. And it is a not a very bitter beer, far less bitter than many American Pale Ales. So don’t judge a beer by its color!!
6) Yes, Guinness is the favorite on St. Patty’s Day, but there are lots of craft-brewed Irish-style beers! Many local breweries across the nation brew Irish Stouts and Irish Red ales, so honor the Irish influence on local culture by drinking an Irish-style brew made nearby. Here are a few of our favorites:
Moylan’s Dragoons Dry Irish Stout – Moylan’s Brewing Company, Novato, CA. Dry Irish Stout with classic coffee and chocolate notes. 5% abv.
Taps Irish Red - Taps Fishouse and Brewery, Brea, CA. Malty beer with hints of nuts, biscuit and tea, slightly sweet finish. 5.3% abv.
Portsmouth Black Cat Stout - Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, NH. Bold coffee notes with hints of smoke and layers of dark fruit notes. 5.5% abv.
Donnybrook Stout - Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA. Roasted malt notes with hints of toffee dark chocolate. Creamy but mellow. 3.7% abv.
Brian Boru Old Irish Red – Three Floyds Brewing Company, Munster, IN. Fresh notes of pine, citrus and a sweet caramel background. 5.5% abv.