This St. Patty's day as you step up to the bar to order your half stout half pale lager or pale ale concoction, please don't order a 'Black 'n' Tan'. Yes the bartender may not spit in your eye, but if he or she is a true Irishman or woman, they may be cursing you under their breath, albeit with an accent as smooth as butter.
We're used to that phrase as it has become the norm in America for the lovely pint of a counterintuitive beautiful beer mixture where the dark thick stout sits atop a lighter honey-coloured lager or pale ale. But most people think the name only refers to that color combo, and don't know that the 'Black 'n' tan' can also refer to a piece of history upsetting to many an Irish-person.
The 'Black and Tans' in Ireland are a reference to the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force which was engaged in the 1920s in active supression of the revolution in Ireland. Employed by the Queen of England and made up of WWI vets from England and Scotland, the force was supposed to focus on fighting the infamous IRA, (Irish Republican Army), but instead became famous for attacking Irish civillians.
Obviously this is not a part of history one wants to recall when celebrating Irish pride and heritage on St. Patty's day. In Ireland it's popular to drink a half stout half Irish Red ale, called a 'Pint of Special' – a drink that's all Irish and no bad memories. In the U.S. if you'd like a half Harp half Guinness concoction, ask for a 'Half and Half' – but specify what you want, as a 'Half and Half' can also refer to a half cold half warm Guinness, supposedly the perfect temperature for the beer.
This St. Patrick's Day, let go, drink up and mix away, just keep the 'Black and Tan' out of it. And maybe forgo the politically incorrect Irish Car Bombs too….
We were lucky enough to be asked back to Latitude 33 lofts to do a little pre-St. Patty’s day beer tasting, where we’ll be drinking some fun and delicious Irish and Irish inspired beers! So come on by for a wee-bit of beer and taste some luck of the Irish. And don’t worry, we Beer Chicks haven’t sold out! You won’t be drinking any green-dyed fizzy yellow water! Irish style craft beer is sophisticated, layered, rich, well-balanced and delicious!
Check out the awesome beers we’ll be tasting:
Moylan’s Irish Style Red Ale, Novato, CA – A true Irish style Red. Classic tea-like barley nuttiness, low in hop bitterness. Ruby red color with notes of caramel.
Smithwick’s Irish Amber, Kilkenny, Ireland – Kilkenny monks inspired John Smithwick to start this brewery in 1710. Notes of toasted biscuits with a hint of coffee and hops. Red color with a clean finish.
Moylan’s Dragoons Dry Irish Stout, Novato, CA – A dry Irish stout named after General Stephen Moylan, Irish-born commander of the 4th Continental Dragoons during the American Revolutionary War. Notes of coffee and chocolate with a dry finish.
Deschutes Green Lakes Beer, Bend, OR – Our ‘Green’ beer for St. Patrick’s Day – Instead of food coloring, this time the green refers to the organic ingredients that make up this amber-colored ale. Crisp and refreshing hop bite with notes of fruit and pine. 5.2% ABV.
Where: Latitude 33, 330 Washington BLVD.
When: Wednesday, March 16, 7-9PM
If you plan to be authentic this St. Patty's day and embed yourself within the Irish culture, you will need to prepare yourself for multiple pints, order up a Boxty and some Soda Bread, and have a basic understanding of Irish pub slang. Believe us, you don't want to misinterpret a real Irish bartender when he tells you, "You'll find the bog up the apples and pears." (Translation: The toilet is upstairs!)
We Beer Chicks are all about 'When in Rome' when it comes to beer traditions. When at a bowling alley, we'll drink that bowling pin-shaped Bud, while in a German biergarten, we want some leiderhosen nearby and no lemon in our Hefeweizen; and while in Irish Pubs, we want to know the proper way to order a Guinness.
Here are some of our favorite Irish terms that can apply to events at the pub. If you're feeling bold and have had a few Arthurs (see below) you may want to give one or two of these a try on Wednesday. (Please don't attempt a fake Leprachauny Irish accent. Please!)
'A pint of Arthurs' = A pint of Guinness, as in Arthur Guinness the founder
'The Black stuff' = Guinness
'A Half and Half' = Half Guinness, Half Lager
'Ask me arse' = as in 'ask my ass', a.k.a: 'shut-up'
'Away with ye' = I don't really believe you.
'I'd murder a pint' = I really want a beer
'Are ye comin' down to the local?' = are you coming to the pub?
'Craic' = drinking beer and talking shite
'Pissed', 'Polluted', 'Plastered', 'Bolloxed', 'Twisted' = wasted
'A drop' = a drink (but not actually a small drink, a regular sized drink)
'Fine bit of stuff' = a hottie
'Wagon' = ugly woman
'Jacks', 'Bog' = the toilet
'You're off your nut!' = you crazy!
'Snog' = make out (but no sex)
We've mentioned ad nauseum our love for the holiday season. Now that its over we're feeling a little depressed. Lifting our lulled spirits however is the fact that some of our favorite holiday beers are still around! Here are the beers that we're drinking while reliving the joyful memories of opening that wort chiller that was left for us under the tree by Santa because we were really good beer chicks this year.
Samichlaus Bier – originally brewed by Hurlimann Brewery Rheinfelden, Switzerland Want a little warming up on a cold winter night? Only want to have one seasonal ale? This one is it. Samichlaus ("Santa Claus" in Swiss-German dialect) is brewed every year on December 6th, St. Nicholas' Day. The delicious lager is then matured an entire year before being released the following December. At 14% alcohol by volume, this beer was once the world's strongest lager and has been listed in The Guinness Book of Records. But don't shy away. Samichlaus has a smooth creaminess with brandy, cherry flavors and spice. Yum.
Deus Brut de Flandres – Brouwerij Bosteels – Buggenhout, Belgium This beer isn't necessarily a winter ale, but if you want to bring a fabulous gift that nobody other than a beer aficionado would know, or you want something special to lift your post holiday blues, the Deus Brut des Flandres is the way to go. This divine drink combines the best of two production methods. Using techniques developed over centuries of brewing, first the beer is brewed in Belgium, then the ale is matured and refined in the champagne region of France, using ancestral Champagne making techniques. This beer makes us want to celebrate.
Deschutes Jubelale – Bend, Oregon Hailing from the Northwest US brewing mecca, Jubelale calls itself an "apres ski brew." Perfect for a gathering of family and friends, Jubelale is a strong festive ale characterized by a large malty body balanced with hop bitterness. Jubelale is available around the first of October through the holidays.
Unibroue Quelque Chose – Chambly, Quebec This is really cool. Quelque Chose is strong cherry ale that is to be consumed hot! You can pop the cork and warm it in a hot water bath on the stove or pour it in a microwave safe dish (the horror) and pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Warm, sweet, tart and still effervescent this beer is amazing sitting by the fire, winding up the evening, a perfect after dinner drink. "Quelque Chose" is a popular French-Canadian expression that is used like "That's something!"
Even though we have a tendency to get a little ahem cynical from time to time, we Beer Chicks really do love the holiday season. But many people poo poo our favorite beverage during this time of year, thinking that beer is only a warm weather drink. Although we beg to differ and think that a delicious craft brew is perfect just the way it is during the holidays; we do have a little beer trick up our sleeves, and it’s called Warm Mulled Beer. And, in a word, it’s awesome.
Super easy to make, delicious to drink and fun to share with family and friends who will be astounded by the warm beer idea, mulled beer is the perfect replacement for mulled wine and egg nog. We use an American Brown Ale for this recipe. The nutty, toasty qualities of the beer work perfectly with the traditional mulled spices usually reserved for wine.
The Beer Chicks’ Mulled Spiced Moose
3 bottles Moose Drool Brown Ale*
1 Cinnamon stick
½ tsp Ground Cloves
½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Star Anise Pod
1 tsp Ground Dried Ginger
1 Orange Rind
1 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Rum
Super simple! In a medium saucepan, heat beer with the spices, orange rind, honey and rum on low to medium-low, keeping below boiling point. Pour into your favorite mug, serve and enjoy the warm spicy beery goodness.
*Try your favorite Brown Ale. We’ve also used (and liked) Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, Abita Brewing Pecan Harvest Ale, & Goose Island Christmas Ale
As we stroll through the (sigh), mall or spend hours upon hours sifting through online stores (gag) looking for holiday gifts that don’t suck, we take solace in craft beer. Not only is it necessary to drink beer around all holiday events (you know why) craft beer also makes the perfect gift.
More fun than recycling that old bottle of wine, bringing craft beer to your friend’s annual soiree livens things up a bit. We know that the plethora of holiday beers on the shelf can be at once overwhelming and titillating, so we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite holiday brews. Each makes a perfect gift for the holiday party or for simply sipping while sitting by the fire:
St. Bernardus Christmas - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV, Watou, Belgium: Notes of fig, clove, licorice and pumpernickel bread. Every sip brings a new layer of fruit and spice, with a fairly dry finish for a high alcohol holiday ale that will warm your soul.
Anchor Christmas - Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco, CA: We look forward to the release of this beer every year. With a different tree on the label each year (this one’s a Ginkgo Biloba) the bottle becomes a collector’s item itself, especially if you buy the Magnum. Similar to a porter, but with holiday spices, notes of chocolate, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Scaldis Noel - Brasserie Dubuisson, Pipaix, Belgium: A little bottle that packs a lot of alcohol, Scaldis Noel can be a dangerous winter delight, so drink slowly and sparingly. Delicious notes of raisins, dates, figs, and rum, with notes of spice.
Nutcracker Ale – Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City, Missouri: A nice winter warmer with notes of molasses and caramel, with a balance of spicy, piney Chinook hops.
Affligem Noel - Brouwerij Affligem, Opwijk, Belgium: Dark fruit with a peppery spiciness. Nice rich, vinous tones and brown sugar in the background.