Top 10 Irish Beers
St. Patrick's Day is Monday, March 17, which means it's time to stockpile your favorite Irish brew. GAYOT.com's Top 10 Irish Beers range from crisp lagers to creamy, full-bodied stouts. If you're new to the Irish beer scene, line up our top picks and have a tasting. These picks will have your Irish eyes smiling every day of the year!
Murphy's Irish Stout
The lightest and sweetest of Ireland's Big Three (Guinness, Beamish and Murphy's), Murphy's Irish Stout is the "nice guy" of the group. But don't be deceived — that just means you can drink more of ‘em. Think chocolate milk topped with a double shot of espresso and finished with a one-inch thick head of caramel-infused creamy goodness. Since the company's acquisition by Heineken in 1983, Murphy's has been enjoying a reputation as one of the fastest growing stout brands in the world. Have a Guinness for dinner, but save this one for dessert.
O'Hara's Celtic Stout (Carlow Brewery)
Carlow Brewery is what you would call old school. Its name comes from Carlow, a small town located in Ireland's historic Barrow Valley region and home to a once-thriving craft beer scene. In the 1800s, crafting your own beer was a popular practice among the inhabitants of Carlow, but this ended with the takeover of small breweries by big business. Carlow Brewing Company, founded in 1996, is reviving this olde tyme way of producing beers long lost, motivated by the belief that their way of manufacturing beers is superior to modern methods. O'Hara's Celtic Stout is true to the original Irish stout. It's a robust, full-bodied combination of hops and roasted barley, providing both sweetness and a roasty bite with no artificial additives. Just hops, barley, yeast and water — that's it. (Really makes you wonder what you're drinking in all those other beers.) If you're looking for the real deal, this is it.
Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
Established in 1996, Porterhouse Brewing Company is Ireland's largest independent brewery. Beginning with a Dublin pub, the company now operates bars as far afield as New York and London, bringing their craft brews beyond the Emerald Isle's shores. Porterhouse Brewing Company makes a varied range of stouts, ales, lagers, seasonal and specialty beers, including their popular oyster stout. The name is not a misnomer. While not all oyster stouts are actually made with the bivalve mollusc — some were simply designated as such because pubs served them with oysters — Porterhouse actually shucks fresh oysters into the conditioning tank. Fortunately, you won't find them floating in your pint, but you should get a hint of their flavor — not full on, as if you were eating fresh seafood, but more subtly, as in Asian foods made with oyster sauce. The result may not be your typical Irish stout, but it still has the characteristic rounded malt flavors, creamy mouthfeel and smooth finish. Vegetarians beware!
O'Hara's Irish Wheat (Carlow Brewery)
Ireland is famous for its stout, but this Irish wheat beer is worth checking out. Also known as Curim Gold Celtic Wheat, O'Hara's Irish Wheat is an easy-drinking golden ale. On the nose, it displays hints of banana, peach and plum, which balance the bitter hops on the finish. Mild and smooth on the palate, the beer's wheaty flavor profile lacks the stronger wholegrain flavors typical of many American hefeweizens. At just 4.3 percent alcohol, the Irish Wheat works well with food or as a session ale.