Irish Beer Guide

17 Mar

As St. Patty’s day approaches and we rake through our closets trying to find something that is both green and loose enough to accommodate a “beer baby”, preparing to kill our livers with overpriced natty light + green food coloring, we do not think of the possibilities this holiday holds for delicious beers.

Lucky for you, your beer for girls author spent a year working at an Irish Pub in a town with a large Irish population and drank frequently amongst the Christys, Kellys,  Sorchas, Shellys and Rileys of the greater New Haven area. In this time I have gotten to know my way around Irish beer, so here is your St. Patty’s guide to drinking non-crappy beer.


Available on draught and in bottle, Guinness, originally brewed in Dublin, is a delicious dark, dry, Irish stout that can be found in most bars. Guinness is made with roasted barley, giving it its tart, burnt taste. It is smooth and rich but surprisingly low in calories (126 calories per 12 oz).

Guinness is rare because it uses a nitrogen carbonation system instead of carbon. Nitrogen allows the beer to be pressurized with low carbonation, giving Guinness a creamy texture. Also it allows small bubbles to rise to the top, giving it a milky layer of thick foam on the top of the beer.

The perfect Guinness pour is essential for great taste. Your bartender should do a 2- step pour, filling the pint ¾ full, letting the beer settle, and the topping the rest off with a slower stream of beer for optimal carbonation.

Guinness is a great beer, a bit of an acquired taste maybe but one you should seriously consider drinking on St. Pattys.


Harp is a pale lager brewed by the Guinness company, in Dundalk, and a top seller in Ireland. It is light and golden in color and has a grainy malt taste. Harp is your run-of-the-mill imported lager and may be a good try if you are keen on that type of beer.

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Brewed in Cork, this beer is a sweeter, less bitter cousin to Guinness. With more caramel and malt taste, Murphy’s is most dessert-like, less drink-your-face-off-all-day St. Patty’s beer. One may be good to start off with if you can find it. It is not extremely common to have this beer on draft but if you find it, it’s worth a try.

Murphy’s Irish Red

A red ale, simple, tasty, nothing special here.


Pronounced (SMIT – ICKS), not (SMITH-WICKS).

Smithwicks is pretty delicious Irish red ale. Brewed in Kilkenny, it is Ireland’s oldest been, originally brewed by monks. Smithwicks is dark brown/red, with a thick layer of foam and a bitter ale taste. It is smooth beer but not too heavy. I recommend this beer if you have never tried it.


I have only reviewed beers that are brewed in Ireland. There are many other Irish beers that are also good such as Killians and Highlander Gaelic Ale that are brewed in America but stem from an Irish recipe or are Irish in style.

So now that you have the run-down on some legit Irish beers, be free young lasses and enjoy the one day out the year it is acceptable to be drunk in public with a green tongue.


2 Responses to “Irish Beer Guide”

  1. Rachel March 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    love this. i know i enjoyed my fair share of guinness last night!


  1. Irish Beer Guide « Beer For Girls | Beer For Beer Drinkers - March 17, 2011

    […] here: Irish Beer Handbook « Beer F&#959r Girls Related Posts:Irish Beer Guide « Beer For Girls Murphy's Irish Stout . Brewed in Cork, this beer […]

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