5@5 - Irish beers for St. Patrick's Day
March 12th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

As we gear up to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, everybody knows about Guinness-  but what about some of the unsung heroes of Irish beer and Irish-style beers that are available in the United States?

Ted Kenny, the owner of Top Hops Beer Shop in New York City, certainly isn't knocking the famous Irish stout, but there’s a lot more out there to try.

Here are five beers worth raising on March 17 - without the green dye, please.

Five Irish Beers for St. Patrick's Day: Ted Kenny

1. The Porterhouse Brewing Co.
"There are only about 16 microbreweries in Ireland and of that small list, only two export to the United States. Porterhouse is one. It was one of the first microbreweries in Ireland, founded in 1989 in Wicklow - a county just south of Dublin. In 1996, they moved headquarters to Dublin where they opened Ireland’s first brewpub and now have brewpubs throughout Ireland and England.

And in 2011, they expanded to New York City when they took over management of Fraunces Tavern - the historic pub in Lower Manhattan where General George Washington bade farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolutionary War and where patrons have been eating and drinking on and off since 1762. Porterhouse makes an amazing Oyster Stout."

2. O’Hara’s
"Also known as the Carlow Brewing Company, O’Hara’s is the other Irish microbrewery that exports to the United States. They are based in Carlow and have been brewing beer since 1996. They are known for their stouts and red ales. Their Irish Stout is the flagship beer and has won numerous awards, including two gold medals at the International Brewing Awards."

3. Brooklyn Brewery
"On this side of the pond, a number of American brewers are making Irish style beers. Over at Brooklyn Brewery, Garrett Oliver has a very limited release Dry Irish Stout – a seasonal beer that will only be available in draft format for the next few months - mostly in the northeast region. I am really excited about this beer and can’t wait to get my hands on a keg. Like most stouts, it’s low in alcohol (4.7% ABV) and is made the old-fashioned way without the addition of nitrogen."

4. Left Hand Brewery
"Located just outside Denver in Longmont, Colorado, Left Hand makes a killer milk stout. Milk stouts are also often called sweet or cream stouts because lactose, a sugar beer yeast can't process, is the sugar used to give the beer its sweetness. Get your hands on this beer; you won’t be disappointed."

5. Sly Fox Brewery
"Sly Fox Brewery in Pennsylvania makes an Irish-style draft stout poured with nitrogen for a rich creamy pint. Brewed with imported British pale and roasted barley, plus flaked barley, and hopped with Cascade and Target hops. It’s black in color, light bodied and roasty dry."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Beer • Sip • St. Patrick's Day • Think

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Joseph Doen

    Patrick was born in southern Wales, probably in Pembrokeshire, in 385 CE. Glad to know that the Irish appreciate a Welshman so much. Incidentally, Patrick was never cannonized.

    March 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  2. D

    There is no better beer on the planet than Guinness Extra Stout. That's a fact, not an opinion

    March 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Walker, Austin

      I'll drink to that!

      March 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Michigander5

      I like Guinness as much as the next guy.. but best beer on the planet?

      March 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  3. BeerfortheDaddy

    For some other options, check this one out...


    March 17, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  4. Beer

    Brooklyn, Left Hand, and sly Fox are NOT Irish beers. They are American beers.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  5. Storm z4

    Guinness & Bass Ale for the best Black and Tans. Try it. It won't disappoint.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  6. AndyM

    Chimay Grande Reserve. The beer for any and ALL occasions.

    March 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Michigander5

      I wish I could like this comment 100 times.

      March 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  7. Carolyn

    In the West, Elefphino (long i), brewed by Red Rock Brewery

    March 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  8. GaryO

    I'm rather partial to Killian's Irish Red, myself. It has everything I need in a beer; alcohol, good taste and is relatively inexpensive.

    March 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • hopmaster

      This thread is about beer – Killians is brewed by coors, and isn't considered beer. Along with bud and miller, coors products are brewed with corn and rice, not barley malt, which is required for BEER

      March 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • Hopjunkie

        Killians is Equine urine

        March 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
        • hopmaster

          or as they say at Stone Brewing in Encinitas CA, "yellow fizzy sh1t!"

          March 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  9. Mike Sweeney

    John Wayne Gacy, bartender?

    March 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Ms Conceptions

      It is the "Clown Shoes" Brewery

      March 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  10. Irishlad82

    If you want to try an amazing beer by a microbrewing company try Highland Brewing Company's Gaelic Ale or St. Teresa's Pale Ale..both are amazing!!!

    March 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  11. award

    Just an FYI, it is called Paddy's Day or St. Patrick's day...not St. Patty, Patty is short for Patricia or a burger...Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland...Get it right..!!

    March 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • award


      March 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Tanya Hyde

      Wow. Why don't you have a brew and a smile and stfu?

      March 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
      • Brendan G.

        Why don't you take your own advice? Wow, indeed.

        March 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • award

        Tanya, that's exactly what I shall be doing and copious amount of...but this is just a wee thorn in my side, I am sure you have something that irks you also. @Hopjunkie; I thought St. Patricia first had that burger on the 18th of March ?

        March 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • seamus

      THANK YOU!

      March 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Hopjunkie

      I like to celebrate the burger made by Patricia o'leary in 1923. The original St. patty's day. i don't know why St. patricks day is now such a big deal.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  12. SPW

    Beer? No thank you, I'll try something green.

    March 14, 2012 at 3:09 am |
  13. SouthernBre(w)ed

    I know it's rather limited geographically (maybe even moreso than Ted's recommendations), but if any of you guys (or girls...that's why we just say "y'all) are ever in north Alabama, check out the Lily Flagg Milk Stout from Straight to Ale brewery. I would put it up against just about any stout I've had. Cheers...

    March 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  14. JoeD

    Thought this was an article about great Irish beers. Actually seemed to be an cleverly written advert implying that one should come to Mr. Kenny's beer parlor to buy one of the many micro-brews [Irish and American] it appears he is a purveyor of. Clever of you, Mr. Kenny [can't say I wouldn't have done the same].
    Very NYC-centric article- So... What ARE the 5 great Irish beers that one can seek out, in the rest of the U.S. ?

    March 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Devin

      Hmm. Good question. You might try something brewed and distributed by The Porterhouse Brewing Co., O’Hara’s, Brooklyn Brewery, Left Hand Brewery, or Sly Fox Brewery. You've started early, haven't you?

      March 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Shanno

      I'm a fan of Smithwicks from Killkenny, IE. Smooth – more like a pale ale. Harp is another Irish contender. You could also try an Irish Cider Ale – much different than Woodchuck and pretty popular there.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  15. Colleen

    Left Hand Milk Stout has an almost coffee after taste that I find horrible. If I liked coffee, I'd probably love it. Irish reds Are wonderful, and while I know it's Scottish, not Irish, Tennents Lager is a family favorite. My Dad discovered Tennents when we lived in Northern Ireland, so in my mind, they're linked.

    March 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Devin

      Great anecdote! Can you find Tennents anywhere in the US? Sounds good.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  16. Nonny Mouse

    Um, so what do we do if we don't live in any of those states and there's no O'hara's in local stores?

    I was kind of hoping for a rundown of commonly found Irish beers. Like Murphy's and Harp's, and what makes an Irish Red?

    March 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • JoeD

      Totally with you, on this one.

      March 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • MakeYerOwn

      How about learning to brew? It's not very difficult.

      March 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Kana

      Just because you can't find any of the beers mentioned in this article doesn't mean they are the be all and end all "best". Everyone's tastes are different, what yu like may not be what someone else likes. Experiment with what you have locally, whether it's commercial or a micro.

      March 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Tanya Hyde

      "what makes an Irish Red?"

      Cutting off his beer supply.

      March 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
      • Devin

        Well played!

        March 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  17. GR

    Left Hand recently released a bottled version of their milk stout to make a great portable version of the original keg version. I plan to pick up a some for this weekend. Cheers!

    March 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  18. yahmez

    Guinness is very good, but the version we get in the USA is brewed in Canada. I shall be drinking Murphy's Irish Stout.

    March 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Stephen

      I'm about 95% sure that Murphy's Irish Stout is also brewed in Canada. The Guinness "draught" products I think are still brewed in Ireland although I prefer the "Extra Stout" even though I think it is product of Canada.

      March 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Andrasta

      Guinness found in America is brewed in Canada. Murphy's used to be brewed in Cork. However, they were bought and are now a Scottish product brewed in Edinburgh. If you look at the tin/can, it reads 'Murphy's stout'. It no longer reads 'Murphy's Irish Stout'. RIP cork brewery.

      March 17, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
  19. Carn E. Vore

    I've never seen any of these beers but I'll definitely keep an eye open for them. I loves me some Guinness and Beamish!

    March 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  20. Pat

    Sadly, you no longer can buy Caffrey's Ale as some mega company bought out the 100+ year old family brewery a number of years ago and quickly shut it down so it would not erode the profits of their other brands. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffrey%27s_Irish_Ale

    March 13, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  21. Patrick

    I'm partial to Smithwick's Irish Ale. And actually, Sam Adams has a pretty good Irish Ale, too.

    March 13, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Irishlad82

      Smithwick's is brewed by Guinness

      March 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • Shanno

        Brewed by Guinness, but in a separate brewery and a very differnt beer. Plus not such a difference in taste between a draft of Smithwicks here vs. Smithwicks in IE like there is with Guinness.

        March 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  22. ChezJim

    Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City makes a great seasonal Irish Ale. Great in a bottle but outstanding if you can find it on tap.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  23. BC68

    I live right by Longmont, Co and I've been enjoying Left Hand ever since I moved to Colorado. Their milk stout is very good, and also try their Nitro Stout.. kind of like Guinness, I really enjoy it and will likely get me a keg of it when what I got right now goes dry.

    March 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  24. RH

    I found that if you drink a 6 pack of Pearl Beer, you'll pee green on St.Patty's Day.

    March 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Bill

      Holy Mother Of God, "St. Patty's Day"?
      With spelling like that, you will be peeing green all year!
      Ireland has never celebrated the Patron Saint of The Hamburger.

      March 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
      • Indo

        Liar... We celebrate every year.. Where are you from

        March 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
        • Irishgirl

          Bill is correct, an authentic Irish person would never use the term st pattys. It's st paddys. St patty is a phrase coined by Americans not the Irish people

          March 14, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Kana

      While yer sittin on yer Patty O'furniture

      March 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
      • GaryO

        After reading some of these posts, I'm wondering if it should be "Paddy-O'Furniture".

        March 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  25. Truth™

    Left Hand is huge out here. Never tried it though. Maybe this weekend.

    March 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Devin

      Where is 'out here'? I may be able to give you a few suggestions if you're in CO...

      March 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
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