St Patrick's Day

Charge Your Glasses for St Patrick with the Best of Irish Beer and Spirits
Pull on your green shirts and get ready to celebrate all things Irish on the 17th March. We have everything you need to make your St Patrick’s Day party a big hit. It would only be fitting that your glasses are brimming with Irish beer and spirits. Beers of Europe have put together a bumper selection of St Patrick’s Day beer and other Irish gems for you to savour.

Before you dive in, here are a few St Patrick’s Day facts to ensure you are the party host who knows their stuff.

Much of what we know about St Patrick comes from the Declaration, allegedly written by the great man himself. The patron saint of Ireland was born in Roman Britain in the 4th century. His family were wealthy Romano Brits. He was kidnapped by Irish raiders and sent to Gaelic Ireland when he was 16. The Declaration says that whilst he was there, he worked as a shepherd and it was during this time he found God. Having escaped slavery, he became a priest. He returned to Ireland around 432 AD with a mission to convert the Irish people to Christianity. By the time he died in 461 AD he had established a number of churches, monasteries and schools. Very quickly, legends began to grow around his life and achievements. For example, it is said that he drove snakes out of Ireland and he explained the Trinity by using the shamrock. The people of Ireland took St Patrick to their hearts.

It is not only the Irish nation that holds St Patrick dear. Irish emigrants to America elevated St Patrick’s Day into a huge celebration, with enormous street parades. The first of these was held in Boston in 1737. Such is the fever for St Patrick’s Day, that the city of Chicago has been colouring its river green on the big day since 1962!

You don’t need to go quite that far, but you will be needing a stonking selection of Irish beer and Irish spirits, so here are our St Patrick’s Day superstars; from ales to porters, traditional beers to new innovations and whiskeys to cream liqueur – Beers of Europe have got St. Patrick’s Day sorted!

All Hail The Ale

Smithwick’s Red Ale is a ruby red session ale, with a gentle hop bitterness, sweet malty notes and a refreshingly balanced flavour. This red session ale is a clear ruby red in colour with a creamy head and a clean, delicate aroma with different notes coming through. Aroma hops are added late in the boil and this brings clean, fresh floral notes. The addition of ale malt adds hints of biscuit and caramel. 

Carlow O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale is a contemporary style IPA with an Irish twist, which combines a balance of European IPAs with the generous dry hopping of American pale ales (APAs). Zesty and refreshingly bitter, the finish is long. This IPA has a copper toned body, topped with a lightly carbonated head; the dry hopping brings an intense aroma and lasting array of fruit and floral notes. Another offering from Carlow O’Hara is their Irish Red with its malt body equally as impressive as a bock, albeit in a uniquely Irish way. That incredibly smooth malt body is complimented by caramel tones and is perfectly balanced in bitterness.

In a nod to our American cousins, try something with a US influence and a low alcohol profile. Whiplash Rollover is brewed with the same hop rates at the DIPA’s brewed by Whiplash, but with less than half the alcohol. A heavily hopped session IPA with buckets of Simcoe, Ekuanot, Citra and Mosaic hops, a light touch of malts and an easy, crushable body. Rollover is a New England inspired IPA; an unfiltered, hazy, hoppy and juicy beer, minus the heavy alcohol in tow!

Whiplash Bone Machine is a straight up, modern American IPA, with notes of candied lemon, resin, papaya and pineapples. Beginning with super soft water, its grist is over 60% oat and wheat malt, layered onto biscuity and complex British floor malted Pale.

Whiplash Body Riddle showcases Simcoe, Ekuanot, Lemondrop and Galaxy hops on a wheat, oat and barley malt base. Smooth and soft with sweet, fruity malt flavour, the hops bring a tropical, juicy flavour and gentle bitterness to the finish. This is a well-balanced, easy-drinking American pale ale from up-and-coming Dublin microbrewery, Whiplash.

Stand Up For The Stouts

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout has a unique history, with its roots tracing back to 1801 and the original recipe of West Indies Porter. It was originally brewed to withstand long journeys and this meant using higher gravity and more hops. The result is a bold tasting beer with a complex flavour profile, that has stood the test of time.

It is also worth highlighting the Guinness West Indies Porter which is a fantastic porter with a lovely ruby red colour and a frothy head.This is followed by the aroma of caramel and toffee along with chocolate notes, which follow into the flavour.

The flagship of the O’Hara’s brand, O’Hara’s Irish Stout, was first brewed in 1999 and has since been awarded prestigious honours for its quality and authenticity. This stout has a robust roast flavour, which is complemented by a full-bodied and smooth mouth feel. Rich and complex coffee aromas mingle with light liquorice notes. Using a combination of traditional stout hops plus an extra pinch of roast barley, means this stout stays true to Irish stout tradition.

Carlow O’Hara’s Leann Folláin is a full bodied extra Irish stout with flavours of dark chocolate tones, a hint of vanilla and a mild mocha aroma. Classic European hop bitterness gives a refreshing bite after the chocolate subsides.  Enjoy Carlow O’Hara’s Leann Folláin at room temperature; it pairs excellently with dark meats, such as venison or beef. 

Send The Spirits Soaring

One of the younger distilleries in Ireland, West Cork Distillers was founded in Skibbereen in 2003 by childhood friends, John O’Connell, Denis McCarthy and Ger McCarthy. West Cork Bourbon Cask Blended Irish Whiskey is a blend of 75% grain Irish whiskey and 25% malt Irish whiskey and matured in first-fill bourbon casks for a smooth, subtle drop. Pouring a pale copper colour, it offers up aromas of honey, dried fruit and vanilla. The flavours of apple, caramel and toasted grain mingle with vanilla and earthy malt. They may be one of the new kids on the block, but they are one to watch.

For an Irish single malt with an American accent, try The Steamship Collection Bourbon Cask Reserve. This Irish single malt has been matured to perfection in first-fill #3 char bourbon casks to give a honeyed maltiness plus notes of toasted oak, spices and crème brûlée, with a long, rich and smooth finish. This is the result of Bushmills long-standing relationship with master coopers from Louisville, Kentucky, who reserve only the finest American white oak, custom-charred bourbon casks to mature this very unique whiskey.

If you are going to have an Irish cream liqueur, you would be hard pushed to find a better choice than Coole Swan – the only Irish Cream Liqueur to combine single malt Irish whiskey, Belgian white chocolate and fresh Irish cream to produce a distinctive, balanced, subtly sweet taste and a smooth mouthfeel throughout.
Not only is this delicious, it is gluten free,100% natural and has a low ABV. Serve Coole Swan neat or over ice, but always chilled. Remember, you can also add Coole Swan to your baking, your coffee and your cocktails – the possibilities are endless!

Next up, we have a single pot still whiskey, which means it is distilled from a blend of malted and un-malted barley. Redbreast Irish Whiskey is matured in both American oak bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks, Redbreast Irish Whiskey offers a complex spicy aroma with fruit and toasted wood notes. The flavour is silky smooth, with a harmonious balance of sherry and toasted notes.

Locke’s 8 Year Old Single Malt is a combination of Cooley’s finest Single Malts in a
special bottling to celebrate one of the famous names in Irish whiskey history. The full
flavoured nose is bulging with big fruit-barley character and oaky traces from the oldest of
Cooley’s malts. The barley is big and succulent. There is a copper-tanginess followed by a
dry fruity flavour. The minimum 8 year old oak passes leaving a vanilla essence and peat finish.

To finish our list of St Patrick’s Day spirits is a knock out single malt. The Tyrconnell Single Malt 10 Year Old Port Cask is an Irish whiskey finished in port casks, from Irish whiskey brand, The Tyrconnell. It is named after a racehorse, who beat the odds at the National Produce Stakes horse race in 1876. Following ageing in bourbon barrels for ten years, this single malt is transferred to ex-port wine casks from the Douro Valley in Portugal for an extra 6-8 months. Pouring a pale golden colour, The Tyrconnell Single Malt 10 Year Old Port Cask offers a fruity bouquet of tropical fruits and jam. The palate is thick, with a warming sweetness and hints of spice. On the finish, a marmalade character offers bitter, citrusy flavours.

So, you now know some of the history surrounding St Patrick’s Day, and we have given you some pointers for stocking up on St Patrick’s Day beer, not forgetting all the other fabulous Irish tipples available at Beers of Europe.