It’s St. Patrick’s Day. You’re going to have a beer or two or five after work. That’s the law.
But nowhere in the official St. Paddy’s Day rules does it say you have to stick with pints of Guinness all night. Even staying within the general stout/brown ale range, there are a wealth of more interesting beers to choose from. Here are five that pair especially well with wearing green and talking about how your great-great-grandfather was “part Irish” (you’re pretty sure).
Innis & Gunn
Kith & Kin
A Scottish beer on St. Patrick’s Day? Hear me out. This Scottish stout from the Edinburgh-based brewery Innis & Gunn is aged in Teeling Irish whiskey casks. The resulting combination of flavors is rich and complex, not to mention a lot more sophisticated than chasing shots of Jameson with Guinness like you did in college. It’s also a perfect metaphor for the holiday: On St. Patty’s Day, anyone (and any beer) can be Irish. Just add whiskey. $5
Rogue Ales & Spirits
Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Across the pond in Oregon, the brewery Rogue has become well known for putting new-world spins on old-world beer styles. The addition of hazelnut extract to this European brown ale is one of Rogue’s more inspired recipes, a delicious fusion of the traditional and the modern. There are worse ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than by drinking a brew that, much like the Irish, treasures its heritage while staying current with the times. $7
With an ABV of 9.1 percent, this imperial stout from Toronto’s Burdock brewery is literally more than twice as strong as a Guinness, which is especially convenient on a holiday when it can take an eternity to get an order in at the bar. And its 8 percent CBV (coffee by volume) should give you enough of a buzz to last a whole night of, ahem, “celebrating” Irish “culture.” $7
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
The Chocolate Manifesto
The subtitle of this Ontario brew will give you a good idea what to expect: Triple Chocolate Milk Stout. Is it beer? Is it dessert? In the world foretold by The Chocolate Manifesto, no such class distinctions exist. I won’t make a forced connection to St. Patrick’s Day with this one; you should just drink it because it’s delicious. $13
North Coast Brewing Company
This Russian imperial stout is its own exercise in multiculturalism. It is allegedly “produced in the tradition of 18th-century English brewers who supplied the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great.” It’s brewed in Fort Bragg, California. So if some beer fanatics from the American West Coast can successfully emulate the centuries-old brewing practices of Englishmen who were themselves producing beer for the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not Irish enough to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. You can be who you want to be. Erin go bragh. $7