The Whole Wide World of St. Patrick’s Day Imbibing, Beyond Guinness and Green Beer
St. Patrick’s Day began in the ninth or tenth century celebrating a man born in the fourth or fifth century. Saint Patrick wasn’t actually born in Ireland, and the way we celebrate his feast day today wasn’t, either. Irish immigrants turned this holiday into something we have parades for and drink together for in the United States: the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in Boston in 1737 and New York City joined in on the tradition 25 years later.
What’s clear about St. Patrick’s Day is that it’s really a break from the monotony of gray winter months as we start to look to spring, where we can all join in on the fun with a whole lot of revelry. It’s absolutely a celebration of Irish heritage, but this is best achieved with a welcoming, inclusive attitude--everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Which simply means, everyone is invited to eat, drink, and be merry, wear some green, and wish some good luck on the rest of their year.
In years past, all this partying has come to take the shape of a pretty limited drink selection. If you’re a liquor drinker, you might be reaching for Irish whiskey; if you’re a beer fan, you go for the iconic and traditional Guinness stout, or...a cheap, light lager dyed green (how appetizing!).
We’re never going to knock Guinness. It’s a legendary beer for a reason, and its genre-defining history and Irish roots will always guarantee it a spot in the St. Patrick’s Day hall of fame. However, especially since the actual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations look different for 2021, lacking parades and crowded pubs, we thought this would be a great time to explore fresh options. Let’s shake up how we toast this holiday, and let’s create and love some new traditions to embrace in years to come whether at home or back in the pubs on parade routes.
Jackalope Brewing Company Thunder Ann Pale Ale
Jackalope’s marketing director Lisa Peterson’s go-to for March 17 is the Thunder Ann Pale Ale. This is an American pale ale, the very origin of which resonates with the mood of St. Patrick’s Day. The pale ale was born in England; when it landed in the United States, American brewers added their own subtle twists, most commonly in the form of more hop flavor. Like the Irish-American celebration that is St. Patrick’s Day, the American pale ale is a transplant that both embraces its roots and history, while taking on new, unique characteristics.
Bursting with tropical and citrusy hop flavors and aromas, yet still irresistibly crushable, Thunder Ann is a much-needed alternative to heavier, roasty stouts, flavorless mass-produced lagers, and strong pours of whiskey. It’s complex and refreshing, it allows imbibers to have more than one and keep up with the festivities, and it’s the perfect way for a hop lover to say, “Slainte.”
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery Nuclear Nugget Imperial IPA
For hop lovers seeking even more hop impact, Lickinghole Creek’s Rob Pennington suggests the Nuclear Nugget. This, Rob says, is the real “nugget” of gold at the end of the rainbow--green can and all.
The ultimate burst of hop flavor, this imperial IPA explodes with citrusy, herbal, and spiced hop character. This is balanced with Bearer Farms Goochland clover honey, and then tipped perfectly back into hoppy territory with dry hop nuggets. In other words, Nuclear Nugget packs a punch, meaning it’s up to the task of making St. Patrick’s Day special. It’s bold and memorable, a party in a can, with every bit as much character as a big, ol’ stout but with the fresh twist of maximum hoppiness. This one is definitely a pop of good luck for your drinking options.
Kombrewcha “Kiss Me, I’m Brewchy” Cocktail
We can’t think of anything more totally 2021, fresh-start, exciting-twist than this cocktail that the team at Kombrewcha has crafted and perfected. It’s a brand new way to raise a glass of that iconic Irish whiskey, keeping with tradition but adding a novel new approach that’s complex, refreshing, bursting with flavor, and even wellness-minded. This all comes, of course, courtesy one of Kombrewcha’s hard kombuchas.
- 2 oz. Tullamore Dew or Irish whiskey of your choice
- ¼ oz. lime juice
- 3 oz. Kombrewcha Ginger Lemon
- 2-3 mint leaves
- Step 1: In a rocks glass, muddle some of the mint.
- Step 2: Add whiskey, lime juice, and Kombrewcha Ginger Lemon, in that order.
- Step 3: Top with ice to the brim of the glass.
- Step 4: Garnish with the remaining mint leaves.
The heat of the ginger and the bright, tart, sweet, acidity of the lemon do wonders to open up the whiskey’s own flavors, creating a flavor and aroma bouquet you’ll be excited to recreate every March 17 (and probably in between, too!).
Great South Bay Brewery Irish Car Bomb Nitro Stout
The Irish Car Bomb. The Irish Slammer. The Dublin Drop. Whatever you call it, if you know, you know: this classic combo packs a rush of adrenaline. A shot of Irish cream and whiskey is dropped into a stout, like a bomb, and the chugging can begin. It’s more than a drink, it’s a challenge.
The only bummer about the Irish Car Bomb is that you miss out on all the wonderful flavors mingling together, from the warm and woody whiskey to the sweet Irish cream to the roasty stout, because you’re busy swallowing it whole. If you’d actually like to enjoy all that goodness, and you know, not feel so much pressure, Great South Bay has come to the rescue with the Irish Car Bomb Nitro Stout. It’s super roasty, sweet, velvety, and lush, marrying the flavors and mouthfeel you’d get from the traditional slammer in a beer you can take your time savoring.
Saint Paddy's Shamrock Sampler
Craft beer fans know that can art is almost as important an ingredient as malt and hops. Once just a vehicle for a brand name, the space on that 12 or 16-ounce can is now essentially the brewery’s canvas for expressing themselves and capturing the essence of the beer inside. A brewery’s can art captures its whole vibe, connects it with imbibers, and makes it stand out on shelves.
We’re such fans of breweries’ design work that instead of dyeing a Big Beer green, we’re cheers-ing “green beer”: stellar craft brews that just so happen to come in shades of Irish fields and clover. What this means is that you get two each of six different beloved brews, from crisp pilsners to dank IPAs, that are a burst of good luck for this holiday and feel as festive as that Guinness while still offering you the chance to drink something you truly love. The Saint Paddy’s Shamrock Sampler includes:This is the ultimate way for a craft beer lover to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, without getting pinched.