St. Patrick’s Day – the one day when all of us are a little Irish. And this year, March 17 happens to fall on a Saturday, so there’s even more reason to celebrate. Now the question is, what beer should you celebrate with? There’s the usual suspects (no offense meant, we’d drink these in a heartbeat) Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s, but we’re here to expand your mind and your palette with a list of local craft beer options that will arrive just in time for one of the year’s biggest drinking holidays.
Now, we know that there are so many options for what to drink this St. Patrick’s Day, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a simple question; one without a simple answer. And that’s where we come in. Well, this article at least. Below, you’ll find some newcomers to the scene that bared mentioning, as well as some local classics that need to be in your glass come this weekend.
If you need help deciding on your adult libations for this St. Patrick’s Day, let us, let these words, help put your mind at ease. These beers aren’t fizzy and green. Like the article titles suggests, we’re beyond artificially dyed lagers. Well, there might be one or two green beers listed here. We have compiled a list of the area’s best Irish-inspired beer to enjoy on Patty’s Day Weekend. Actually, these beers would probably be great year-round, but we digress.
12 Gates Brewing Irish Dry Stout (4.7% ABV): “You don’t need green beer to celebrate St. Patty’s Day,” 12 Gates says. “Instead celebrate with our Irish Dry Stout. With loads of soft roast, creamy texture, and at only 4.7% you can responsibly enjoy a few.”
42 North Brewing Fenian Raid Irish Stout (5%): A traditional Dry Irish Stout featuring medium hop bitterness with a dry-roasted character due to roasted barely. Expect light malt notes to go along with caramel flavors.
Big Ditch Brewing Galaxy Red (7%): A pilot batch of this beloved seasonal is making its return for this weekend. “Not a traditional Irish Red by any means, although it does have a nice malt backbone,” Big Ditch says, “it mixes that maltiness with tropical hop flavors like pineapple, mango, and papaya from the Australian Galaxy hops used. A nice hoppy alternative this St. Patrick’s Day!”
Buffalo Brewing Company 1841 Irish Red (6%): Named in honor of the year the first Irish Mayor Isaac Harrington was elected and brewed with 100% Irish Malt and 100% English Target Hops. If you grab some at the brewery, make sure you grab a pint from their British Anagram Hand Pull Beer engine.
Community Beer Works Woodruff Pun Intended (4.4%): We told you this list would have some green beer. And here it is, well, sort of. CBW took their house dry hopped gose Pun Intended and added woodruff, an herbaceous perennial. It’s more a greenish hue, but you get the point.
Flying Bison Aviator Red (5.25% ABV): Aviator Irish Red Ale is an obvious choice. It’s a true Buffalo beer institution. Aviator is one of Flying Bison’s original beers from 2000 when they opened on Ontario Street. It’s a tribute to one of their founders, Larry “Red” Mrozek who passed away before the brewery opened.
Hamburg Brewing Irish Red (4.8%): Smooth, malty and just the right amount of roasted, Hamburg’s Irish Red is a must-drink for St. Patrick’s Day. “Our Irish Red Ale stands with tradition as a smooth malty ale backed by a good dusting of roasted barley, just like the ones across the pond. So even if you are not Irish, you can still drink like it,” the brewery says of their Irish-inspired beer.
New York Beer Project Irish Destination Red IPA (6%): “This one’s for all the Irish obsessed bar fans in the month of March!” NYBP says. “Introducing Irish Destination: the new star in the NYBP traveling IPA series. A juicy and delicious IPA that transports you across the pond with just one sip!”
Old First Ward Red Clover (5.5%): “Our Red Clover is an Irish Red that breaks the mold of the mass-marketed malty beers you commonly see,” OFW says of the brew. “We balance a mild malt sweetness with a nice roastiness to make a very drinkable beer.”
Pressure Drop Brewing No Irish Need Apply Red IPA (6.5%): Because this list needed another IPA, especially a nice and malty red one. Expect bright citrus, dragon fruit, and stone fruit with mild roast and a fully bodied crisp finish.
Resurgence Brewing Irish Breakfast Ale (5.2%) and Imperial Irish Breakfast Ale (9.5% ABV): Both feature a red ale with notes of maple, coffee and smoked meat. The imperial version has been aged to pump up those flavors. Its higher alcohol content makes it a perfect sipper. Both are available at our taproom and at local beer sellers, but supplies are limited.
West Shore Brewing Irish Red (5%): Hopped with East Kent Golding and Northern Brewer, this beer will be malty sweet with a nice crispness to it. “You may not have red hair, but you’ll feel like a red-headed Irishman while our drinking this St. Paddy’s Day special,” West Shore says of their Irish Red.
Woodcock Brothers Brewing Reuben Wilson Red Ale (5.2%): Named after the founder of the brewery’s lakeside town and brewed for their 2018 St. Patrick’s Day party, this traditional Irish Red Ale is packed with a fun, malty sweetness, is light and clean on the palate and finishes crisp and bright. “The perfect brew to celebrate our Celtic Heritage,” Woodcock says. “It’s deep amber, hazy, and as Irish at it gets. Slainte!”
In the words of a traditional Irish blessing, ‘May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.’
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter at @buffbeerleague, on Instagram at @buffalobeerleague and on Facebook at @thebuffalobeerleague.