There’s Much, Much More Than Guinness in Ireland

Have you had your fill of Guinness yet?

A National Geographic feature on St. Patrick’s Day facts says that “on any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed around the world. On St. Patrick’s Day, that number more than doubles to 13 million pints, said Beth Davies Ryan, global corporate relations director of Guinness.” But with St. Patrick’s Day steadily approaching, know that Ireland has much more to offer than just Guinness.

Epicurious writer Stephen Beaumont recently created an extensive guide to Irish beers. Below are some of his tasting notes to give drinkers a basic idea of what they’re in for when ordering up a pint on St. Patrick’s Day.

Nicola Kast for

Tasting Notes

  • Beamish Irish Stout
    Fairly full-bodied, this stout has a roasty character with a pleasing hint of smoke and gentle coffee notes.
  • Boulevard Irish Ale
    The use of some darker malts give this ale a toasty, almost roasty appeal, while a light, earthy hop bitterness keeps its fruity flavors fully in balance.
  • Diamond Bear Irish Red
    The beautiful reddish-amber color of this ale hints at the notes of caramel, butterscotch, restrained fruitiness, and light roast in its flavor.
  • Finnegans Irish Amber
    More deep gold than amber, this relatively light-bodied brew is neither overly sweet nor particularly bitter, with a dry, quick finish.
  • George Killian’s Irish Red
    The most light-bodied of the beers listed here, Killian’s has a malt accent that distinguishes it from its paler kin, but still drinks light and refreshing.
  • Great Divide Saint Bridget’s Porter
    A trace of chocolate in the aroma of this deep-brown porter signals its sweet mocha start, followed by a roastier, coffee-ish body and toasty finish.
  • Guinness Pub Draught
    It might look intimidating, but this famed stout is fairly light in body, dry, and roasty. It finishes with a hint of burnt toast.
  • Harpoon’s Celtic Ale
    Rich caramel and butterscotch nose, with sumptuous malt and soft, woody hop in the body and finish.
  • O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale
    Robust toffee notes accented by hints of chocolate and vanilla announce the arrival of this malty, raisiny ale with very gentle bitterness and a dry finish.
  • Murphy’s Irish Stout
    The softest of Ireland’s Big Three, this is a malty, softly chocolaty ale, without the appetizing dryness of Guinness or Beamish.
  • O’Hara’s Irish Stout
    Some chocolate sweetness up front is followed by a firmly malted yet dry and roasted character, then an appetizingly bitter and faintly tart finish.
  • Samuel Adams Irish Red Ale
    A rich and fruity aroma precedes a full and rather biscuity malt body accented by notes of cocoa, caramel, and red apple, concluding in a dry, malty finish.
  • Smithwick’s Irish Ale
    Lightly sweet and butterscotch on the nose, medium-bodied, and gently fruity, with a drying note of bitterness on the finish.

One response to “There’s Much, Much More Than Guinness in Ireland


    ‘Tis sure I’ll be wearing the green,

    When the calendar says March seventeen,

    To help me to think,

    It Smithwick’s I drink,

    Just try some, you’ll know what I mean.

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