I’m not Irish and neither are you, but any excuse to drink beer is good enough for me. Which is why I’ll be raising a pint on March 17 to commemorate St. Patrick driving his Ford Cortina out of Ireland (I think I’ve got that right). That beer, however, will not be green.
I don’t know who came up with the whole green beer thing. Probably the same person that rebranded Mexico’s austere commemoration of General Ignacio Zaragoza’s unlikely victory in the Battle of Puebla over Napoleon III’s French forces on May 5, 1862, as a pissed up puke fest.
Suffice it to say, green beer is not Irish.
Now, since I’ve covered what not to do for St. Patrick’s Day pretty thoroughly in previous years, I’m not going to bother to remind you to not act like a feckin’ gobshite on St. Paddy’s. (Don’t act like a feckin’ gobshite. There, I said it.)
But maybe if you want to celebrate your questionable Irish heritage by getting blind drunk, don’t drink something that’s going to stain your clothes and bedspread when you puke it all back up. Just a suggestion.
Perhaps partake in a proper Irish pint, instead. And if you can’t find any Guinness, Kilkenny or Harp, there are plenty of local B.C craft breweries that produce some delicious Irish-inspired beers.
So here, then, are some of our local favourites that we’ll be raising on March 17th to celebrate St. Patrick’s victory over Sergio Garcia in a four-hole playoff in the 2007 British Open (I think I got that right).
Dry Irish Stout by Spinnakers Brewing
Here’s the thing: Guinness is not that great. In fact, it’s pretty thin and watery and not particularly flavourful, beyond the one-dimensional, heavily toasted (if not borderline burnt) malt note. There are infinitely more interesting and more flavourful examples of the dry Irish stout out there and Spinnakers’ take is smooth and satisfying with notes of toffee, coffee, toast, roasted barley, and a hint of chocolate. The finish is appropriately dry with little lingering aftertaste, encouraging you to quaff yet another pint.
Gael’s Blood Potato Ale by Crannog Brewing
Yes, potato. This silky, sumptuous red ale brings together old-world malt character and new-world hops along with hefty amounts of the iconic Irish tuber (which actually originated in Peru) for a truly unique experience. This beer must be tasted to be believed, but you have to find it, first.
Fungus and Flowers Gruit by Howl Brewing
In the beginning, before St. Patrick brought hops and pilsner malt to Ireland (I think I’ve got that right), the Gaels of ancient Hibernia drank an ale flavoured and preserved with a mixture of herbs and flowers, known as gruit. North Saanich’s Howl Brewing has all but cornered the market on this historic and somewhat polarizing style, and their Fungus and Flowers Gruit features yarrow, rosehips, lavender and chaga mushroom, just like your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandma used to make.
Renfrew Red by Sooke Oceanside Brewing
SOB’s version of the classic Irish red ale is a great choice any day, let alone the 17th of March. Notes of caramel and marmalade on toast go down smooth in this moreish pub ale that leaves just a touch of lingering sweetness.
Entropy No. 22 by Dageraad Brewing
If your goal on St. Patrick’s Day is to not be able to remember St. Patrick’s Day, then this 11.4% ABV whiskey barrel-aged stout from Dageraad should be more than capable of getting you well wankered. Or properly pissed. Or beautifully bollcksed. Or righteously rat-arsed. Or… you get the idea. Just don’t act like a feckin’ gobshite, K?