It's the one holiday when we're encouraged to drink lots of booze — as long as it's authentic Irish beer like Guinness, or green with help of a little food coloring.
St. Patrick's Day is pretty much known as the second best drinking day of the year.
The bars will be packed, so make sure you're up to speed on your Irish beer knowledge beforehand.
You don't want to wind up ordering a whiskey sour — celebrate like the Irish! Here's your guide to the best Irish-style beers to try this St. Patrick's Day.
Guinness Draught Stout
Irish beers range from rich and creamy to light and crisp. Ireland is the home to big breweries, with Guinness dominating the scene. So it only makes sense that Guinness Draught tops our list! This stout is often called a "meal in a bottle" because it's so thick and creamy — pretty much the milkshake of alcohols. Guinness Draught is best enjoyed from a pint glass, with the perfect pour taking approximately 119.23 seconds.
Beamish Irish Stout
Beamish has a lot in common with Guinness. It's a dark beer with chocolate and caramel notes that balance out the bitterness. The head of this beer is said to last longer than a Guinness head. Hints of cinnamon also make it a bit spicier than a Guinness, but the overall effect is perfectly bittersweet.
Murphy's Irish Red
Even if you're not Irish by blood, you get to be Irish on St. Patty's Day. That calls for an authentic Irish red ale! Murphy's Irish Red has been brewed since 1856 (originally as Lady's Well Ale), and along with Guinness and Beamish, Murphy's is one of Ireland's big three breweries. The Irish Red is dry and crisp, with a slightly fruity taste and a hint of caramel.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is Harp Lager — the perfect Irish beer for those who prefer a lighter beverage. Harp is crisp and bitter at first taste, but goes down smooth and refreshing. This is the perfect summer beer, evoking sunshine and four-leaf clovers.
O'Hara's Irish Stout
— Gerald Coakley (@standoneight) January 18, 2015
O'Hara's Irish Stout is the essence of traditional Irish beer, bottled up. This is O'Hara's core brew, famed for its authenticity. The stout has that slightly bitter taste hinting at espresso. Staying true to tradition, it has a touch of roast barley in addition to a heavy dose of tart hops, making it the perfect Irish option.
Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
Speaking of old Ireland, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale originated in Ireland's oldest brewery, Smithwick's, and dates back to the fourteenth century. Today, Guinness brews Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, which is amber, sweet and creamy, but less rich than a Guinness. You can get it on draught or by the can.
Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout
This domestic beer is proudly brewed Irish-style. The dark roast is thick with the flavors of chocolate and coffee found in traditional Irish beers. A Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout has 4.7 percent alcohol and goes perfectly with a burger or corned beef and cabbage. It's only available from January to March, so make sure to order one today.
Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale
Another Irish-style domestic beer, Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale is a dark malt that has distinct touches of toffee and caramel and also carries a hint of citrus with floral aromas. It's smooth with hops, and pours an amber color with a head up to three fingers high.
Victory Donnybrook Stout
This domestic stout is brewed in Downington, Pennsylvania — but make no mistake, it's defiantly Irish in spirit. The Donnybrook Stout has a clean taste full of flavor and a low alcohol content, so you can go ahead and drink 'em down. The invigorating brew is made with two flower European hops, roasted barley and an impressive head proved by the nitrogen pour.
Three Floyds Brian Boru Old Irish Red
— Carlos Giron (@paincane) August 7, 2013
The label on this beer is all kinds of awesome. Brian Boru Old Irish Red is named after Ireland's first and only king of the entire Gaelic race. It's a domestic beer, brewed in Indiana, with a brown color that is tangy but not so bitter. Brian Boru has orange hop flavors mixed with the aroma of pineapple, toffee and caramel. Its low carbonation makes it easy to drink, and its creamy body will make you full.
Photo: Mikhail Esteves | Flickr