By Mark Keane
With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, we decided to come up with a list of the best Irish craft beer and whiskeys to celebrate the day with. Grab that bottle opener or whiskey dram and enjoy a taste of Ireland this Paddy’s Day!
Galway Bay Brewery’s Of Foam and Fury
Galway Bay Brewery made a huge splash in Ireland’s beer world when they first released Of Foam and Fury. It was a hugely hopped Double IPA, coming in at 8.5% and full of tropical fruit flavours. The beer has deservedly won many awards and has often been recognised as the best beer in Ireland. Despite its strength, the beer is very easy to drink so don’t be having it too early on Paddy’s Day!
Teeling The Revival
This is one of the many great releases from the Teeling Whiskey Company, celebrating the first new whiskey distillery in Dublin for nearly 125 years. The 15 years of ageing in Caribbean Rum barrels has been very kind to the whiskey, with subtle light notes of vanilla and raisin. As this is the centenary of the Easter Rising, €100 for a bottle is a nice round figure for a very collectible bottle of whiskey.
White Hag’s oatmeal chocolate milk stout
The brewers at White Hag brewery in Sligo keep churning out great beers. They have beers to suit most tastes, but their “White Sow” beer, an oatmeal chocolate milk stout, is a particular favourite of ours. It’s made with lactose, oats and cocoa which give it a sort of rich milk chocolate flavour. The brewers play around with this beer occasionally by running it through freshly roasted coffee beans or by injecting it with nitrogen to give it a smooth creamy mouth feel. All versions of it are tasty though!
Released in 2013 this whiskey celebrates 100 years of the Paddy brand. Named in honour of Paddy Flaherty who was selling Cork Distillers’ whisky around the country. This €78 whiskey has been matured predominantly in first fill bourbon and sherry casks and is arguably the best bottle of whiskey released by Paddy’s to date.
Kinnegar Rustbucket Rye Ale
Kinnegar has been brewing amazing beers in Donegal for years now. Their Rustbucket rye ale has all the classic flavours of a well made ale, but also a touch of spiciness from the rye. It comes in at 5.1%, meaning its well worth picking up a bottle or two of it. Keep an eye out for its older version, Black Bucket, a black rye IPA, you will no doubt fall in love with it too!
Tyrconnell Sherry Finish
Tyrconnell Sherry Finish is a multi-award winning whiskey that costs around €75 a bottle. This has a rich texture with flavours of caramel, dried fruits and a smooth finish. One of the first Single Malts to offer a Sherry finish, a fine example which many Irish whiskeys have since followed.
Rascal’s Big Hop Red
A list of Irish beers wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a red ale. Rascal’s Brewing Co. has started canning their beers, meaning Big Hop Red is ideal to stock up on if you find yourself trekking to a house party for St. Patrick’s Day. The beer has a sweet caramel flavour from its malts, with a zesty hop flavour and piney aroma. Another great addition to Ireland’s craft beer scene!
Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy
The most expensive of those featured at €215 a bottle but for good reason. It’s another commemorative bottle dedicated to the Master Distiller of Midleton for 47 years. Incredibly complex in flavour, aged in most part in first fill Bourbon casks, incredible notes of spice, vanilla and toasted wood. A mighty whiskey to celebrate the most momentous occasion.
Wicklow Wolf IPA
The team at Wicklow Wolf has been brewing up a storm since they opened their brewery doors. Their India Pale Ale is for those people who love hops and bitterness! It packs a punch coming in at 6.3% and is full of grapefruit and passionfruit flavours from being dry hopped. If you like this beer, then keep an eye out for Wicklow Wolf’s other beers as they love to brew a few different type of IPA’s.
Jameson Select Reserve
Known by many as Jameson “Black Barrel” referring to the heavily charred Bourbon barrels used to age some of the spirit. This gives more cask characteristics to the flavour profile, including dark chocolate and some subtle maple syrup. A fine addition to the Jameson range and at €48 the best value to enjoy this St Patricks Day.
These fine Irish beers can be bought in any good off license, while the whiskies can be bought from The Celtic Whiskey Shop on Dawson Street.