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St. Patrick's Day forecast: Expect a seasonal ale storm

Published: Wed, February 27, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.
Valley Vino March Events

Cellar Sampling:

March 8 and 22; 6 to 9 p.m Avalon at Buhl

Discovery Series:

March; 6:30 to 9 p.m. Station Square

Wine Academy:

March 28; 7 to 9 p.m. Avalon at Squaw Creek


Preparations are well under way for the traditional festivities surrounding St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations often inspire beer drinkers to venture outside their usual domestic beer choices for some more authentically Irish imported or craft beer.

Ireland has one of the proudest and most celebrated brewing traditions worldwide.

The quality and diversity of their brews are celebrated by beer enthusiasts all year and by the rest of the population on St. Patrick’s Day.

While Irish breweries offer a tremendous selection of choices, I will break them down into two simple categories for this article: dark and lighter. The lighter section will be populated by “red” beers.

There are some outstanding Irish Red Ales from local breweries that will show up in this section.

On the dark side, Ireland is well-known for its stouts, especially the famed and popular Guiness Brand. As you will see below, Ireland offers a variety of stouts with different styles and flavor profiles.


Murphy’s Irish Stout (Cork, Ireland)

James J. Murphy and his brothers bought an old hospital in Cork and in 1856 Murphy’s began producing its first barrels of their beloved stout. They were making 4,300 barrels a year after only five years in business.

In 1913 a great legend stated that Vat. No 5 at the brewery ruptured, flooding the brewery and nearby streets with 23,000 gallons of stout. The Cork Constitution wrote that “one worker had to swim 40 yards in the stout to avoid asphyxiation.”

This stout is velvety smooth and lighter in body than most of its Irish brethren. Nice chocolate and malt flavors abound!

Beamish Irish Stout (Cork, Ireland)

Beamish is all about celebrating and maintaining its Irish history. The brewery began producing stout over 200 years ago and has used the same original Beamish yeast dating back to 1792. It was the largest Irish brewery from 1805-1833 when it was overtaken by Guinness.

The Beamish Stout has more hop content, is dryer and is slightly more bitter than the Murphy’s. It is brewed this way intentionally, as it first was in 1805.


Rusted River Irish Red Ale (Youngstown)

Our local brewery (located in the old B&O train station) has caught on in the Valley and around the state.

The “Rusted River Red,” one of their flagship beers, has been brewed continuously since the brewery opened. The beer is now available in most major grocery stores and bars around Northeast Ohio.

The beer is authentic to the Irish tradition with a malty, caramel-toffee flavor with hints of hazelnut and toasty vanilla.

Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale (Cleveland)

This is one of the favorite selections each year at the big St. Patrick’s Day parties. The beer is named after the founders’ grandfather, who was a Cleveland beat cop, and his picture is on the label.

The beer is rich in texture and flavor with roasted malts providing depth and the hops adding nice balance to the finish.

Enjoy these great beers on St. Patrick’s Day safely and have fun!

Contact Brian at brian.fry@myvalleyvino.com or by visiting www.myvalleyvino.com. On vindy.com: stay up to date with Brian’s tastes and travels 24/7.

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