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11 Best Irish Beers (Besides Guinness) to Enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day is meant for Irish beer. If you're at a bar, you'll likely order Guinness on draft, but there's a whole wide world of other Irish brews that are just as good.

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O’Hara’s Irish Stout

If you’re craving a traditional dry stout for St. Patrick’s Day, check out O’Hara’s. It has the same full-bodied, robust malt profile and creamy mouthfeel as Guinness, and it finishes dry and sweet. What makes this brew unique? O’Hara’s is still craft-brewed in Ireland.

Stouts like this were made to stand up to the full-flavored goodness of shepherd’s pie—which you’ll have to call cottage pie if it’s made with beef. Here are 8 more things you never knew about shepherd’s pie.

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IRVINE, CA - JANUARY 11, 2015: A single bottle of Harp Lager on a bed of ice. Harp is an Irish lager created in 1960 by the Guinness Brewing Company, brewed with pure water from the Cooley Mountains.; Shutterstock ID 245199547; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHLunaseeStudios/Shutterstock

Harp Lager

Guinness may brew this beer, but it’s everything that their signature stout is not. If you’re not in the mood for a thick, milkshake-like brew, you’ll love the light, crisp flavor of this lager beer. It’s sweet, creamy and refreshing—and it pairs perfectly with colcannon potatoes.

Can’t decide what you’re in the mood for? Mix this light lager with a dry stout to create a half and half.

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Smithwick’s Irish Red

This one’s another departure from the traditional heavy stouts. It has a sweet and malty backbone, but the burst of flavorful hops balances it out with a touch of bitterness, keeping it easy to drink. It’s also a perfect companion for the rich, salty flavor of your corned beef and cabbage.

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LONDON, UK - FEBRUARY 14, 2018: Aluminium can of Murphy's Draught irish Stout beer on white background.; Shutterstock ID 1027529164; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHDenisMArt/Shutterstock

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Like Guinness, Murphy’s Irish Stout is sold in draught-style cans, complete with a nitro widget that helps it pour just like it would at the pub. This Cork-based beer is rich and thick, and because it’s pronounced coffee presence helps it finish less bitter, it almost tastes like chocolate milk. That makes it ideal for creating adult beer floats with ice cream.

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Porterhouse Red Irish Ale

If you can get your hands on Dublin’s Porterhouse beers, you’re in for a treat. The cool, funky packaging describes this craft red as “exuberantly, joyfully fruity with a bit of malty caramel.” Sounds like a nice change from the traditionally heavy beers to me! It should pair well with carb-heavy boxty, Ireland’s version of potato pancakes.

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Germany, Munich - May 1, 2018: A pack of Kilkenny beer in bottles, product of Ireland.; Shutterstock ID 1084382348; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHFOXARTBOX/Shutterstock

Kilkenny Cream Ale

While Kilkenny is technically a red, it tastes mild and creamy thanks to its unique bottling style that uses 50 percent less carbonation than most beers. It’s still an excellent full-flavored choice for St. Patrick’s Day, and it would taste great alongside a slice of Irish soda bread.

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Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown

Okay, so Samuel Smith’s might be brewed in Yorkshire in the North of England, but it’s still an excellent choice for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. It’s dry like an Irish stout but nutty and caramel-forward like a red. It can easily stand up against the rich and hearty flavors of an Irish Beef Stew.

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Harpoon Celtic Ale

This Boston-brewed Irish red ale is generous in both hops and malt. It’ll taste great no matter whether spring comes early this St. Patrick’s Day or winter lingers a bit longer than expected. Enjoy it with the luscious combination of creamy egg yolk and savory sausage by making a few Scotch eggs.

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Left Hand Milk Stout

This Colorado brewery is doing it right with their sweet stout, which can be found bottled with nitro widgets to give it a creamier consistency and a thick, milkshake-like head. It might not be a traditional course on the St. Patrick’s Day menu, but this beer makes a killer pairing with oysters.

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George Killian’s Irish Red

While it has the word “red” in the title, this one’s actually an Irish lager! It does have toasty notes, but it finishes light and peppery. It makes a nice balance against rich and creamy dishes, like cheesy potato casseroles.

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Guinness Special Export

I know, we said we weren’t going to include Guinness! To be fair, this Special Export edition is far from the dry stout you know and love. It’s strong and rich with a chocolate-forward, fruity flavor, making it more of a dessert beer. Pair it with a cheese platter or a slice of chocolate cake, and you won’t be sorry you did.

Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.

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