I've been to Ireland. Drank Guinness in Ireland, enjoyed mussels in Ireland, saw U2 perform in Ireland and listened to some of the sexiest female accents to be heard in the world -- in Ireland.
Although I remain a committed fan of all things Irish, any "amateur night" holiday that causes wretched beer to be colored green and consumed along by prospective vomiteers with no known connection to Ireland is not one to be taken too seriously -- but as in so many other ways, the Irish know when not to take themselves seriously for the sake of the party.
We always try to showcase a relevant draft ale or two for the occasion of this Irish international holiday, and this year is no exception. Both the following newcomers will be on tap later this morning (March 17):
Upland Castle Rock Irish Red derives from the Indiana State Fair "Beer Geek" homebrewing competition's winning recipe, as brewed by our friends at Upland in Bloomington and distributed by the competition's sponsor, World Class Beverages. It's unpreviewed, but should be fun.
BBC Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout was launched in conjunction with last week's St. Patrick's Day Parade in Louisville, and comes to us for the first time.
I had a preview last week, and the libation is a balanced one, indeed. At first sip, the roastiness of the stout deftly shadows and masks the influence of the bourbon barrel, but as one gets deeper into the glass, the bourbon sweetness and alcoholic warmth come into play, leaving a quite satisfying and flavorful finish.
This is not an "in your face" bourbon barrel ale, and this will disappoint some, but I believe more will be entranced by the subtleties and complexities of flavor that go so far toward marking an ideally contemplative pint.
And, of course, plenty of Guinness Stout and Smithwick’s Irish Ale will be on hand throughout the day. Remember that the Rich O's "black and tan" is a pint of each, mixed the way God intended -- in your stomach.
That's what you get when a Berliner-style lactic weiss bier is mixed with woodruff syrup ... and it's not a German-theme holiday today, is it?