Erin Go Brew!

Not so terribly long ago — and all too often — the official beer of Saint Patrick's Day was a light lager liberally dosed with green food coloring. Fortunately for us, we live in hoppier, more enlightened days, in which traditional Irish brewing styles — and their American craft brew counterparts — rank among our most cherished beverages for celebrating Saint Patty's. So, save the green for the wearing on March 17 and pull a pint of one of these popular Irish (or Irish-inspired) brews instead!

Is it even possible to talk about Irish beer without bringing up Guinness? Enormously popular around the world, this creamy, chocolaty Irish dry stout is a wonderful introduction to dark beers. Deep-roasted barley malt gives Guinness its signature dark color, while water from the Wicklow Mountains lends nuance to its rich palette of flavors. Intense, yet surprisingly low in alcohol, this is a quintessential Saint Patrick's Day beer that is just as comfortable around robust meats and cheeses as it is with a plate of oysters on the half shell.

Murphy's Irish Stout
The flavor of this stout is similar to Guinness but with a bit more chocolate on the finish and some bitter peat, too. Brewed in County Cork since the 1850s, Murphy’s relatively low ABV also makes it a nice session beer that complements a wedge of Irish Cheddar, lamb stew or corned beef and cabbage.

Part of the Guinness empire, this dry, easy-drinking golden lager doesn’t quite fit the popular profile of Irish beers, but it's refreshing any time of the year — and at 5% ABV, definitely sessionable. Try it with shellfish.

Conway's Irish Ale
Sporting a picture of the owner's grandfather (an Irish immigrant and Cleveland police officer), this fullflavored, malty red ale from the Great Lakes Brewing Company is great for cooler, early spring evenings. Its 6.5% ABV makes it a little too potent for a session beer, but don't hesitate to pour this with braised short ribs or oxtails, or a thick-cut steak.