SAINT PATRICK’S DAY
St. Patrick’s Day in my hometown of Lucan, Ontario was somewhat of an unofficial holiday. If you were especially religious, it was the one day during Lent that you could sneak in a pint of your favourite beer without drawing
the ire of Reverend Pocock the following Sunday, which made it the ultimate “cheat day” in the calendar year. If you weren’t religious, it meant that you dusted off your tenuous link with a great, great grandfather’s second cousin who had a cousin “back home in Ireland” and thus became Irish for the day. Whatever your reason for celebrating you needn’t stress too much about it because Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and if God (any God) wants you to celebrate by raising a pint with your friends you should probably do it.
One tradition that I have yet to participate in is the custom of “drowning the shamrock.” At the end of a particularly great St. Patrick’s Day, one places a shamrock into the bottom of a cup, which is then filled with beer and drunk as a toast to the good Saint Patrick. You either drink the shamrock down with the beer or pull it out and toss it over your shoulder for luck. This is something that I can get behind — my wife says I need more greens in my life.
Most reach for a pint of Guinness or a shot of Jameson as their drink of choice on St. Patrick’s Day — and both are great-but how about trying a little something different this year?
Innis & Gunn’s Kindred Spirits — a stout aged in Tullamore DEW whiskey barrels which checks all of the boxes I’m looking to check for a St. Patrick’s Day brew. Dark and smooth with hints of chocolate and coffee this collaboration comes in just over 6% ABV so it may not be the beer you session the whole day but it should be the one you put your shamrock in at the end of the night.
Guinness Stout — The elephant in the room, you simply cannot leave out this Irish dry stout from the list. I prefer to buy it by the pint at the pub (out of a can is a distant second) and it pours with a rich, dense head and drinks remarkably smooth. Guinness is only 4.2% ABV which makes it remarkably sesssionable at the end of the day.
St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout — For those that have read my column religiously for the last few years, you will already know of my affinity for this beer. St. Ambroise simply makes one of the finest oatmeal stouts out there. Period. This beer touches all the bases for me and has a beautifully rounded palate. The oatmeal gives this beer a body that few other stouts can boast and a finish like no other. If you haven’t had it — get two.