Table of Contents Hide
- What Beer Comes From Ireland?
- What Is the Lightest Irish Beer?
- Irish Beers that aren’t Guinness
- Irish Light Beer Brands
- Irish Beer Brands Styles
- Irish Beer Brands FAQs
- What beer do the locals drink in Ireland?
- What is the oldest Irish beer?
- What is the most drunk beer in the world?
We’ll show you a variety of Irish beers that will appeal to any beer drinker, lest you believe Irish beer is all about stouts. Lagers, IPAs, ciders, and, yes, stouts are all available. You can be sure you’re celebrating since some of these breweries date back to the 1700s. We’ve compiled a list of some of your favorite Irish beer brands, Irish beers sold in America, Irish light beer styles, and Irish beers that aren’t Guinness. While some of the Irish beer brands on this list may be familiar to you, others will be lesser-known or craft brews that you’ll want to learn more about. Of course, the best way to learn about new beers is to try them, but before you do, have a look at this list of Irish beer brands.
What Beer Comes From Ireland?
Ireland is renowned for its stouts, which are often characterized by roasted, unmalted barley and a black color and flavor. Red ales, which often have a slight sweetness and a crimson hue, are also quite popular.
#1. Guinness Extra Stout
Without the legendary Guinness, no guide to Irish beer brands would be complete. While it could just be a marketing trick, this stout was founded in Dublin in 1759, and the company recommends pouring its beer using a particular 2-part procedure to make the perfect pint.
#2. Porterhouse Brewing Company
While Ireland is known for its excellent beer in the field of Irish beer brands, the big names, such as Guinness, still receive most of the attention. Independent craft breweries didn’t really take off until 1996 when Porterhouse opened its doors in Dublin. Their Rambler Juicy Pale Ale has hints of orange peel, watermelon, and citrus.
#3. Smithwick’s Red Ale
Smithwick’s was first made in the heart of Kilkenny in 1710 at St. Francis Abbey, and it is now one of Ireland’s most popular ales. This red-colored beer, unlike traditional hefty Irish stouts, has a moderate bitterness that is balanced by sweet, malty aromas.
#4. Murphy’s Irish Stout
Since 1856, this dark, thick beer has been made in Cork, Ireland. Because of the smooth coffee and chocolate flavors, it has nearly no bitterness. It’s almost like a dessert and a beer all rolled into one!
#5. O’Hara’s Irish Stout
Unlike the big-name Irish beer brands that make stouts (such as Guinness), O’Hara’s is a family-owned business that still crafts stouts in Ireland. Its flagship beer is a full-bodied stout with a creamy flow and a strong espresso flavor that keeps faithful to the style. It’s an ideal Irish beer for all occasions.
What Is the Lightest Irish Beer?
The original Beamish yeast, which has been used by the brewery since 1792, is still used. Murphy’s Irish Stout is the lightest and sweetest of Ireland’s “Big Three” beers. Murphy’s has a body that is light, smooth, and chocolatey, with hints of caramel and toffee.
Irish Beers Sold in America
Your natural tendency is to order a Guinness when it comes to Irish beer brands. That’s all right. It’s a classic, with a long history of good pouring and sipping skills, and it’s widely available. However, there is a universe of Irish-style American craft beer to discover, and it isn’t all stouts.
For example, there are Irish red ales. Irish red ales are similar to American red ales, but they focus on malty sweetness rather than bitterness from hops. Then there are Irish cream beers, which are light-bodied ales akin to pale ales that are easy to drink. You don’t even need to fly to Ireland to get a taste of it. Good Irish-style beers can be found in the United States.
Here are ten of the best Irish red beers sold in America.
Below are the following 10 Irish-style beers available in America.
- Sam Adams Irish Red
- Magic Hat Bob’s First Ale
- Boulevard Brewing Company Irish Ale
- Tin Whiskers Brewing Company Irish Cream Stout
- Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale
- Harpoon The Craic Irish Red IPA
- Goshen Brewing Company Irish Fog
- Finnegans Irish Amber
- George Killian’s Irish Red
- Nitro Irish Stout by Breckenridge Brewing Company is one of the Irish beers available in America.
Irish Beers that aren’t Guinness
When I’m asked to name an Irish beer, the first thing that comes to mind is Guinness. There are 5 Irish beers on this list that aren’t Guinness. Let’s go through the list of Irish beers that aren’t Guinness.
#1. Murphy’s Irish Stout
Murphy’s Irish Stout is a stout made in Ireland. Since 1906, it has been Ireland’s second-largest brewery, and with beers like the Irish Stout, it’s easy to see why. It’s classified as an Irish Dry Stout, with a delicious blend of toffee and espresso. It’s the least bitter of all the Irish Stouts, and if you’re not careful, you can mistake it for a dessert rather than an adult beverage. Murphy’s Irish Stout is one of the classic beers that aren’t Guinness-made.
#2. Smithwick’s Red Ale
Smithwick’s Red Ale is a red ale brewed by Smithwick’s Brewery This award-winning red ale combines sweet malt with hop bitterness for a well-balanced brew. This dry, crisp beer mixes well with traditional Irish meals because of its 3.8 percent ABV.
#3. Porterhouse Brewing Company
Porterhouse’s Oyster Stout is a stout made with oysters. Throughout the 1700s, pairing a stout with oysters was typical in taverns and public houses. As oyster beds declined and pale ales grew more popular, the tradition died out. Today, the Porterhouse Brewing Co. is recreating a part of that old tradition by shucking oysters into the brewing tanks, providing a unique flavor to the beer that complements the flavors of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and a smidgeon of tobacco.
#4. Galway Bay Brewery
Galway Bay “Of Foam and Fury,” a 2014 Beoir Beer of the Year winner, demonstrates why it’s better to go big or go home when it comes to IPAs. It has a hazy orange color and a fizzy white head, and it tastes like tropical fruits like mango, citrus (grapefruit and blood orange, anyone?), and hops. While you might be tempted to think of it as a light summer drink, with an ABV of 8.5 percent, you won’t be for long.
#5. O’Hara’s Irish Craft Beers
O’Hara’s Irish Stout is a stout made in Ireland. The Carlow Brewery is going back to basics, resurrecting the ancient and beloved Celtic brewing practice. Their award-winning Irish Stout (4.3 percent ABV) has won a bronze medal in the Dublin Craft Beer Cup thrice, as well as silver medals at the Beer International Recognition and BTI World Beer Championships. This award-winning beer is one of the Irish beers that aren’t Guinness-made.
Irish Light Beer Brands
Not all Irish beers are hard enough to make you go high, there are still some Irish light beers with that smooth silk, malt flavor, and creamy goodness. Below is a list of Irish light beers;
#1. O’Hara’s Irish Stout
Check out O’Hara’s if you’re looking for a typical Irish light beer dry stout. It boasts the same full-bodied, strong malt flavor of Guinness, as well as a creamy texture and a dry, sweet finish. What distinguishes this brew from others? In Ireland, O’Hara’s is still handcrafted. Stouts like this were created to stand up to the full-flavored richness.
#2. Harp Lager
This beer isn’t made by Guinness, but it’s everything that their classic stout isn’t. You’ll enjoy the Irish light, crisp flavor of this lager beer if you’re not in the mood for a thick, milkshake-like brew. It’s sweet, creamy, and light. Plus it goes great with colcannon potatoes.
#3. Smithwick’s Irish Red
This one’s another departure from the conventional heavy stouts. It’s an Irish light beer with a sweet and malty backbone, but a burst of aromatic hops balances it out with a hint of bitterness, keeping it drinkable. It’s also a great match for the salty, rich flavor of corned beef and cabbage.
#4. Murphy’s Irish Stout
Murphy’s Irish Stout, like Guinness, comes in draught-style cans with a nitro widget to assist it pours like it would at a pub. This Cork-based beer is creamy and viscous, and it nearly tastes like chocolate milk because of its strong coffee presence, which helps it endlessly bitter. As a result, it’s perfect for making adult beer floats.
#5. Kilkenny Cream Ale (Kilkenny Cream Ale)
While Kilkenny is officially a red, because of its unusual bottling style, which employs 50% less carbonation than normal beers, it tastes mild and creamy. This Irish red ale from Boston is with hops and grain.
#6. George Killian Irish Red
Despite the fact that the name includes the word “red,” this is an Irish lager! Although it has toasted flavors, the finish is mild and peppery. This beer is also one of the Irish beers available in America.
Irish Beer Brands Styles
Dry stout and red ale are the two most common beer varieties associated with Ireland. Stouts are a subgroup of porters, and the term “stout” was originally used to describe a stronger variant of a porter.
Of course, Guinness is the most famous Irish-style dry stout beer, and it serves as the model for most current stouts.
The most well-known breweries in Ireland are famed for their stouts. Due to the success of Guinness, dry Irish stouts, as well as foreign/extra type stouts, have become somewhat synonymous with “Irish beer.”
Guinness was formed in the mid-1700s and began by brewing a light-colored, bitter beer before transitioning to a dark ale known as a porter at the time, which was brewed for the working-class Irish. This ale would go on to become one of the world’s most popular stouts.
Roasted, unmalted barley is one of the most important elements in brewing a dry Irish stout. Unmalted, roasted barley contributes to the black color of a dry stout as well as the dry, roasty, and bitter flavors that define the type. To get a creamier texture, unmalted flaked barley can also be utilized. However, let’s find out the different Irish beer styles below;
Dry Stout in the Irish Style
Irish beer-style dry stouts are typically black in color and have an SRM of 35-40. Their flavor is primarily characterized by roasted barley that smells like coffee and a roasted malt scent. Despite the emphasis on malt, hop bitterness is usually moderate to intense. Nitro taps are frequently used to serve dry stouts, resulting in a smooth, creamy texture.
Red Ale from Ireland
Red ale, along with dry stout, is arguably one of the most famous styles in connection with Ireland. The term “Irish red ale” didn’t become popular until Coors bought Lett’s Brewery and renamed its Enniscorthy Ruby Ale “Killian’s Irish Red.” In the 1990s, marketing initiatives emphasizing the Irish link, combined with beer lovers’ desire to widen their style horizons, propelled Irish red ale to global prominence.
This Irish beer style is distinguished by its reddish-brown tint, as the name suggests. Hop bitterness is kept to a minimum, and yeast flavor is usually missing, allowing the malt to take center stage. Caramel and toffee flavors are instilled by crystal malts and roasted barley, making this an extremely session-able beer. Killian’s Irish Red is an example of an Irish red ale that has been made like a lager.
Gruit is a large category of unhopped beer that has been popular throughout Europe for centuries. Brewing beer grew more popular after the English forbade a popular method of distillation in Ireland during the 1600s, despite the fact that hops were not grown domestically and were expensive to import. As a result, Irish brewers began to make beers with readily available herbs and spices instead of bitter hops, which would later gain popularity.
Most gruits were made with bog myrtle, yarrow, and wild rosemary, with additional locally available herbs and spices added to taste. Many brewers maintained their herb additions a closely guarded secret, resulting in a diverse range of gruits, even within a single region.
If you’re looking to prepare a real gruit, keep in mind that many of these herbs and spices are inebriating and psychoactive, making for a very strong beverage. Research all ingredients well, and create gruit at your own risk.
More well-known Irish beer brands finest Irish beer
The final portion of our guide to the best Irish beer brands examines some of Ireland’s most popular beers, many of which are available “over the pond.”
From O’Hara’s and Kilkenny to other famous Irish larger brands, you’ll find it all here.
#1. O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
One of the worst hangovers I’ve ever experienced occurred after consuming 5 or 6 O’Hara’s Irish beers at a wedding a few years ago. The balance of European IPAs is combined with the dry hopping of American pale ales in this IPA.
Expect citrus flavors with a bitter finish. Aside from the hangover, this is a fantastic Irish beer that is definitely worth trying.
#2. Kilkenny, Irish Cream
I’d heard a lot about Kilkenny Irish cream ale over the years, but I was always hesitant to try it because people describe it as an Irish brew with a Guinness’s head…
I didn’t lash this for the first time in a bar in Cork till around 5 or 6 years ago. I was startled, and I’ve experienced it several times since.
Kilkenny is an Irish cream ale that was born in Kilkenny’s St. Francis Abbey Brewery. It has a nitrogenated cream head, like a pint of Guinness.
#3. Harp Irish Lager
Harp was once one of Ireland’s most popular beers, and its advertisements are legendary. Some people dislike it, although it’s a good beer when served cold and on draught.
Guinness created Harp, an Irish lager, in its Dundalk brewery in 1960. Although Harp is a popular Irish beer in some regions of the country, it can be difficult to get elsewhere.
If you see it on tap, give it a lash. If my memory serves me correctly, it is also reasonably priced.
#4. Guinness Golden Ale
Following that is the relatively new Guinness Golden Ale. As part of a secret Santa gift, I received a handmade gift package with a bottle of this, and it was surprisingly nice.
The only thing that would deter me from purchasing it is the price — a bottle of it starts at roughly €3.25, which is quite high (prices may change).
The Guinness Golden Ale is made with Guinness yeast, Irish barley, hops, and amber malt. Give this a try if you’re seeking for light Irish beers that are easy to consume.
#5. Murphy’s Law
OK, Murphy’s is an Irish stout, but I’m including it here to perhaps convince some of you that Ireland is more than Guinness!
In December of 2019, I drank my first Murphy’s, which came with a head so lush and thick that I could have set a Euro coin on it…
Murphy’s was founded in 1856 in Cork, Ireland. This is difficult to find where I reside (Dublin), but it is easily available in Cork.
Because this stout is only 4 percent proof, it’s easy to consume and leaves a little aftertaste. I’ve got a few cans of this stuff in the fridge, and it’s fairly good out of a can!
This article should NOT be used as a guide for purchase, it’s solely for informational purposes. We thereby emphasize that we do NOT endorse any of the brands in this post. They are subject to your choice of decision and verification. We are not sponsored by any of the brands and the information provided here is to the best of our knowledge.
Irish Beer Brands FAQs
What beer do the locals drink in Ireland?
The Guinness Brewery is Ireland’s national drink, and it’s also brewed in over 40 countries around the world.
What is the oldest Irish beer?
Smithwick’s has been making beer since 1710, making it Ireland’s oldest brewery. While it isn’t Ireland’s most famous beer (that honor goes to Guinness, which is only 49 years older), their strong lager is a must-try when visiting the country.
What is the most drunk beer in the world?
Budweiser was the most valuable beer brand in the world in 2021, with a market capitalization of 16.17 billion dollars. The brand was followed by Heineken in second and Stella Artois which placed third.