I see you with your Guinness, your Harp, or—heaven forgive, for they know not what they do—your green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. But there’s an equally delicious, often-overlooked style that’s an easier day-drinking option than filling Irish stouts: the Irish red ale. It’s not the most glamorous of beers; maybe you’ve had a Smithwick’s or a Killian’s at a pub in college? But when done well, the Irish red ale offers a lot of flavor for your moderate-ABV buck: Look for balanced malt sweetness followed by roasted bitterness in the finish, minus the hop presence of an amber ale. Grab one of these in each hand—Slainte! from us to you.
Kannah Creek Crossed Irons Irish Ale
It’s all about the malt aroma of this deep amber-hued pour: caramel and a baked chocolate roast don’t come off as overly sweet. The well-balanced sip nails the style, with well-balanced caramel malt, a dry finish and a touch of roast at the back of the tongue. Drink up knowing it’s for a good cause; a portion of sales benefit the Colorado Chapter of the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund.
Devils Backbone Reilly’s Red Ale
A quiet nose offers up light caramel and a dark brown toastiness. There’s an undercurrent of rich, brown butter, which could be a flaw in other styles but is totally acceptable and pleasant in an Irish red. Flavors aren’t complex here: expect low roast and a snappy, lagerlike finish. The moderate ABV (5.6%) seems much lower; this is an easy-drinking, all-day option.