Bartenders Shout Out The Beers They’re Drinking For St. Patrick’s Day

While St. Patrick’s Day is a great day to get reacquainted with bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and pot-still distilled Irish whiskey, it’s really best known for beer. And while dry Irish stouts like Guinness lead the charge, Irish (and Irish-style) beers are more than simply rich, robust, dark, espresso and chocolate malt bombs.

There are also delicious red ales, lagers, and more. Have you tried an Irish Cream Ale? Today might be the day.

To find the best beer options for St. Paddy’s, we asked the professionals behind the bar what they’ll be tipping back today. Their picks are wide-ranging, along with the usual suspects getting plenty of love.

Porterhouse Red Ale


Dennis Shea, beverage director at Fish & Fire Food Group in Washington, DC

I love Irish Red Ales. So I would suggest The Porterhouse Brewing Company’s Red Ale if you can find it. It’s fruity with a bit of malty caramel, which makes it a truly unique choice.

Average Price: $5 for a 12-ounce bottle

Smithwick’s Irish Red


Eoghain Clavin, brewery ambassador for Guinness

Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale. The quintessential Irish ale, Smithwick’s has a distinctive ruby red color and a malty sweetness without the hop bitterness that is so prevalent with many beers on the market today. Teaming up Smithwick’s and BBQ dishes may be one of the greatest food pairings I’ve ever had.

Average Price: $8.99 for a six-pack

Murphy’s Irish Stout


Tom Garvin, beverage manager at Tribeca’s Kitchen in New York City

Outside of Guinness, I really enjoy Murphy’s Irish Stout when I walk into a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s similar in body style but is a little less bitter coffee than Guinness and a little more toffee and vanilla flavored.

Average Price: $6.99 for a 4-pack

Horse and Dragon Fire Captain

Horse and Dragon

Emily Wang, bartender, and co-owner of Fermly in Denver

Horse and Dragon Brewing Company’s Fire Captain Irish Red Ale is a brilliant malty beer for a great cause. A classically crafted beer with malt-forward sweetness with the perfect balance of hops to smooth it all out.

A portion of the proceeds goes to the Firefighter Community Compassion Fund, which is used to provide immediate assistance to families in need during emergencies.

Average Price: $10.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

Beamish Irish Stout


Austin Zimmer, bartender at Le Privé in New York City

The Beamish Irish Stout. This beer got a great combination of comforting flavors of dark chocolate and coffee. Even if It has been around for a long time, the Beamish stout is still one of my traditional favorites.

Average Price: $8 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

Guinness Stout


Francisco Fonseca, bartender in Puerto Rico

I enjoy a cold Guinness literally any day (especially St. Patrick’s Day), which is a must for some of us. It has a malty sweetness and a hoppy bitterness, with notes of coffee and chocolate. Its palate is smooth, creamy, and balanced.

Average Price: $8 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

Kilkenny Cream Ale


Joseph Fredrickson, bartender at Society Lounge in Cleveland

Kilkenny Irish Cream ale. This is a nitrogen Irish cream ale. It gives that creamy texture and cascade that Guinness is known for, but with more of a caramel crisp tone that I find goes way better with a serving of bangers and mash than a traditional stout.

Average Price: $15 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

O’Hara’s Irish Stout


Evan Charest, bartender and director of operations at Mercantile Hospitality in Los Angeles

Oh, how hard life must be to be an Irish beer not named Guinness. Don’t get me wrong, I love Guinness — but I also love O’Hara’s. Full-bodied, creamy with a robust coffee flavor. Still made in Ireland and stays true to traditional stouts.

Average Price: $8 for a 4-pack

Guinness Extra Stout


Johnny Swet, bartender at owner of Jimmy at the James Hotel in New York City

When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day beers, most people immediately go for Guinness draught. But I prefer Guinness Extra Stout. Subtly bitter with a chocolate and coffee finish. Nice foam, too.

Average Price: $8.49 for a six-pack

Lough Gill Round the Clock

Lough Gill

Frederic Yarm, USBG bartender in Boston

Lough Gill’s Round the Clock is an amazing coffee stout with a lot more richness and complexity than Guinness or Murphy’s stouts. Besides the chocolate and coffee flavors that you would expect from the style, dried fruits, earthy, caramel, and anise notes make for an intriguing sip.

Average Price: Currently Sold Out

Writer’s Picks:

Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale

Great Lakes

This 6.3% ale is perfectly suited to be paired with all of your favorite St. Patrick’s Day fare. Its caramel sweetness and rich malty flavor work well with salty, savory, rich foods like bangers or corned beef.

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Harp Lager


If stouts aren’t your thing, a great option for St. Patrick’s Day drinking is Harp Lager. This sessionable lager is your best choice if you’re planning to drink a few beers on March 17th. It’s crisp, subtly creamy, and has a nice, citrus hop presence.

Average Price: $8.99 for a six-pack