We all know that Guinness seems to have a social monopoly on St. Patrick’s Day. We’re shamed if we’re seen drinking something other than the famed Irish stout (unless it’s a Bud Light in a green bottle) on March 17th. But while St. Patrick’s Day is great for Guinness, it’s also the perfect day to try one of the other great stouts on the market.
So, don’t bend to peer pressure. Hoist a pint of one of these non-Guinness stouts this year (after you’ve had your Guinness of course. It is St. Patrick’s Day) Life is all about new experiences, after all.
1. Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Whenever anyone makes a list of the best craft stouts, they always include Kentucky Breakfast Stout. This 11.8% imperial stout is made with more than just malts and barley. It gets a heavy dose of chocolate and coffee before being aged in bourbon casks for a whole year. There’s a reason the label calls it “highly acclaimed” — this beast has a 100 rating from Ratebeer.
2. O’Hara’s Irish Stout
If you still feel like you should be drinking an Irish stout on St. Patrick’s Day, grab an O’Hara’s. It doesn’t have the history of Guinness, but this rich, robust stout has been brewed since 1999. It’s packed with Fuggle hops — adding a bitter finish to the smooth, sweet flavor highlighted by strong roast coffee notes. It’s also a very crushable 4.3% alcohol by volume.
3. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
You’ll want to give this 10% Russian imperial stout the respect it deserves. It’s rich, chocolatey and full of vanilla sweetness. It’s definitely not a beer you’re going to drink all day and is more suited for dessert than dinner, but that makes it a great pick to wind down your St. Patrick’s Day eve.
Sip it slowly and relax after a long day of revelry and limericks.
4. Bourbon County Stout
There’s a reason people wait in line for hours to get their hands on a few bottles of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout. This 13.8% ABV stout is made with five different malts including: caramel, chocolate, and roasted barley. It gets its smooth, chocolate, caramel, smoky flavor from being aged in bourbon barrels.
5. Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break
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You pretty much can’t go wrong with a beer from Evil Twin, but this is one of the brewery’s best offerings. This 11.5% imperial stout has a 96 rating by Beer Advocate and it’s obvious why. This pitch black liquid is chocked full of chocolate, vanilla, and almond flavors.
It’s the kind of beer you’ll want to keep for yourself instead of sharing with anyone else.
6. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
This is one of the most aptly named beers ever. In case you didn’t guess, it’s called “Ten Fidy” because it’s 10.5% alcohol. The flavors of chocolate, coffee, and caramel are exactly what you expect from a stout, but it’s also got a fair amount of hops lurking just under the surface.
7. Cigar City Hunahpus
There’s a special day at Cigar City called “Hunahpus Day” in early March, where eager fans of the beer wait in line to purchase bottles of this extremely limited edition brew. If you somehow have a bottle, drink it on St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy the knockout punch of espresso, vanilla and toffee along with tobacco and oak. An extra kick of chili flavor greets your taste buds at the finish, making for a truly unique flavor experience.