Like many great things, St. Patrick’s Day (March 17, as if you didn’t know) has a rich tradition soaked in beer. The custom of drinking like an obscene Irishman actually comes from an old Irish legend. We quote About Food:
As the story goes, St. Patrick was served a measure of whiskey that was considerably less than full. St. Patrick took this as an opportunity to teach a lesson of generosity to the innkeeper. He told the innkeeper that in his cellar resided a monstrous devil who fed on the dishonesty of the innkeeper. In order to banish the devil, the man must change his ways. When St. Patrick returned to the hostelry some time later, he found the owner generously filling the patrons’ glasses to overflowing. He returned to the cellar with the innkeeper and found the devil emaciated from the landlord’s generosity, and promptly banished the demon, proclaiming thereafter everyone should have a drop of the “hard stuff” on his feast day.
Obviously, St. Paddy’s Day is made for celebrating with your booze of choice, but nothing says socializing and solemnizing like a brewski between friends and family. But do you know what makes big toasts even more personal during drinking season? If you actually made that fine bottled beverage yourself. So, in the spirit of Irish saints, the American Homebrewers Association has put together a list of St. Paddy’s-themed brew styles, and if you act fast (i.e. start brewing now), you can have them in time for March 17. Here we go:
Dry Irish Stout: This style has become somewhat synonymous with “Irish beer,” largely due to the popularity of Guinness. Read the recipe for a Deck Head Stout here.
Irish Red Ale: This style is marked by its reddish-brown hue. And guess what? It’s as delicious as it is pretty. Read the recipe for a Better Red than Dead here.
Gruit: This style of un-hopped beer grew in popularity in Ireland during the 1600s, when brewing became more prevalent — but hops were not grown domestically and expensive to import. As a result, brewers used available herbs and spaces in lieu of the bitter hops. This style is strong, so be sure to thoroughly research all ingredients and brew at your own discretion. Sorry, no link for you!
Good luck and may the brews be ever in your favor.