If you’re following me on social media, you probably saw all the posts last year about my wife and my trip to Ireland last year. It was almost what I would consider a last minute trip, but something we had been dreaming of and planning in our minds for years. I don’t actually have a full, written out account of the trip yet but I do have plenty of pictures and stories. Hopefully I’ll get to a few of those eventually. But being that time of year again, I figured it was only right to bring up a few things I learned from my time with the Irish.
And here again is the obligatory disclaimer, I don’t claim to be a beer expert, I’m a beer enthusiast and I enjoy drinking and trying different things. I am also not Irish although I wish I was. What I do know is that I love Guinness. Like a lot. And that I did take a week long trip to Ireland, I drank a lot of Guinness there and I perused quite a few of the pubs there.
What To Drink
Guinness. If you really want to drink like an Irishman, find an Irish pub that has Guinness on tap, that has Guinness glasses (and actually uses them), and knows how to properly pour a nitro beer. There are a few places in and around Kansas City that you can get this kind of treatment. Brady’s Public House, O’Dowd’s, and Llywelyn’s Pub are a few of my favorites that come to mind.
Now I’m not here to change your mind on stouts, if you don’t like them, who am I to say your taste buds are wrong. If you have never tried Guinness or are just afraid because it’s so dark, I would say give it a try. You never know until you try it. You might just feel some of that old Irish spirit flowing through you.
If you’re completely against Guinness or dark beers in general there are definitely other options. Another one that is pretty popular overseas is the cider. A good Magners or Strongbow cider will definitely fill the role of a missing Guinness but with a completely different flavor. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can order one of my favorite mixes called the Snakebite. A cider on the bottom with some Guinness on the top.
Need a regular beer but still want to feel like a little leprechaun? Guinness actually makes quite a few different beers that you can find around town. Harps and Smithwicks are usually pretty easy to find and should be even easier this time of year. You should also be able to find the Guinness Blonde and the Rye Pale Ale at most liquor stores, I don’t think I’ve seen those on tap anywhere.
Not feeling beer this St. Paddy’s day? Then the answer is whiskey. And I’ll just leave that for a whiskey blogger.
How To Drink It
Now that you’ve decided on a beverage, here comes the important piece. This part is actually the reason I started this post in the first place and probably the part of Ireland that I miss the most. The pub at every other storefront, all overflowing with Guinness drinking patrons was pretty awesome, don’t get me wrong. But the way that the Irish drank was something I’ve never seen before. And no, I’m not talking about how much they drink, even though it is a lot.
In Ireland, drinking, beer, and Guinness in particular was a way of life. Whenever we went into a pub, it seemed almost sacred. Every single pub served their beer, not just Guinness, but every single beer in it’s proper glass. I don’t remember the last time I saw that unless you’re ordering a Stella or Sam Adam’s. Want to order a Bud Light? I’m not sure why but I can guarantee you, if they have it on tap, they have the proper glasses that Anheuser-Busch wanted it to be in. An not only the glasses, but the bartenders, every single one of them, knows how to pour a beer, especially the fabled Black Stuff. Even in the most crowded, busy, shoulder-to-shoulder pub, the bartender would pour 3/4ths of the pint, let is sit for 119.5 seconds (give or take), and then top it off for you. It was crazy and I have never seen anything like it.
And lastly, the Irish drank their beer because they enjoyed it. It wasn’t to get drunk (although they definitely did get drunk). It was because they and all their friends always go out to the pub for a pint. These people were truly drinking because it was a way of life, and it was a way of life they were all enjoying together.
This St. Paddy’s Day, I encourage you to not just get drunk. I challenge you to drink something fun, something that you enjoy. And most importantly, drink with your friends. Invite them out, invite them in, have a good time, and drink like the Irish.