Saint Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching and I am reminded that we are all a little Irish on March 17th!
At some point beer dyed with green food colouring became a thing to drink on this occasion. The real meaning of green beer is partially fermented beer. If you’re lucky, sometimes a brewmaster will let you try a taste of their fermenting batch while you’re on one our many choices of brewery tours in cities in BC and Alberta.
When I think of green beer, I think of the terrible beer my friend’s dad had brewing in his closet that we decided to “sample” a lot. We were particularly stupid teenagers and we paid for it by consuming the worst beer I’ve ever tasted.
Aside from flavour-free green macrobrew lagers, a very common beer to drink on St Paddy’s day is Guinness Stout. The silky molasses stout flavours are a worldwide Irish export. I consider this famous beer a gateway stout. Nothing about it really knocks you out, but it does have decent flavour and a little bit of aroma. Best from a tap, but available in cans and bottles.
A better option for those looking for local craft beer is currently available at Main Street Brewing. Oxymoron Stout is a sessionable stout, at 4% ABV, hence ‘Oxymoron’. Normally I can drink one, maximum two stout beers and I’m excusing myself like I’ve just eaten the entire Christmas turkey, stuffing and gravy boat. This dark beer had a bit of coffee aroma with a hint of black licorice, dark chocolate and a very mild head coloured milk chocolate brown. With stout flavour and easy drinkability, this beer should get you through the festivities without having to switch to green beer. This is by no means the only stout beer that is available locally. There are plenty around and all of the breweries I’ve checked recently had either a stout, porter, Irish cream ale or Imperial Stout.
Try these delectable ones at the source (see Vancouver Brewery Tour) or from your local beer provider:
1. Off the Rail- Raybuck Irish Cream Ale - full Bodied and dark reddish colour, brown head, nutty aroma. A little more full bodied and more effervescent than some that I've tried.
2. Moody Ales- Russian Imperial Stout - Russian and Stout, a dark, boozy, licorice, 9% powerhouse of flavour and fun. Dark head, dark flavour, nutty and sweet. If Dublin was in Russia, this is what they'd drink!
3. 33 Acres - 33 Acres of C.R.E.A.M - nitrogenated American cream ale that greatly resembles it's Irish cousins. This is one of best I've tried!
4. R&B - Dark Star Oatmeal Stout - at 4.6% ABV and exceptional flavour this stout is sessionable and deep. One of my favourites since the beginning days for this brewery.
5. Yellow Dog- Chew Toy Coconut Porter - Okay, this one isn't so Irish, but I had to throw it in the mix. Coconut, dark chocolate, rich malty goodness. It's like being on a Caribbean beach in the middle of a smokey Dublin pub.
6. Twin Sails - Con Leche Milk Stout - Sweet, smooth, hints of vanilla and cinnamon. A bit of hoppy bitter finishes this one out. I like all of Twin Sails offerings so far!
7. Hearthstone- Chocolate Milk Stout - a deliciously drinkable lactose infused stout, this stout has a nutty and chocolate flavour with a smooth thick mouthfeel. Delicious!
8. Bridge - All Out Stout - All Out Stout starts off sweet and finishes dry, with notes of coffee and bittersweet chocolate from a combination of roasted barley and chocolate malt. Flaked oats give this beer a smooth, rich body. Cheers!
9. Strathcona - Clover All Over Irish Stout - My favourite stout beer and a strong contender for beer of the month. Love the artwork on the cans, the name, every aspect of the flavours (sarsparilla, coffee, chocolate, rich aroma). This stout should appeal to every palate and my bet is that it will to yours!
10. Andina - Mapalé Milk Stout - Sweet, malty, coffee, licorice, cinnamon. Easy drinking and very sessionable, this is my penultimate favourite for drinking in March and throughout the wet Vancouver winter.
There are plenty more (too many to list in this blog) great beers available locally and around the province. Canadian Craft Tours and Charters wants to help you and your friends and/or loved ones make the most of St. Patrick’s Day, safely and responsibly. Like me, are you always running around at the last moment, trying to hail cabs, make last minute reservations at a local restaurant or swing over to the very busy liquor stores before racing home to put out the feed bags, find a babysitter?
Well, we probably can’t help with the last part, but we can take care of the logistics of planning your fun day or night out of Irishstyle reverie and celebration. We hope you’ll dress green, but we won’t make you drink green beer (yuck!! Who decided that was a good idea?!).
Canadian Craft Tours offers expertly guided St Patrick’s Day tours in every city we service this March 17th. We offer both public and private tours for this event so whether you have a great group of friends and want the whole bus to yourselves or you’re the kind of person who loves jumping into a group of cool new folks that love local craft beer, we’ve got something for you to do, see, experience and taste!