My Kind of Beer with Chris Goddard
St Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is as close to a viral holiday as any celebration that happens throughout the year. Everyone seems to dig up some kind of dubious tie to a long-forgotten Irish cousin twice removed on their mother’s side which gives them a right to wear a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button.
When the holiday was first conceived in the ninth century it became one of the many feast days in the liturgical calendar to celebrate the various Saints and their contributions to the church. As the years progressed and the Irish began to emigrate to places all around the globe the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day shifted from its religious roots and began to focus more on Irish culture and heritage instead, much to the chagrin of some religious leaders.
In the early 19th century, St. Patrick’s Day took a turn towards a more main-stream celebration of Irish heritage and strayed further away from its religious roots.
In late 1995, the Government of Ireland decided that they had something pretty special on their hands and helped to create the St. Patrick’s Festival to act as an international celebration of Irish people on the world stage. Also, there was the introduction of beer.
Almost as synonymous as wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is a perfectly poured pint of Guinness. Now, I like Guinness as much as the next guy but there are a number of other great stouts and porters out there that I think you should try out this St. Patrick’s Day:
THE TOM GREEN BEER(Beau’s Brewing) Originally brewed as a bit of a lark this milk stout is now a staple offering in the Beau’s lineup. They don’t actually dump bottles of milk in to the brew kettle but it does have lactose added in, which acts as a sugar. This sugar doesn’t get converted by the yeast but is used to help balance out the bigger, espresso flavours from the dark malts. If you like coffee — you’ll like this.
(Atwater Brewing) Porters and stouts are kissing cousins and in some cases almost indecipherable from each other. The malt used gives this beer a baker’s chocolate backbone that isn’t too rich. The addition of vanilla extract and coffee beans help to round out the flavour. Available only on draught here in Ontario, this brewery based out of Detroit (did someone say road trip?) launched at the Bier Markts throughout Ontario this spring.
(Diageo) The St. James Gate Brewery used to be the largest brewery in the world. Even though they are no longer the largest brewery, they still produce more stout than anyone else in the world. This Irish dry stout pours with a rich, dense head but drinks remarkably smoothly and comes in at only 4.2% ABV, which means you can session it a little easier than some other stouts.
(Belhaven Brewery) This relative newcomer to the stout category has everything one is looking for in a good stout — coffee and chocolate with a smooth richness that brings the two together. Scotland’s answer to Guinness is currently available in cans and on draught here in Ontario.
ST. AMBROISE OATMEAL STOUT
(McAuslan Brewing) I’ve featured this beer before and I’m not mentioning it again because there aren’t any other stouts out there to talk about but there are few as good. This beer touches all the bases for me and has a beautifully rounded palate. The oatmeal gives this beer a body that few other stouts can boast.