If You Like Guinness Draught, Then Try These Craft Irish Stouts for St. Patrick’s Day

March 16th, 2012 · 6 Comments · Washington Breweries

Thanks to Kelly Bailey on Flickr for the beautiful photo.

So, you like Guinness. While I don’t drink it very often anymore, Guinness Draught is a good beer with a long history and loyal following, and I’m not telling you to stop drinking it, especially on St. Patty’s Day. Guinness is a dry Irish stout, and its most enduring attributes may be the downward cascading effect of the bubbles and the thick creamy head that settles on top of your glass. People are often mesmerized by this process, and rightfully so. It looks pretty cool. This effect is accomplished via the use of forced nitrogen and a restrictor plate on the tap. Most draft beer is force carbonated with just CO2 when poured into your glass. But, beers on a nitrogen tap, such as Guinness, are carbonated with a mix of nitrogen and CO2. Nitrogen is less soluble than CO2, which allows the beer to be poured under high pressure through the restrictor plate in order to create the cascading affect and creamy head.

Many people equate dark beers with high alcohol and a heavy body, but Irish stouts, including Guinness, are typically very low in alcohol. The popular Guinness Draught that you see everywhere is in the range of just 4.1% to 4.3% ABV. In comparison, Bud Light is 4.2% ABV. Despite its jet black color, Guinness is a very sessionable beer and is medium bodied.

So, if you like Guinness why should you think about trying something else? First of all, variety is a good thing. Second, you just might like some of these better than Guinness. Irish stouts are a very popular style, and there are many other options available from some great local breweries. Supporting local businesses, rather than a large, international brewery, is a good thing.

Below are just a few examples of beers that should be available locally this time of year that are similar to Guinness. Most, if not all, should also be pouring on nitro taps.

Big Time Buck Mulligan’s Dublin Stout
Pyramid Nitro Irish Stout (brewed at Seattle location)
Black Raven Morrighan Stout
Moylan’s Dragoons Dry Irish Stout
Snoqualmie Falls Black Frog Nitro Oatmeal Stout
Diamond Knot Steamer Glide Stout
Hale’s Dublin Style Cream Stout
Elysian Daedalus Irish Stout
Boundary Bay Dry Irish Stout

This is just a sampling. Any other locally-available favorites that I left out?

This post was adapted and re-posted from an old post two years ago. So, if you feel like you’ve read this before…you might have. In that same post, I said I was going to start a new series of “If you like this, then try this” posts meant to turn people who like mainstream styles onto local beers. Maybe after 2 years it should be time to follow up on that and do some more of these…

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Scott

    American Caboose Oatmeal Stout

  • Thirsty Seattle

    Love that Snoqualmie Black Frog

  • Mr. Howard

    An excellent post on the eve of St. Paddies. I pour Ohara’s Stout from Ireland. It’s excellent, with just a wee more body than “Guinless”. Let us not forget Murphy’s, Beamish from Ireland.

    I also like to show WAY bigger nw style stout beers on the holiday. The fine stouts coming from Great Divide, Green Flash, Amercan, Boundary Bay, Fort George, Avery, Alesmith, Stone. Bigger, badder, hoppier

  • Liz

    Kudos to Scott for mentioning American Brewery’s delicious Caboose Oatmeal Stout. If you want a pleasant evening of excellent beer, drive to Edmonds, where American Brewery’s tap room dispenses some of the best beer locally in a funky garage in an industrial park. American’s Breakaway IPA is top-notch as well. Come for the beer, walk the waterfront, have dinner at one of our town’s fine restaurants. Edmonds–it’s more than a ferry line.

  • Lido+Lyric

    American’s Oatmeal Stout has an advantage in that it’s available on both nitro AND CO2, which Snoqualmie said they have no intention of doing with their Black Frog. Which means if you want a growler, American is your best option. But both beers are excellent.

  • Allison

    Can you explain more about what makes a stout “Irish-style?”

    And can you clarify if Guinness is pronounced GUINness or guinNESS?

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