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Shamrocks and Shenanigans: St. Patrick’s Day Stout Season 2022

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, which means it’s also stout szn, in particular, Irish-style dry stout snz, and yes, local breweries have you covered. But first, what makes a stout Irish-style? Mostly it’s the use of dry-roasted barley to create that color; a healthy dose of hops, often English in origin, for a nice bit of herbal bitterness; and well-attenuated yeast for a dry finish. As a bonus, Irish-style stouts are often under 5% alcohol by volume, perfect for a proper session. 

Let’s start in DC, with DC Brau’s Incurable Sadness, a recipe created by Colm Kelly, born and raised in Ireland. Kelly’s moved on and now brews at Other Half’s Ivy City location, but this stout has remained the same. Look for notes of “coffee, roast and bittersweet chocolate” with bitterness stemming from East Kent Goldings hops, says Jeff Hancock, President, Brewmaster, QA/QC Lead & Co-founder. Brau’s taproom has reopened and there the stout is on a nitrogenated draft line, nitro, for a bit of added creaminess. Four packs of 16 ounce cans are available at the brewery and at better beer stores. 

Dynasty’s head brewer Favio Garcia is no stranger to stouts; his wife had a dog named Guinness! 838 Irish-style dry stout, however, “is closer to Murphy’s Stout with its fuller body, sweeter taste, and notes of chocolate,” which he attributes to Virginia grown and malted barley from Murphy & Rude in Charlottesville. “Such great flavor without a whole lot of bitterness,” he notes. Nitro cans of 838 will be released in Ashburn and Leesburg on February 25th. It’s excellent. Garcia’s former employer, Lost Rhino, took home Great American Beer Festival medals in 2018 and 2019 for Shooter McMunn’s Irish-style dry stout, which shouldn’t be hard to find. Keeping it Virginia, Starr Hill’s Dark Starr is also well done, with five Great American Beer Festival medals to show for it, and should be available at your local NoVA grocery store.

When you think of Irish-style dry stouts, no doubt Guinness comes to mind. Well, Guinness Open Gate is on the “right” side of Baltimore for us, less than an hour from DC and near a MARC station. There, properly trained publicans pour the Dublin original we all know and love. As one might expect, March will be a month-long celebration there, every Thursday through Sunday, including special operating hours for St. Patrick’s Day, from 10am-10pm. The two acre outdoor space (social distancing still in effect!) will be transformed into an “Irish village” with tons of food, music, and contactless ordering. Note the special guided tasting and beer dinners, as well

As they’ve done in previous years, the brewing team will release a different special St. Patrick’s Day beer on draught and in cans each Thursday throughout the month of March, including a porter brewed with Irish barley, which sounds pretty cool. 

  • Irish Breakfast Amber (4.8% ABV): an American Amber Ale brewed with Irish Breakfast Tea. Release Date: Thursday, March 3
  • Clover Honey Ale (7.0% ABV): made with local clover honey from Apex Apiary. Release Date: Thursday, March 10
  • Porter (5.5% ABV): brewed with an Irish barley base malt grown in Dundalk, Ireland. Release Date: Thursday, March 17
  • Pineapple Coconut Stout (4.7% ABV):  brewed with pineapple puree and finished on toasted coconut chips. Release Date: Thursday, March 24

No doubt other area breweries will be throwing St. Patrick’s Day parties–peep that Lost Rhino pic up top!–and releasing Irish-style red ales for those not stout-inclined. Follow them, and us, on the socials for more information as we get closer to March 17th. 

 

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