Saturday, March 16, 2013

Several Michigan Drink Options for St. Patty's Day

Written by  Ben Darcie
Rate this item
(3 votes)

Several Michigan Drink Options for St. Patty's Day

One again, beer lovers, St. Patty's day is right around the corner. It's a day full of hearty food and hearty drinks, but Craft drinkers find themselves surrounded by macro 'green beer' and a rather intense general love for Guinness. There's nothing wrong with either of those, of course, but I'm here to give your St. Patty's day festivities some options for a Michigan Beer twist!

Arbor Brewing Company - Michael Faricy's Dry Stout The Beer

There are two styles of beer that generally define St. Patty's day: the Dry Stout and the classic Irish Red ale.

Everyone knows that the classic Guinness stout is a staple of St. Patty's day, having been thoroughly engrained into the culture of the festivities since anyone can remember. It's always a pleasure to raise a glass of Guinness on St. Patty's, but for craft lovers, we might want something a little more aggressive.

Guinness is a Dry Stout, a sub-style of the Stout category that is traditionally fermented more aggressively than most stouts, leaving very little tangible sugars residing in the beer. This creates a unique and puckering dryness that is unique to the style.

Michigan offers quite a few Dry Stout alternatives for your drinking pleasure across the state, including Kuhnhenn's Dry Stout, J.B. McGinnis Dry Stout from Frankenmuth BC, Uncle Steve's Irish Stout from Short's BC, Sheehan's Stout from Rockford BC, Michael Faricy's Dry Stout from Arbor BC, Maggie’s Irish Ale fromSaugatuck BC and Senator Lyon's Stout from Grand Rapids BC.

Of course quite a few of these are only available in the taproom. For those of you who are looking for Michigan Beer to bring home from the store, you may have to shift slightly to Porter or regular Stout. I suggest Bell's Porter, Founders Porter, Dark Horse Thirsty Trout Porter, or, if you wanted to go a bit sweeter, grab bottle of Atwater's Vanilla Java Porter.

If you care to go heavier, there are many Michigan Stouts to bring out the Irish in you: I suggest Bell's Kalamazoo and Expedition Stouts, Rochester Mills Milkshake Stout, Dark Horse Too Cream Stout, or Saugatuck Neopolitan Milk Stout. Odds are there will be a Stout on tap at your local brewery, and most bars will have at least one Stout for you to choose from (other than Guinness, of course) on Patty's day.

Smithwick's Irish Red is another staple of St. Patrick's Day. Irish Red is a member of the Scottish and Irish Ale family and is much drier than a traditional Red. The style exhibits very little or no hop presence, allowing maximum drinkability while not sacrificing flavor and complexity.

Irish Red is a popular seasonal style produced by microbreweries, you'll most likely be able to locate one in your local brewpub. There are a few Irish Reds produced across the state by Short's, Milking It Productions 'BRIK', Cellar Brewing, Frankenmuth's 'Red Sky', Harper's, Eagle Monk, Cranker's, and Rockford BC's 'O'Brien's Irish Red', to name a few.

New Holland Artisan Ales Zeppelin Bend

If you're looking to bring some Michigan Irish Red home with you, it may be a bit more difficult; but there are quite a few standard Michigan Amber and Red Ales on the market, including (and definitely not limited to) Mt. Pleasant's Cow Catcher Red, Bell's Amber, Short's Aorta Ale (Imperial Red), North Peak Siren Amber, Dragonmead Erik the Red, Dark Horse Amber, Rochester Mills Rochester Red, Keewenaw Red Jacket Amber, and New Holland Sundog Amber.


For many Beer Lovers, “I'm not taking any shots” is a common phrase spouted on St. Patty's, and quite often, the statement ends up refuted in the first half of the day. A lot of people turn to Jameson Irish Whiskey on St. Patty's, and now, thanks to New Holland Artisan Spirits, we can turn to Michigan made liquor for the little (accidental or not) boosts to our celebrations.

New Holland has two types of Whiskey on the market, and they both are commonly featured in bars as a local spirit. Keep an eye out for them during your celebrations this weekend!

Zeppelin Bend is a Straight Malt Whiskey that is twice distilled and aged in double-charred American Oak, and boasts notes of vanilla and clove. Beer Barrel Bourbon flips our common conception of aging; rather than aging beer in oak barrels, New Holland ages this bourbon in beer barrelsfor three months after spending several years in fresh American oak barrels. This kind of aging lends a semi-sweet malt character to the whiskey along with some soft biscuit tones alongside the traditional flavors of toffee and caramel.

For you early morning celebrators, Hatter Royale Hopquila (Hop infused Tequila) makes a delicious alternative Bloody Mary; and for those of you who need a laid back break in the middle of your busy St. Patty's day, enjoy a fantastically bright Knickerbocker Gin and Tonic with a lime.


Irish Car BombMixes and Alternatives:

Some people like to get imaginative with their beverages, and I enjoy it very much myself. Here's a couple of ways to bring Michigan into your Patty's.

Black and Tan

Traditionally composed of half Guinness and half Bass Pale, try a mixture I like to call “The Goodness”: Half Atwater Vanilla Java Porter and half Vandermill Cider, served over ice. If you find these brands lacking, any of your favorite Michigan Porters or Stouts will due for the dark, and any cider or (less-hoppy) Pale Ale will do just fine for the light.

Irish Car Bomb

Instead of Guinness, try dropping your shot into some Bell's Kalamazoo Stout or Founders Porter.

The Four Leaf Dude
Abides (Mint White Russian)

Ask for a classic White Russian with New Holland Dutchess Vodka and a splash of Rumplemintz.


May you have a safe and memorable St. Patty's Day, and raise a glass to Michigan Beer!

Ben Darcie

Ben Darcie

Ben Darcie has been homebrewing since 2006 and is currently the Brewery Representative for Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, MI. He also provides public and private Beer Education and is a Beer Writer for BeerAdvocate, I'm a Beer Hound and three other Michigan publications. He is also the founder of Experience Beer WM and the 9wk Grand Rapids Beer Tasting Class (est. 2010).