Saint Patrick’s Day is Monday (though if you’re Catholic, the mass celebrating St. Patrick will be tomorrow, since you can’t hold such celebrations during Holy Week), so here’s a reminder: friends don’t let friends drink green beer! A couple of recommendations: any of the Beer Madness brews (at least, the non-macros), or the recommendations in Greg Kitsock’s latest column.
No Guinness on hand? You can substitute Murphy’s Stout, Beamish Stout or O’Hara’s Celtic Stout (the latter a roastier, more aggressive version of the style from a microbrewery in Carlow, Ireland). Anheuser-Busch’s draft-only Bare Knuckle Stout is similar to Guinness in taste and strength. Ask your bartender to top off the pale, citrusy Widmer Hefeweizen with some Bare Knuckle to make a lava lamp, so named because the stout tends to bob up and down like the globules in the lamp.
If you’d prefer a sharper contrast of flavor, layer the sweeter, mochalike Milk Stout from Lancaster Brewing Co. in Pennsylvania atop the brewery’s bitter Hop Hog, an India pale ale. Brewer Bill Moore calls the drink hog’s milk.
Be warned: Many American microbrewery stouts are much heavier than Guinness Draught, particularly if they’re prefaced by the adjective “imperial.” But you can sometimes reverse the order of the layers. Try topping off a Shakespeare Stout from Rogue Ales in Newport, Ore., with that brewery’s Kells Irish Lager. (An O’Shakespeare?)
I can also recommend almost any of the Bell’s stouts (not the cherry though). But whatever you choose, just make sure it’s not green!