Share the luck of the Irish this St. Paddy’s Day

March 17, 2020, will likely be remembered as the most miserable St. Patrick’s Day in recent history. The party that wasn’t saw local pubs and lounges, many of whom normally throw big St. Paddy’s Day parties, begrudgingly shut their doors indefinitely as the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave took hold.

Read this article for free:

or

Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe with this special offer:

All-Access Digital Subscription

$1.50 for 150 days*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles
Continue

*Pay $1.50 for the first 22 weeks of your subscription. After 22 weeks, price increases to the regular rate of $19.00 per month. GST will be added to each payment. Subscription can be cancelled after the first 22 weeks.

Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/03/2021 (567 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

March 17, 2020, will likely be remembered as the most miserable St. Patrick’s Day in recent history. The party that wasn’t saw local pubs and lounges, many of whom normally throw big St. Paddy’s Day parties, begrudgingly shut their doors indefinitely as the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave took hold.

Earlier this year it seemed as though this year’s celebrations were destined for the same fate. But with the most recent lockdown restrictions being loosened, watering holes are once again carefully rolling out their (socially distanced) shenanigans.

Whether you’re heading out for a pint of beer (is green beer still a thing?) or staying hunkered down for your own St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, here are five Irish (or Irish-inspired) tipples to whet your whistle…

Stone Angel Brewing Co. Redhanded Irish red ale

(Winnipeg — $3.79/473ml can, brewery, beer vendors, Liquor Marts)

Stone Angel’s Redhanded is medium copper in colour and slightly hazy, with big malty notes on the nose as well as caramel, bread dough and a hint of spice aromatically. It’s medium-bodied and creamy, with just a hint of sweetness that accentuates the bread dough and malty flavours, and with very subtle hops on the finish. Stone Angel also does an Irish coffee stout, a dry Irish stout and the newly released Brennan’s Barn, an Irish pale ale that’s available at the tap room (1875 Pembina Hwy.) now, and should be hitting select beer vendors imminently.

Oh, and Stone Angel has all manner of socially distant festivities planned on March 17, including live music and a pop-up kitchen with Irish pub-type fare courtesy of Little Goat restaurant. There’s no charge to stop by, and they’ve got a big patio in the back should you feel like kibitzing with folks from outside your household bubble.

 

Nonsuch Brewing Co. Irish red

(Winnipeg — $4.10/473ml can, brewery, beer vendors, Liquor Marts)

Nonsuch’s take on the Irish red ale is slightly brighter, redder and clearer in appearance than the Redhanded, and aromatically brings biscuit, oatmeal, malt and more subtle caramel on the nose.

It’s medium-bodied with some bright effervescence, the biscuit/bread dough flavours working well with the hint of caramel, very little discernible bitterness from hops and a medium, creamy finish. While most of Nonsuch’s offerings are Belgian-inspired, they’ve done a fine job on this wee Irish red ale.

 

Guinness Draught

(Dublin, Ireland — $3.79/500ml can, Liquor Marts and beer vendors)

It’s tough to imagine raising a glass on St. Patrick’s Day and not at least considering sipping on a Guinness. This stalwart Irish stout is deep cola in colour and, when poured from the can, settles out with a persistent, creamy, off-white head, thanks in part to the brewery’s proprietary plastic widget in the can. Aromatically there’s some sweet malt, dark chocolate and a touch of caramel that comes through. On the rich, creamy and medium-plus-bodied palate, it’s soft and smooth, with a hint of sweetness coming with the roasted malt/caramel/chocolate flavours and a relatively short finish (it’s just 4.2 per cent alcohol). Tasty stuff as always, and it’s on sale for $3.39 a can until the end of March. But if you’re heading out to a pub for your St. Paddy’s festivities, Guinness almost always tastes better when expertly poured from a draught line.

 

Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey cask stout

(Edinburgh, Scotland — $3.79/500ml cans, Liquor Marts and beer vendors)

This Scottish brewery likes to experiment with different types of barrels, and in this case has taken a stout and matured it in Irish whiskey casks. It’s deep cola in colour and brings a persistent beige head; aromatically, there are plenty of dark roasted malt, chocolate and caramel notes, as well as a vanilla component from the barrel aging that shows nicely. It’s full-bodied and brings some sweetness on the palate, accentuating the chocolate and vanilla notes, while the lively effervescence and the 6.1 per cent alcohol makes for a long, warm finish. If Guinness is too mellow for you, this stout certainly packs quite a punch.

 

Bushmills Original Irish whiskey

(Antrim, Northern Ireland — $33.99/750ml bottle, Liquor Marts)

As entry-level Irish whiskies go, the Bushmills is as solid as any. Combining grain whiskey matured for years before blending with malt whiskey, it’s pale gold in colour, and delivers lovely floral, cedar, red apple and herbal notes on the nose. The floral and apple notes persist on the palate, with some almost-sweet underlying vanilla notes from the wood and a very subtle ginger/spice/pepper note on the finish. Like most blended Irish whiskies, it’s smoother and more approachable than the typical single malt whisky (although Bushmills also does single-malt products, with fantastic 10-, 16- and 21-year-old single malt offerings available in our market). The Original is also on sale for $31.99 until the end of March, making it a particularly good value.

 

uncorked@mts.net

Twitter: @bensigurdson

Ben Sigurdson

Ben Sigurdson
Literary editor, drinks writer

Ben Sigurdson edits the Free Press books section, and also writes about wine, beer and spirits.

Report Error Submit a Tip