St. Patrick's Day revelers are taking advantage of the holiday falling on a Sunday by celebrating early at "St. Practice Day" parties throughout Miami.
That means most well-meaning bars will serve that St. Paddy's trifecta: Guinness, Harp, and green beer, beginning today. But there are so many other fantastic brews to drink. Some are made in Ireland; some are special editions in honor of the occasion.
Either way, when you've graduated from the green beer (and seriously, no one outside of a frat house should be drinking that) and want a change from Guinness, here are five solid choices. Plus you can drink them at home for a lot less money.
Murphy's Premium Red Ale
In one form of another, Murphy's has been brewed for more than 150 years. More famous for its stout, this Irish-style ale is now owned by Heineken. It's a light-red ale that's dry with some moody and malty notes. ($1.50 at retail shops)
Harpoon Celtic Red
The only domestic on the list, Harpoon is brewed in Boston (which takes its Irish roots seriously). Made with Irish ale malt and barley, Celtic Red is almost orange when poured. It's sweet, with a hoppy finish. ($1.79 at Total Wine & More)
Wexford Irish Style Crème Ale
Brewed in England, this Irish-style cream ale comes in a charged nitro can that ensures an extra-creamy, almost perfectly formed head. With superrich caramel notes, Wexford is sweet and malty. Good if you want to skip dessert and go straight to some after-dinner drinking. ($2.29 at Total Wine & More)
Smithwick's Irish Ale
This ruby-colored Irish ale has been around since 1710, when monks made it. Still made in Kilkenny, Smithwick's is owned by Guinness & Co., and it's Ireland's oldest ale. Smithwick's is bright, with floral top notes and a slight bitterness from the hops. It finishes with a hint of coffee and caramel (about $2 at retail stores).
McInnis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask Scottish Stout
Although it's called a stout, this McInnis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask is far from that thick brew you might be thinking of. Sable brown in color, this beer is finished in old Irish whiskey barrels, which impart an oaky finish to this stout that's rich in chocolate notes. Generally limited edition for St. Patrick's Day, it's available at Total Wine & More ($2.49).
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