What to Drink on St. Patrick’s Day

There’s no need to reach for green food dye to have a festive beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Expert Mary Guiver spills secrets on which drinks to reach for this holiday.

I enjoy the occasional beer, but my husband is the true beer lover (and brewer!) in our house. That said, I always get excited when I’m able to delight him by bringing home a new beer he’s never tried or when I know some fun tidbit about beer that he doesn’t. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, I got the inside scoop from Mary Guiver, beer aficionado and veteran beverage buyer with Whole Foods Market® now with the new 365 by Whole Foods Market. I can’t wait to work through this list with my husband. Slàinte!

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Patrick’s Day Must-Have

Why is Guinness a St. Patrick’s Day essential?

Mary Guiver: You can’t question the king. Guinness isn’t just good for St Patrick’s Day! I find myself drinking this any time I'm out at a bar, strictly macro brews on tap, and wanting to pace myself for a long day/night of drinking. It’s low alcohol for a stout, full flavored and full bodied so you don’t feel like you're missing something when you take a sip. It’s also easy on the hops so if you're amongst a group of folks who don’t like the hop explosion going on in craft beer (still), this is a winner! The standard Guinness draught is going to be ubiquitous if you’re pub crawling on March 17, but it’s also widely available in a can with a handy widget that will, when poured into a glass, create the same fantastic cascading bubbles you see when you Guinness is poured from a proper nitro tap!

Beyond the standard, I highly — as in, if you haven’t tried it yet, run don’t walk — recommend Guinness Export Stout! Huge flavor, bitter chocolate, hoppy nose, a beautifully balanced stout that is a notch up the Richter scale on ABV (alcohol by volume) and will seriously make any beer snob friend out there question any doubt they might have about Guinness being a world class brewery. This is what I will be drinking.

Look for These!

Which hard-to-find beers are worth the hunt?

Mary Guiver: If you can find it, Founder’s Breakfast Stout is it. It’s not everywhere in the U.S. yet, but if you see this on the shelves, buy it! It’s a perfectly brewed American Imperial stout, and I don’t say that lightly: brewed with coffee for a bitter edge, smoothed out by the addition of chocolate. It is rich, dense, intensely flavorful and pairs perfectly with whiskey!

Include this in your St. Patrick’s Day celebration if you:

  • Love craft beer

  • Want to impress your beer geek friends

  • Want a domestic alternative to the classic Irish stouts

  • Are not faint of heart (8.3% ABV!)

Another beer worth seeking out is Founder’s Brewing Porter. A fantastic craft beer from one of the top up-and-coming breweries in the country. Full of warming caramel malt and chocolate notes, but balanced with a strong hops presence; this is a dark beer with a smooth side. 6.5% ABV means you can have a few and still stand up straight. Gorgeous in any raised glass!

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Session Suggestion

What’s a good choice for folks who will be celebrating throughout the day?

Mary Guiver: Stone Brewing, well known for the IPAs, came out with a sessionable (lower alcohol), full-flavored take on the west coast classic — the Stone Go To IPA. Just 4.5% ABV makes this beer a perfect fit for all-day festivities. Include this in your St. Patrick’s Day celebration if you:

  • Are not a stout fan

  • Are a hop-head

  • Are planning on losing track of the number of beers you drink

  • Have friends who lose track of the number of beers they’re drinking

Picks for Non-Beer Lovers

What about choices for people who don’t love beer?

Mary Guiver: Local ciders are for you! Hard ciders are exploding in popularity across the U.S., and I promise you that your local Whole Foods Market store will have cider available. They range from sweet to bone dry, still to full bubbles. They are a great balance to the heavy beers for the holiday, or you can meet in the middle and make a classic “snakebite” (half cider, half Guinness) — but watch out, these snakes sneak up on you. Cider is also an excellent alternative to folks who steer clear of gluten!

Thanks to Mary for the wonderful suggestions! I can’t wait to grab some Stone Go To IPA for my love and whip up a snakebite for myself.

What will you be drinking on St. Patrick’s Day?

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