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Slainte (slahn-che) is an ancient Irish word meaning Good health.  It is a perfect toast as you enjoy some Irish delicacies on St Patrick’s Day.  Last week I talked about a few of the great whiskeys from Ireland (the birthplace of Whiskey).  This week we have to talk about the other great treat from our Irish friends—BEER!!

Guinness Stout is synonymous with Ireland and with great beer.  Stout is a style of beer that originated in the 16th century.  It was an offshoot of the famous porters of England.  Irish stout is brewed with hint of roasted barley to give it a smoother taste.   There are actually a few different Guinness styles available now.  All are made with the same care and love as the original.

Guinness Extra Stout is Deep and dark in color.  Not overly carbonated, but rather a thick bit of roasted barley and a slight hoppy finish

Guinness Draught in a bottle is the same liquid as in the original extra stout.  But through an amazing innovation they have incorporated a nitrogen mix in the bottle to deliver a smoother and almost exact replication of drinking Guinness from a tap head in an old Irish pub!  But you must drink it from the bottle!  If you prefer drinking from a glass—buy Guinness Draught in a can.  It has a nitrogen widget inside that will release the gas and as you pour the beer in the glass you will be amazed watching the famous creamy Guinness head develop at the top of your glass!

Guinness Foreign Stout is the most full flavored of all Guinness.  It has extra hops added for an extra bitter bite.  More crisp than any other Guinness,

Guinness Black Lager is the newest Irish beer to hit America.  It is a different style and shares only the same beautiful Jet-black color as its brethren in the Guinness family.  It is a much smoother and lighter flavor than the original Guinness.  It is very indicative of the trend in many European style beers to lighten their flavor to appeal to the American palate.  Other examples are Becks, Newcastle, and Stella Artois who have slightly changed their formulations to appeal to our taste.

Another Great Irish beer is Harp.  It is a beautiful lager that is golden in color and very smooth.  Use it with a Guinness to make a Black and Tan.  Black and Tan is the famous glass of beer that layers a lighter ale or lager beneath a dark layer of rich smooth Guinness.  Pour Harp slowly into a 16oz glass halfway up.  Wait for the head to settle, and then slowly pour Guinness over the convex side of a spoon into the glass.  You will end up with a complex and beautiful drink both rich and smooth—but light and refreshing!

If you lean to local beers, you have to go to St Paul—the center of the Irish community in Minnesota.  Finnegan’s Irish Amber is brewed in St Paul.  It is a great amber beer with a slight copper color and touch of hoppiness in the flavor.  It is very drinkable and satisfying.  Even better, 100% of the proceeds from the sales of Finnegan’s goes to charity.  As it says on the neck of the bottle– you get a credit in heaven every time you drink a bottle!  Who doesn’t need that! 

Enjoy all your Irish libations in moderation this weekend and Slainte!!!

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