13 Irish Stouts Beyond Guinness To Drink On St. Patrick's Day

Guinness is one of the most recognized beer brands around the globe. For many people, visiting the Guinness Storehouse — the Dublin homeland of the brand — to sip a freshly poured pint right at the source is a bucket list experience during a trip to Ireland. But travel isn't required to include this classic stout this time of year. Plenty more people around the world pour this beer to celebrate one of the most festive days of the spring season, St. Patrick's Day. Many more, in fact. According to Wallet Hub, 13 million pints of Guinness were expected to be enjoyed worldwide on St. Patrick's Day last year.

Fans of the Irish Stout category can find interesting alternatives from Ireland and elsewhere to try alongside or instead of the classic. There are plenty of stouts on the craft beer market these days, but to keep as close to the style of Guinness as possible, look for the following ingredients: roasted barley, malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. Here are some of the most interesting Irish Stout options we found this year, so get your orders in before St. Patrick's Day on March 17. Don't forget that many of these are limited releases, available for a short time or only in certain parts of the world. If the beer you want isn't accessible, no problem. There's always another delicious option on the table.

Taste County Carlow with O'Hara's Irish Stout

Since 1999, Irish Stout has represented the flagship product of O'Hara's brand. The brewery is founded on age-old Irish tradition, but it was only born in the 1990s when craft brewing began to experience a renaissance in Ireland, the U.K., the U.S., and elsewhere. Visitors can stop by the brewery in Bagenalstown in County Carlow, located to the east of the border with County Kilkenny around 25 kilometers from Kilkenny town.

Fans love that it is roasted, rich, and full-bodied. In these ways, this beer is similar to Guinness, but O'Hara's has a unique addition of Fuggle hops which add aromatics and a touch of bitterness, while traditional stout hops are blended with roasted barley to retain that classic Irish Stout profile. The brewer says it also has a characteristic espresso-like finish. Recently the brewery rolled out Irish Stout in a Nitro version packed in 440-milliliter cans with widget technology to offer that creamy, cascading pour that everyone loves to see on top of an excellent stout pint poured from draught.

Get a Colorado vibe with Breckenridge Brewery Nitro Irish Stout

With 400 breweries in the state, notes the State of Colorado, it's no surprise that Colorado would put a few brews on this list of our favorites. For this one, we look to the mountain ski town of Breckenridge where the eponymous brewery was founded on Main Street, the first to open in town back in 1990, kickstarting a cool beer scene that is thriving today.Breckenridge Brewery is also thriving, with a beer portfolio now distributed in 42 states as a craft label of Anheuser-Busch.

Breckenridge Brewery Nitro Irish Stout, as the name suggests, uses nitrogen gas to create a creamy, smooth texture and thick, velvety head. As mentioned above, this is to fashion the luxurious cascade associated with a stout pulled from a draught in when nitrogen and CO2 are used. The version from Breckenridge Brewery offers the old-world style using Irish barely to deliver a malt-rich flavor and satisfying dry sip. It's also available year-round, so it's not just a holiday or ski-trip novelty.

Go transatlantic with Harpoon Brewery's Boston Irish Stout

Boston is truly connected to Ireland by centuries-old deep roots. According to U.S. Census data, 19.8% of Massachusetts residents claim Irish ancestry — that's one in five people and twice the percentage of the nation as a whole. Three Massachusetts counties are in the top 10 in the U.S. for the percentage of Irish native residents. For a beer that reflects this ethnic mix, try Boston Irish Stout from fun-loving Harpoon Brewery to celebrate the transatlantic heritage.

Harpoon Brewery was founded in 1986, making it the first in the state when the trio of buddies behind the brand received Brewing Permit #001 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The brewer says it is a classic, smooth, and dry Irish Stout that also uses nitrogen to create a creamy pour. This beer contains six types of malts and Willamette hops to add complexity to the roasty malts. Here is another brew that is available all year for fans to enjoy. For readers in Vermont, Harpoon Brewery also has a taproom location in Windsor.

Grab California history from North Coast Brewing Co.

Old No. 38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co. takes us across the country to the other coast, hitting up a fan-favorite brewery in Fort Bragg, California. Now with a nationwide reputation for quality and independence, North Coast was founded in 1988 to serve the residents of this historic town on California's Mendocino Coast.

Like classic Irish Stouts, this release is smooth and full-bodied and offers the rich and complex flavors of dark malts and roasted barley. It's a winner for drinkers who love a stout with toasted character and layers of coffee notes. The beer tells a story of old California and the state's railroad history, a tribute to the retired California Western Railroad steam engine formerly on the move between Fort Bragg and Willits. It is verified to include only non-GMO ingredients, reflecting the responsibility ethos of this Certified B Corp that is committed to a carbon farming project to advance the practice of agricultural carbon sequestration.

Best of the Northwest with Pfriem Beer

Dry Stout from Pfriem Beer in Hood River, Oregon is made with a cool-sounding range of malts: Rahr Alix Pale Malt, Simpsons Flaked Barley, Simpsons Roasted Barley, and Simpsons Chocolate Malt. Other ingredients include Perle hops, Chinook hops, and House Ale yeast. Fans love the vibe created by Josh Pfriem and his team in the busy taproom where tasty food and a lineup of beers are served to a crowd, often with pints in hand while waiting for a coveted spot.

The brewer describes this pour as having a dry, roasty finish with dark chocolate and coffee flavors — and, of course, a tempting tan foam floating on top. Pfriem Beer offers a useful tech sheet, very similar to the norm in the wine industry, to give transparency to customers. One interesting detail is the food pairing suggestions, which highlight oysters, mussels, lobster, crab, clams, scallops, and calamari. There are also meaty ideas such as ham, prosciutto, pancetta, and bacon as well as dessert treats like truffles, crème brûlée, and raspberry tart.

Feel good about drinking beer from New Orleans

Irish Channel Stout is crafted to align with the neighborhood home of Nola Brewing. The Irish Channel was settled by immigrants in the 19th century and is known to be one of the hot spots for craft brewing and beer history in New Orleans. It's also the home of the city's St. Patrick's Day celebration and parade (happening March 12).

This beer has six malts and three hops, and the brewer describes it as presenting bold espresso flavors with chocolate notes on the finish and a crisp touch of bitterness from American hops and roasted barley. Founder Kirk Coco wanted people to have the option to enjoy a beer portfolio that was truly brewed in New Orleans, and his brand sticks very close to home with its priorities of beer, team, community, and profit. In that order. We love that the team gives back to the neighborhood and the natural surroundings that make New Orleans such a treasured place.

Head to the pub in Cork for Beamish

The Beamish & Crawford brewery was founded in 1792 by two Cork merchants, Richard Beamish and Richard Crawford. The brand is still synonymous with Cork, produced at Heineken Ireland in what was Murphy's Brewery. Beamish Genuine Irish Stout, while not as popular as Guinness, is found on draught at plenty of pubs around Ireland, and for people in love with Irish Stout, this is an imperative pour.

It's got the iconic dark profile topped with a layer of airy, creamy foam — it has a slightly fruitier profile and a touch more floral aromatics than Guinness. It's mainly a when-in-Ireland enjoyment, though it does come out in cans so it's worth mentioning for fans who are committed to tracking down a taste of it. The legacy of this brewery is prominent enough that there is a book detailing the history of the team of Richards called "Beamish & Crawford: The History of an Irish Brewery."

Drink sustainably with Left Hand Brewing

We're heading back to Colorado to Left Hand Brewing in Longmont for the discovery of Dry Irish Stout Nitro. This full-bodied pour has a strong five-malt foundation for that iconic profile of coffee and chocolate with a unique whiff of graham cracker aromatics. The addition of oats gives it a smooth and creamy texture and it's packaged in a can with the nitrogen widget to supply a rich and creamy head.

Eric Wallace and Dick Doore, friends from the Air Force, turned a hobby into the legacy that is today Left Hand Brewing. It's been more than two decades and this is a spot that's favored in a growing community and thriving hospitality scene thanks to plenty of beer choices. There is a taproom and beer garden in Longmont plus Left Hand RiNo in Denver. Another point of appreciation: the brewery publishes energy use, water management, and waste statistics on its website to deliver a sustainability promise.

Try the Rebel Stout with Murphy's

The legacy of Murphy's, another Irish brewery rooted in Cork, dates back to the mid-1800s when James Jeremiah Murphy and his brothers started Murphy's Brewery in what were the buildings of the Cork Foundling Hospital. During its peak, Murphy's Brewery rivaled Guinness and held a duopoly in Munster Province (where Cork is located) with Beamish & Crawford, mentioned above.

Fires, the Irish Civil War, and bankruptcy figure into the long, rocky, and meaningful history of Murphy's, which has been owned by Heineken Brewery Ireland since the early 1980s. Murphy's Irish Stout is available in the U.S. and found in pubs in Ireland, particularly in its Cork homeland. It pours dark and rich (it is canned with the nitrogen widget) and lends the same roasted chocolate and coffee profile that fans love in a classic Irish Stout but with a slightly lighter body, earning it the nickname "the rebel stout." Murphy's also has a touch lower ABV than its competitor, which drops it into a sessionable range. For fans of authentic Irish Stout, Murphy's represents an important beer to experience.

New Irish vibes at Porterhouse Brew Co.

Two Irish-born cousins, Oliver Hughes and Liam LaHart, are responsible for Dublin's first brewpub which opened in the mid-1990s. It was so well received that expansion came quickly and by the turn of the millennium, they'd moved into a 60-barrel brewery in Blanchardstown, County Dublin, and began selling beer in other bars. Since then, Porterhouse Brew Co. has opened two pubs in Dublin, one in London, and two more in New York City. The brewery has a number of defined sustainability measures and is a founding member of the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland. The company's current 120-barrel brewing facility is still located in Dublin and remains 100% independently owned and operated.

Porterhouse Brew Co. Irish Stout has a roasted malt profile with a bitter bite and enhanced aromatics from Goldings hops. Another option, Celebration Imperial Irish Stout, is crafted for what the brewer calls "the experienced Stout drinker" with a jet-black color and intense chocolate and dark fruit notes. It matures for 12 weeks, during which hops are added at various stages.

Get natural beers from Dungarvan Brewing Co.

Dungarvan Brewing Company is a microbrewery established in 2010 in Dungarvan, a coastal town in the southeast of Ireland. Black Rock Irish Stout is named after the seafaring landmark in Dungarvan Harbor between the Copper Coast and Helvick Head.

The brewer describes this beer as a "return to the way stout used to taste" — rich and chocolatey with hints of herbal notes and a smooth mouthfeel. Black Rock is a medium-bodied, naturally carbonated Irish Stout. It is suggested that this beer be consumed in the "traditional southeastern way" which means served at room temperature straight from the shelf. All Dungarvan Brewing Company brews contain only natural ingredients and are bottled unfiltered and unpasteurized. Plus they are notably wheat-free and vegan-friendly. Every beer is brewed and bottled, canned, casked, or kegged on-site for a completely authentic Irish brew experience. Recommended food pairings are meaty dishes, desserts, and bold cheeses.

Stay cozy with Zero Gravity Extra Stout

Zero Gravity Beer Extra Stout offers dry and intense layers of chocolate and coffee and roasted notes attributed to the barley. It's jet black, crafted with seven styles of malt and a single hop variety. This beer is available on draught or in cans on a limited basis. Coming in at 5.9% alcohol, this is one of the strongest brews in the bunch. As a bonus beer, Zero Gravity rolls out an Irish Cream Porter to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Visitors love stopping by the Zero Gravity Beer Hall next to the Pine Street Brewery, where The Great Northern kitchen supplies a tasty menu. This Burlington, Vermont-based brewery is notably community-minded, donating a portion of sales for particular beers to programs such as the Bobolink Odyssey to provide GPS devices to track the migration patterns of Bobolink birds, Loving Day Vermont, restaurant support, and The Catamount Trail Association. The company is also a member of 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of sales from bottled beers to environmental causes.

Visit Chicago to experience Revolution Brewing

Paddy Wagon Nitro Irish Stout from Chicago-based Revolution Brewing offers a deep roasted flavor with a pleasant hit of acidity. Made with English and American roasted barely, it's satisfyingly smooth with a round mouthfeel. As for the slice of bitterness, that's from the addition of German Magnum and English Fuggle hops. This beer is a special release available on tap, with a touch of nitrogen present in the finished product for a dense and creamy foam head.

Independently owned Revolution Brewing on Kedzie Avenue in the Avondale neighborhood is one of the largest facilities of its kind in Illinois. Fans love the nearby brewpub and German beer hall-inspired taproom which is located at the brewery. Revolution currently distributes more than ten states in the Midwest and East Coast and in 2017, Revolution Brewing grew into the 40th largest craft brewery and 50th largest overall brewery in the country, as designated by the Brewers Association Top 50 Brewing Companies by sales volume.