St. Patrick’s Day!
There’s always room for some good Beoir Bhaile
More fun than birthdays, less formal than Thanksgiving, and there’s no pressure to stay up past your bedtime — It’s the best all-around day of the year. Something about the weather melting, cheery reels, and the very real possibility that a well-intentioned stranger will politely invite you to a fist fight. For just a moment, ignore all the cheap Irish cultural stereotypes and ignore all the jaded criticisms that these stereotypes provoke from cultural amnesiacs. The day itself is a magical one.
St. Patrick’s day is wonderful enough on it’s own, but there’s always room for some good beoir bhaile (That’s “homebrew”, as near as I can figure in Gaelic). Brewing for any Holiday allows you to get into the spirit of things a few weeks early, but this is especially true for St. Paddy’s because Irish beer styles are among the easiest to make at home. For many the choice is natural; the well-balanced Irish Red Ale is simple enough to brew and easy enough to share. But adventurous homebrewers can get medieval with extinct styles like the Irish Heavy that have fallen victim to the Macro giants. Meanwhile, the truly esoteric can dive into speculative recipes about the ancient meads and hop-less gruits that Patrick must have enjoyed, since Patrick himself had the sad misfortune to have lived before the use of hops.
But the obvious fact is that any conversation about Irish beer styles ought to begin and end with the Dry Irish Stout. Stouts are one of the best styles for newer brewers and experienced drinkers alike. With the right malts or extract, the black roastiness is easy enough to achieve and since it’s fermented at room temperature, you don’t need any modern temperature control. The beer is jet black (deep ruby, actually) so clarity is not a critical concern, and the bold roast character gives mild off-flavors room to hide unnoticed. It truly is a forgiving beer.
The most challenging aspect of the Dry Irish Stout style is the texture.
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