Three Irish beers that are NOT Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day

Three Irish beers that are NOT Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day in Des Moines means parading about in green, rousing a wee bit of ruckus and bellying up with an Irish brew. Whether you’re paying homage to heritage or good times in general, the drink of choice could make or break the holiday.

In 1759 a man named Arthur Guinness began brewing beer in Dublin. The hearty dry namesake stout with a 4.2 percent ABV fills 1.8 billion cups a year. So, if Guinness is your go-to for St. Patty’s Day, you’re not alone. If you’re looking to defer from conformity for a round or two to wet your palette with an alternative just-as-Irish beer, head to The Royal Mile.

The UK-inspired pub serves up a few Irish beers on tap and in the bottle. Manager Rob Jackson, 38, said the bar’s Irish libations are based on what they can get into the state. Struggles come from having to import through the state as Iowa is one of 18 states that maintain control over alcohol beverage distribution.

“We’re definitely trying to import more beers from Ireland, Scotland and the UK,” Jackson said. “Plus, it’s hard because breweries in the UK and Ireland tend to be too small for the production needed.”

Despite a lack of diverse Irish beer offerings in the Des Moines metro, you should at least give these three a taste test. Sláinte!

Magners Irish Cider

Looking for a lighter, gluten-free intro into St. Patrick’s Day drinking? Start sipping a Magners Irish Cider, the only Irish beer currently on tap at The Royal Mile. Fresh to the taste, Magners swirls smoother on the tastebuds than its popular cider cousin, Strongbow. The tap eliminates the metal undertones that sometimes come from canned cider. Produced in Clonmel, Ireland, Magners is the sweet product of 17 different varieties of fermented apples. Note, if you’re going to Ireland, look for the product under the name of Bulmers Irish Cider.

Price: $4.50

ABV: 4.5%

Wexford Irish Cream Ale

Maybe it’s the cream finish or the fact that this can of ale is brewed using the original 1810 family recipe of Irish malt and hops, but either way this this thick, mellow amber ale is best when getting into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. Brewed now in Suffolk, England, the beer’s namesake is derived from Ireland’s County Wexford. The can has a small widget of nitrogen that gives it a traditional pub taste and creamy burst when poured. Make sure to savor, but don’t let it sit too long. The sticky white head and caramel notes mix for a sweet, dark sensation with little aftertaste.

Price: $4.75

ABV: 5.0%

Harp Lager

Throw back a bottle of Harp if you’re looking for a refreshing follow-up to a milky Irish stout. It starts off bitter at the beginning of the bottle, but once it sits and warms a bit, the malty flavors pop. The golden macro lager is brewed by Diageo (formerly Guinness Ltd.) in Dundalk, Ireland. If you like easy lagers this standard fits the bar bill — not that interesting, but no surprises.

Price: $4

ABV: 4.3%

The Royal Mile

Where: 210 Fourth St, Des Moines, IA 50309

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Saturday; noon-2 a.m. Sunday

Info: 515-280-3771;

About the Author

Mackensie is a contributor to Juice.

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