Saint Patrick was a gentleman…
Who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland
Here’s a drink to his health!
But not too many drinks
Lest we lose ourselves and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see them snakes again!
Tomorrow is the granddaddy of drinking days in America. Everyone claims Irish heritage, and over-consumes green-tainted macro adjunct light American lagers. Or pours pint after pint of Guinness Stout down their gullets. Because that is what the Patron Saint of Ireland would have wanted… right?
I tease, of course. I have very fond memories of my days at the old Harp and Thistle Pub on St. Pete Beach, pouring beers from 11 in the morning until 2am the next, singing loudly along with Jim and Laura Farrell, watching the Irish dancers leap about, and bantering with the hundreds of revelers at the bar. My comrades in pints at my side… Alan, Debbie, Laurie, Jen, Julie… I miss them all. Those were some very fun times, albeit tiring.
My St. Paddy’s days since then have been more mellow. I’m older, have a family, and I like to think my taste in beer has refined quite a bit since then as well. And while I love a well-poured, proper temperature, proper CO2-Nitro mixed Guinness as much as the next guy… I have also discovered some great alternatives to the “traditional” Irish offering.
Instead of Guinness Stout: Cigar City Brewing Patio Tools – An authentic dry Irish stout, made right here in Tampa Bay! Smooth, delicious, with coffee and chocolate notes, and all the malty goodness one should expect from this style.
Instead of Killians Red: Swamp Head Brewing Hoggetowne Irish Red – Award winning traditional Irish ale from Gainesville’s own. Made in collaboration with the local homewbrew club, this is a great choice if you can find it in your local craft beer bar.
Instead of Bass Ale: Tampa Bay Brewing Company One Night Stand Pale Ale – A nicely balanced and deliciously hopped pale, this is a great “everyone” beer. Not too light, not too heavy, just right for have a few while you celebrate.
Instead of Harp Lager: Intuition Ale Works Jon Boat – a light and crisp kolsch-style ale. Crisp session beer with lager-like characteristics… perfectly suited for St. Paddy’s day in Florida’s heat!
Whatever you end up drinking, enjoy yourself! And remember to be safe. I know I have said it before, but it can’t be repeated enough: If you are drinking, do not drive. Period. There is simply no excuse to get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Even if you think “I am fine” or “I need my car”. The second you get behind the wheel after drinking, you put yourself and everyone else at risk of injury or death. It is simply not worth it. Get a cab. Call a friend. Bring a designated driver.