Bust out your kilts and tune your bagpipes, St. Patrick’s Day is nigh!
This feast was originally created to honor Saint Patrick, a priest credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Occurring during Lent, alcohol and food restrictions were happily lifted in observance of the day.
Many of today’s festivities, however, have lost the religious focus and are more about celebrating the Irish culture as well as the ingestion of corned beef and, of course, the conspicuous and copious consumption of beer.
It’s easy enough to don a green derby or slap on a “Kiss Me I’m Irish!” pin (even if you aren’t). But why subject yourself to the same staid options of Killian’s Red and Guinness when local North Fork breweries have many other tastier offerings?
Hit up these spots to build your own flight of satisfying, thirst-quenching suds.
Long Ireland Beer Company
Celtic Ale (5.5% ABV)
You really can’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without a Long Ireland beer, can you?
Coppery and clear Celtic Ale, Long Ireland’s flagship beer, is made in the style of an Irish ale — not an Irish Red, they emphasize. Toffee and caramel nose with more of the same in each gulp. Brewing with honey lends a lingering sweetness.
Easy to drink, you can have it with your bangers and mash.
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
Harbor Ale (5.3% ABV)
Boasting an extensive roster of beers, Greenport Harbor is bound to have something to satisfy any palate. For St. Patrick’s Day, Harbor Ale fits the bill perfectly.
This beer pours a pleasing dark hay. It’s bright and citric with slight lemon notes as well as some very faint spiciness married to a mellow, bready finish.
Slight hoppy sharpness makes this a perfect companion to a super fatty and salty corned beef sandwich.
Jamesport Farm Brewery
Barn Swallow Brown (5.3% ABV)
The JFB tasting room has many excellent beers on tap, but for St. Pat’s you’ll want to leave with a growler of Barn Swallow Brown.
This dark ink ale has a slightly toasted and nutty aroma. It’s a smooth drinker proving to be sweetish, mellow with some caramel and mild chocolate flavor in the background.
Have it with a hearty stew or, even better, try it as an ingredient.
Moustache Brewing Company
Everyman’s Porter (4.5% ABV)
Originally created to slake thirsty dockworkers and baggage handlers (hence the style’s name), the porter was designed to be tasty and flavorful but with a low alcohol content so as not to interfere with one’s duties.
Moustache’s porter follows suit and is low enough to be considered a “light beer” (take THAT tasteless macro-lagers!). It pours a deep brown with whiffs of roasty goodness, faint coffee and mild nuttiness. Close your eyes and have a gulp. You’ll find it light on the palate, which shows that all dark beers need not be considered heavy. Black coffee, cola and cocoa make for a super-tasty drink that won’t lay you out as you parade and bagpipe your way through the day.
Crooked Ladder Brewing Company
Gypsy Red (5% ABV)
A downtown Riverhead destination since 2013, Crooked Ladder continues to churn out great tasting beers. This St. Patrick’s Day, pick up a growler of Gypsy Red, their version of a traditional Irish ale.
Gypsy Red pours a deep ruby hue. Stick your nose in it and you’ll get bready, biscuity scents. The beer is an easy drinker and finishes slick with a little spice at the end.
Perfectly crushable (that is, you can crush through a lot of them in one sitting), dump some in your crock pot when making corned beef. You won’t be disappointed.