We all know that Guinness dominates the Irish beer market and that Jameson dominates the whiskey market. But what else should you know about alcohol in Ireland?
- Pubs are EVERYWHERE. The Pub (Public House) in Ireland is just that. It is a place where people go to hang out, eat wonderful food, watch sports, socialise and drink.
- The drinking age is 18
- Alcohol over 55% is not allowed here, so you will not find things like 151 or Everclear here but you will find you are able to buy beer and alcohol within a few kilometers of anywhere in Ireland.
- Tequilas can also be pretty hard to find, although they do sell it here.
Top Irish Beers
With deep, dark and satisfying flavors and distinctly smooth aromas, the three varieties of Guinness brews are undoubtedly among the most popular Irish beers, especially in the US.
Light and sweet in flavor, Murphy’s Irish Stout has become increasingly more popular especially in the US.
O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
Joining fruits such as bananas, peaches and plums with traditional hops, this golden wheat ale is smooth and thirst-quenching. Although not the common Irish stout, this tasty brew is perfect for those who prefer a lighter, easy-drinking option.
Often referred to as “Smitticks”, Smithwick’s captures a unique flavor that combines its hops with sweet aromatic fruits and deep malt, coffee and roasted barley notes.
Truly unique, Porterhouse’s Oyster Stout is a Dublin favorite dark and aromatic beer with interesting blends of flavorful grains, hops and fresh oysters.
This full-bodied, smooth and dry Irish stout combines the rich flavor of smooth coffee with traditional hops and tasty notes of licorice.
The fully rounded, malted flavor of Beamish Irish Stout is created using original Beamish yeast dating back to 1792 to capture the traditional taste of stout from Ireland.
With a base flavor similar to Smithwick’s, the distinct smooth and creamy finish of Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale gives it its own unique and delicious blend.
Light in color and refreshing in flavor, this highly-favored European-style lager is unlike the rest as it boasts a smooth and sharp finish.
Originally dating back to 1856, this naturally red, hoppy Irish beer is crisp and dry with flavorful notes of fruit and caramel.
Top Irish Whiskeys
Jameson – World’s leader in Irish whiskey, selling 31 million bottles annually and is the third largest single whiskey distillery in the world.
Powers – The most popular brand of whiskey in Ireland is a mixture of pot-still and grain. Powers was first distilled at the St. John’s Distillery at Thomas St, Dublin in 1791. Powers Gold Premium sells over 2.5 million bottles in Ireland each year.
Redbreast – Redbreast is produced at the new Middletown Distillery by Irish Distillers and is only one of two pure pot whiskeys being produced today. First distilled in Cork in 1903, Redbreast has attained many accolades including Irish Whiskey of the Year by whiskey writer Jim Murray and was nominated #1 in John Hansell’s buyers guide.
Tullamore Dew – Originally a pure pot whiskey distilled in 1829 in the small town of Tullamore, County Offally, Tullamore Dew is now a blended whiskey. It’s the world’s second best selling Irish whiskey behind Jameson. Tullamore Dew is owned by Scottish company William Grant and Sons.
Tyrconnell – Tyrconnell is made by the Cooley Distillery, Ireland’s only independent distillery. Originally it was owned by the Watt distillery. The family of the same name owned a horse, “The Tyrconnell” and entered him into the prized horse race “The National Produce Stakes.” It won despite its 100 to 1 odds. This triumph inspired the family to name its premium whiskey after its prize-winning colt that appears on the label to this day.
Bushmills – The whiskey is produced at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Bushmills, County Antrim. In 1608 Sir Thomas Phillips was issued a license to distill in the area from King James I. Hence, Bushmills is widely considered to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world. The distillery is owned by Diageo. So popular is the whiskey that the old Bushmills Distillery appears on the reverse side of sterling banknotes in Northern Ireland.
Paddy – This whiskey dates back to 1779. It was then known as Cork Distillery Company Old Irish Whiskey. The name was changed in 1912 to honor extremely successful company salesman Paddy Flaherty whose name became associated with the brand. The 80-proof blended Irish Whiskey is Ireland’s third best selling whiskey. The brand has been selling better overseas since it has been made available in the US as of February 2010.
Michael Collins – A whiskey fit for the legendary Irish statesman, Michael Collins, is a 3rd Party brand produced at the independent Cooley Distillery. This is where the flagship Tyrconnell is also distilled.
Green Spot – Green Spot is a pot still distilled Irish whiskey. It is a very special spirit made specifically for and sold by Mitchell & Son of Dublin, an independent Irish wine merchant. The whiskey blend was originally known as “Pat’s Whiskey” and bore the label of a man on a green background. This led to the name change to “Green Spot.” Only 200 cases are made each year and most are sold through Mitchell and Son’s Shop in Dublin. It is very difficult to obtain outside the country.
Alcohol Related Events:
Irish Craft Beer Festival – September 2016 – http://www.irishcraftbeerfestival.ie/