Your St. Patrick’s Day Beer Guide

Green beer in a plastic cup isn’t the only way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. There are plenty of options if you plan to enjoy March 17 with a craft beer or the obligatory Guinness.

Irish-themed beers are plentiful at local spots on St. Patrick’s Day, and so are old standbys like Guinness Stout and Harp Lager. Consider these places for a special beer or two on Wednesday. Grab them to go when possible or enjoy them while socially distanced. We’re still a year away (fingers crossed) from a return to more lively, and social, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Mystic Knot Barrel-Aged Irish-Style Coffee Stout
Third Space Brewing

This amazing beer makes you giddy that Irish coffee ever came into existence. The Third Space Brewing creation is the combination of imperial cream stout, Stone Creek coffee and seven months in a bourbon barrel, and it’s a perfect way to celebrate St. Paddy’s. Third Space Brewing (1505 W. St. Paul Ave.) is pouring this gem when it opens at 3 p.m. Need a lighter stout? They’ll also have a nitro version of Acres Edge Toasted Oatmeal Stout on tap.

Galechookarillo Hazy IPA
Raised Grain Brewing

Celtic lore states that a mythical hop beast called the Galechookarillo appears every March 17 in County Cork, Ireland. Actually, that’s not at all true. In reality, Galechookarillo is a hazy brew made with Galena, Chinook and Amarillo hops that appears in Waukesha on March 17. Raised Grain Brewing (1725 Dolphin Dr.) opens appropriately at 3:17 p.m. to release this hoppy beast to the public in to-go cans and on tap. For those afraid of hoppy monsters, Kilted Kölsch will also be pouring from the taps.

Brian Boru Irish Red Ale
3 Floyds Brewing

The beer lineup at The Brass Tap (7808 W. Layton Ave.) never disappoints. One of the highlights this year is Brian Boru, a red ale that combines the hop bitterness 3 Floyds is known for with a sizable malt backbone. The bar is also pouring Irish-themed craft standouts like Third Space Mystic Knot and Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale. And, while green beer is iffy at best on this hallowed holiday, The Brass Tap found a loophole by acquiring a perfectly acceptable keg of green 3 Sheeps Pils.

It’s 5 a.m Somewhere Coffee Stout
New Barons Brewing Cooperative

This coffee stout from New Barons Brewing Cooperative (2018 1st St.) offers a smooth and creamy option for imbibing. The beer is a sweet oatmeal stout made with cold brew from Rogue Coffee Roasters and a reasonable 5.5% ABV, so you can indulge on more than one. Grab a crowler or can to take home. Sláinte!

Guinness Stout
Guinness Brewing Company

Guinness will be flowing liberally on St. Patrick’s Day. You can’t go wrong enjoying it at some of these Irish pub standouts.

Fergal Murray, the former brewmaster at Guinness once bestowed County Clare Irish Inn and Pub (1234 N. Astor St.) with the honor of serving the best pint of Guinness in Wisconsin. That’s a strong endorsement, but earned by the cozy pub, which has been a Milwaukee staple for 25 years.

Paddy’s Pub (2339 N. Murray St.) pours a more than respectable pint, and offers the cozy surroundings of what feels like a living room to drink it in. The great patio (weather permitting) works just as well if you prefer to cheers outdoors.

A big part of celebrating on March 17 is the good craic, and it’s hard to beat the social camaraderie at Champion’s Pub (2417 Bartlett Ave.). The Guinness tastes a little better while sipping it at the friendly East Side neighborhood institution. They’ll also be serving lamb stew, which is nice.

The amazing corned beef at McBob’s Pub & Grill (4919 W. North Ave.) needs to be washed down by something. Guinness, or Harp if you’re so inclined, is a fantastic choice for this task. The place opens at 8 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day so there’s plenty of time to indulge.

The O’Donoghue clan has been in the pub business for more than 50 years and puts that experience to good use at O’Donoghue’s Irish Pub (13225 Watertown Plank Rd.). Affable owner Jamie O’Donoghue is a skilled storyteller, which pairs nicely with a freshly poured Guinness.

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Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 20 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for a few years more.