A St. Patrick's Day Guide to Drinks and Dishes

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St. Patrick's Day

A while back I put a poll on the beer polls page asking, "Which Holiday Do You Most Closely Associate With Beer?" It's no surprise that St. Patrick's day is winning. What began as a reverential annual remembrance of the death of Ireland's favorite saint has become a worldwide celebration of Irishness. It's hard to say why this has caught on is such a big way. Perhaps it's all that green that comes out on this day, just a few weeks before spring brings its own green.

I think it has more to do with trying to catch a little of that famous Irish craic and, of course, the stout.

Stouts

Guinness may be the unofficial stout of the day but don't stop there. There is a whole world of stouts out there; every one of them perfect for toasting the day. Check out the Layman's Guide to Stout.

Green Beer

This day brings out the green in everyone. If it's just not St. Patrick's day to you without a pint of green beer, add one drop of green food coloring to a pint of your favorite brew. Naturally, the green shows through better with lighter colored beer but any beer will do. Even a jet black stout will get a distinctly green head if you add a drop of color to the glass before pouring.

Twisting Stout

If a pint of stout or green beer doesn't put you in the spirit maybe you need to put a spin on the usual. The black and tan is popular. It's very easy to make. Take a regular pint glass and gently fill it half way with pale ale.

Then carefully fill the glass the rest of the way with a stout. The stout will float on top of the pale ale forming a distinctively black and tan beer. Traditionally Bass and Guinness are used but I encourage you to experiment until you find the perfect blend.

Still not enough? How about a stout sangria?

Or maybe you'd like a stout float - just add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Irish Pub

Another vital part of any St. Patrick's day is a stop at a local Irish pub. Luckily Irish pubs have become the most ubiquitous bar style in the world. Virtually every city has at least a handful but in case one just isn't handy, you can always opt for an inflatable Irish pub!

Beyond Beer

Maybe you'd like something a little stronger to toast the day. Irish whiskey is the natural answer. Here's some whiskey wisdom including a healthy dash of the Irish and be sure to check out this Guide to Celebrating St. Patrick's Day from About's Guide to Cocktails.

The Menu

No St. Patrick's day would be complete without the hearty Irish dishes. Personally, I enjoy a simple oyster stout with a dozen (or two) oysters on the half-shell. Here are some other classic Irish dishes: