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Brew Corner: Drinks for St. Paddy’s

Sláinte this Saturday! March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day, and this holiday can be fun to celebrate. Especially when there’s beer involved!

A Bit of (Random Irish Beer) History

The origins of the Feast of Saint Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day go back to the 5th century and March 17, the death day of one of Ireland’s patron saints, a Christian minister named Patrick.

Today St. Patrick’s Day is a global celebration of Irish culture. March 17th is also a big (beer and whiskey) drinking holiday. It wasn’t always so. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Ireland repealed a law that initially kept everything—pubs included—shut down for the day.

Since then, thanks to a marketing push from the Budweiser Brewing Company in the 1980’s, downing beer has become a common way to celebrate, regardless of how closely it’s tied to St. Patrick himself.

Wondering why it’s customary to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? It goes back to the Irish Rebellion, when Irish soldiers wore green as they fought off the red-coated British army. During the war in 1798 Irish soldiers sang a song, “The Wearing of the Green,” a historic serenade that made green, the color of shamrocks, Ireland’s mainstay color (previously it was blue). From then on, people wore green on St. Patrick’s Day in solidarity.

The traditional Irish toast is Sláinte, a basic form of “cheers” in Irish Gaelic. Variations of this toast include sláinte mhaith “good health” in Irish Gaelic (mhaith being the lenited form of maith “good”). In Irish Gaelic, the response to sláinte is sláinte agad-sa, which translates “to your health as well.”

Locally brewed Imperial Oatmeal Stout

Enough history and semantics. Refreshments, anyone? Pick up a pint of Irish and Irish-inspired ales.

  • Guinness Dry Stout – 5% alcohol by volume – yes, it’s the standby, delivering rich roasty flavors with mild bitterness. Guinness is on sale for $8.99 per 4-pk 16 oz cans.
  • Believer Double Red Ale – 7% alcohol by volume / 60 IBU – from Ninkasi Brewing of Eugene, Oregon. Inspired by Irish red ales, this craft seasonal from Ninkasi is a boldly hopped, yet balanced ale. Believer 6-pk bottles are now $9.49 each.
  • Imperial Oatmeal Stout – 8.5% abv / IBU – from Boundary Bay Brewery of Bellingham, WA. A local winter – early Spring favorite, this strong ale Boundary Bay’s Imperial Oatmeal Stout is available only in 22 oz for $5.99, while supplies last.

Enjoy responsibly, and recover well with coconut water and electrolyte juice blends. Insist on celebrating with green beer? Go natural and add a few drops of liquid chlorophyll for a green dye, available in the Co-op’s Wellness department.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and has been on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op since 2010. She writes the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter. Contact Claire at claire(at)skagitfoodcoop(dot)com.