Thank the Irish!
Updated: May 6
Growing up in Montreal, March 17th meant merry all-day-drinking, green beer, farcical leprechaun hats, clover-everything, and the Saint-Paddy’s Day Parade in the city’s main street. With a significant population of Irish-Canadians, this holiday resounded with gai sounds of celtic violin music, a lively jig and joyously having a grand old time with friends at the pub.
This year, my 4th living in Chania on the largest Greek Island of Crete, during lock-down
# whos-counting?, the drinking and merry-making is far more subdued. The celtic music is played on Spotify, the beer is not green and there are no leprechauns in sight. That being said, I have taken a moment to reflect on Irelands’ contributions to my beer-drinking journey… and I don’t mean the green beer. I mean the holy Irish Stout.
In my late teens, the Irish Stout boldly re-defined what “beer” meant to me. My taste-buds were flushed with thick effervescence. My eyes were astonished at the depth of color of this perplexing liquid with a thick brownish head. My tongue instantly knew it had entered a new dimension. My cheeks blushed with delight and my life changed as I began to truly love beer.
In the early 1700’s, the stout beer style defined a strong porter beer, meaning higher in alcohol than a regular porter (dark beer). This popular English-style beer quickly migrated across the lands all the way to Russia and naturally to Ireland as beer history was in the making. The Irish brewhouses honed the style into the rich we’ve come to savour intercontinentally. Since then, the stout has become its own beer family with fan-favorites like oatmeal stouts, coffee stouts, milk stouts and dry stouts.
Like many other beer enthusiasts all over the world, the Irish Stout was the gateway into the world of Good Beer. Thus today, we say “Sláinte” to the Irish heritage & living joyfully!