Updated: Sep 22
Saint-Patrick’s Day 2022
A day to celebrate the Irish heritage.
Growing up in Montreal, March 17th meant merry all-day-drinking, green beer, farcical leprechaun hats, clovers and the Saint-Paddy’s Day Parade in the city centre. With a significant population of Irish-Canadians, this holiday resounded with gai sounds of celtic violin music, lively jig dancing and having a grand old time with friends at the pub.
Now living in Greece, the holiday has a different ring to it and my drinking habits have since evolved. That being said, I have taken a moment to reflect on Irelands’ contribution to my beer-drinking journey (… and I don’t mean the green beer). I name: the sacred Irish Stout.
In my late teens, the Irish Stout boldly re-defined what “beer” meant to me. My taste-buds were flushed with thick carbonation, my eyes astonished at the depth of color of this liquid with thick brownish head. My tongue instantly knew it had entered a new dimension.
My cheeks blushed with delight and I began to truly enjoy beer.
Ireland plays a major role in beer history. 1776 was the year stout beer immigrated from England to the breweries of The Emerald Isle.
Speaking of Stout beer and the Irish --
" What's the difference between a STOUT & a PORTER beer? "
... is by far one of the most commonly asked question on our Craft Beer Tours!
Here are some basics:
- Born in England, the Porter beer style rained by the early 1700’s as the dark, satisfying brown beer made with roasted malts. The Porter was hugely popular due to its affordable price for the transportation workers, the porters, in the country; hence its name.
- At the time, the word "stout" only defined the higher alcohol types of Porter beer; stout/strong/robust porter. "Stout" also meant "bold & brave" in the 14th Century aw well.
- The "Stout" Porter (or strong porter) eventually evolved into its own family: the Stout beer.
- This new popular English-style beer quickly migrated across the lands, all the way to Russia where Imperial Stout was exclusively drank by royalty & their courtesans. Elevated alcohol, taste, quality of ingredients and reputation. The best of the best.
- In 1776, beer history changed forever. Arthur Guiness imported the Stout to Ireland. The Stout Porter evolved into the Stout; one of higher quality.
- The Irish brewhouses honed the style into the rich brew we’ve come to savour across the globe. The Irish Dry Stout was born ready to take over the world.
- The Stout beer family has since continued to bring merry-making over a pint of dark heavenly brew. Find your own favourite; Oatmeal stout, Coffee stout, Milk stout, Pastry stout, Dry stout, Imperial stout, Oyster stout ... among its many variations.
In terms of flavour, Porters and Stouts are quite similar. They differ in brewery recipes and malts used. Stouts tend to have fuller body, roasted sweetness and chocolatey malt flavours. Porters tend to have lighter body, more bitter and roasted barley malt notes.
In this day and age, the Stout is one of the world's favourite beers with its fierce flavours, thanks to the Irish brewing influence and the forethought they put into international reach. The Porter on the other hand keeps a tasty low profile with its satisfying malty character.
Long live delicious dark brews!
As many other beer enthusiasts all over the world, the Irish Stout was a gateway into the world of Good Beer for me.
Therefore today, we say “Sláinte” to the Irish heritage of great brewers, vibrant beer-drinking culture & living merrily!
P.S. Something to keep the CHEER going, for a good laugh & a throwback to a fan-favourite show... enjoy this Irish Drinking Song video: