Don't you think that you've outgrown chugging dyed-green beer to celebrate March's biggest drinking holiday? Why not turn to an inky black beer or a brilliant red ale this year instead?
If neither insipid green or flavorful black beer are colors that you'd like to see in your glass this St. Patrick's Day, there is one other shade you can call on: Irish red ales.
The style was nominally popularized by brewers at Coors in the waning decades of the last century, and their Killians Irish Red Ale is perhaps the best-known example of the style. Funny story: That brew is not even an ale; it's a lager.
Although Irish red ales have some historical tie to the isle, it's a tenuous one. Regardless, these ruddy off-dry ales have been embraced by American craft breweries (and especially brewpubs) looking for an approachable yet still flavorful, brew. They showcase toffee and caramel flavors under a hint of toasted bread and a waft of hop aroma.