Irish Ales for the Wee Bit O’ Irish in Ye
Let’s face it, even if you only have a pinch of Irish in you, this week your accent is likely to become a bit broguish and your distant Irish kin are suddenly the favored branch of your family tree. And if you are an ale lover, you may find yourself yearning for a good Irish Red. With a little help from my million or so beer-loving friends on Untappd, I found seven out-of-the-way places to get your Irish on this week. Beers are rated on a scale of 1-5.
Frederick, Maryland is where you go to find Flying Dog Brewery where the Irish Red is called “Lucky SOB.” It has an overall rating on Untappd of 3.43, which is respectable for an ale on a forum that tends to lean toward heavier beer. Frederick is a centrally located spot from which to launch your Maryland explorations. Consider day trips into D.C., Baltimore, or maybe a quieter journey over to Harpers Ferry. Hike the Appalachian Trail, or just stay in town an enjoy the historic downtown. Choices of accommodations include B&B’s like 10 Clarke.
Akron, Ohio is home to Thirsty Dog Brewing. “Irish Setter Red” has a rating of 3.45 from over 4,000 tasters. You can find Thirsty Dog beers throughout the Northeast, but the tasting room and tours are worthy of a stop if you care to venture to Akron. For something unique to do between beers, take a ride on the Cuyahaga Scenic Railroad, which even has a program called “Ales on Rails” for some scenic sipping. B&B’s are the way to go in Akron. The Whimsical Pig has a solid five-star rating on Bedandbreakfast.com.
Tempe, Arizona rounds out our three-dog brewery list with Sleepy Dog Brewery. “Red Rover” is the Irish-style Ale on the list. Untappd reviewers give it a 3.51 average rating. Tempe is part of the greater Phoenix Metropolitan area. Hiking and biking are the sports of choice in the clean dessert air. The hotel of choice here would be the newly opened Moxy, Marriot’s hip new line, featuring photo booth elevators and a bar/front desk combo that allows you to check into your room and order an adult beverage in one spot.
Munster, Indiana is home to the wild 3 Floyds Brewing Co. Untappd members are reporting tastings of “Brian Boru Old Irish Red Ale,” so secretive that I couldn’t find it on the company website. That usually means you have to get while they’ve got it. It’s carrying a hefty 3.81 Untappd rating. Munster is a bedroom community to Chicago. As such, accommodations run towards typical highway hotels. If you would rather stay in the city, McCormick Place Hyatt Regency is ideal. From there you can use the Metra and South Shore trains to get not only within Uber distance of the brewery in Hammond, but almost anywhere else you might want to go.
Janesville, Wisconsin is home to Gray’s Brewing Co. and Gray’s Tied House Pub where you can toast your Celtic ancestors with “Busted Knuckle Irish Ale.” It has an average rating on Untappd of 3.31, from over 3,000 reviewers. Janesville is an escape from the city to an idyllic small town. The best choice for accommodations is a B&B. http://allynmansion.com/Allyn Mansion may be just the ticket for a relaxing weekend escape to beer country.
Pottstown, Pennsylvania is home to Sly Fox Beer where “Seamus’ Irish Red Ale” is waiting to soothe your Irish temperament. Untappd members are currently giving it a healthy 3.39 rating. Pottstown is far enough out of Philly so that you know you have left the city behind, but not so far as to rule out as a day trip. The appropriately Irish-named Inn at St. Peters is a lovely B&B if you choose to make this trip an overnighter.
Evansville, Indiana gives us Tin Man Brewing Company, where the Irish Ale is simply called “Rivet.” Untappd drinkers like it well enough; it’s current average rating is 3.49. The tasting room serves up some brewliscious-looking burgers to pair with your ale. Evansville is squarely in the Midwest– situated roughly halfway between St. Louis and Louisville. The best accommodations may be at the riverside Tropicana Casino. There you’ll find the quietly luxurious Le Merigot.