These are the best loved stouts from Ireland’s independent craft breweries
As St Patrick’s Day approaches, bartenders around the world are getting ready to serve up nearly 13 million pints of Guinness in a single day. The famous Dublin stout is sold in more than 150 countries and dominates the annual celebrations of the patron saint of Ireland and all things Irish.
But there are plenty more Irish stouts to explore beyond the Big G. Ireland now boasts 75 microbreweries and more than 100 craft beer brands, aside from the major players such as Guinness, Murphy’s and Beamish. And many of the independently-owned craft brewers produce their own stouts which are well worth seeking out.
So if you want to celebrate the best of Irish culture this St Patrick’s Day, then raise a glass of the black stuff to Ireland’s independent craft brewers.
We’ve rounded up the highest-rated stouts from Ireland, according to thousands of reviews from popular beer rating sites Untappd and RateBeer. Plus, we’ve added in a few more of our underrated favourites and hidden gems.
Here are 10 of the best Irish stouts to try this St Patrick’s Day:
10 of the best Irish stouts
Porterhouse – Oyster Stout
Nutty, bitter and ultra dry. This crisp stout is far sharper than a Guinness. It produces a different mouthfeel without the velvety creaminess, but instead has a refreshing amount of carbonation to add a bit of fizz. Sweet, caramel notes in the aroma.
Galway Bay Brewery – Two Hundred Fathoms
An imperial stout aged in Teeling Whiskey barrels. It boasts a whopping 4.2 / 5 average score from more than 2,000 ratings on Untappd. With a smoothness that belies it’s big beer strength, the hint of whiskey definitely cuts through, but the chocolatey notes make for a deliciously bitter-sweet finish. Limited edition annual batch, so grab it when you see it.
The White Hag – Black Boar Barrel Aged
This imperial oatmeal stout is also aged in whiskey barrels, 12-year-old bourbon ones to be precise. It’s a true heavyweight in both strength and taste. Enjoy an incredible depth of flavour, with the indulgent oatmeal creaminess, bitter dark chocolate and earthy sweetness from the bourbon. But don’t worry if you can’t find the limited edition barrel aged version, the ‘regular’ Black Bour stout is more widely available and is a similarly silky-smooth delight.
Brehon Brewhouse – Crann Beatha
Another strong one, this imperial stout from County Monaghan is velvety yet lighter than you might expect. The oak barrel ageing adds sweetness, while there are forest fruit flavours and bitter chocolate notes running throughout.
Black’s Brewery – World’s End
A double stout from Black’s, a consistently impressive microbrewery in Cork’s foodie capital of Kinsale. Blessed with an intense richness, thanks to the cacao husks and vanilla pods added into the brew. Sweet and smooth, but with a bitterness and roasted maltiness that lingers pleasantly.
Burren Brewery – Burren Black
This is one of the more traditional Irish dry stouts on this list, but well deserving of its place. It’s creamy and very drinkable, with a delicious roasty flavour and hint of almost aniseed sweetness. There’s also an extra edge of lingering bitterness compared to what you might get from a Guinness. It’s locally brewed at the Burren microbrewery, inside the award-winning gastropub The Roadside Tavern. Well worth a detour from the Cliffs of Moher. Or forget the cliffs and just head here.
Killarney Brewing Company – Casey Brothers Extra Stout
This dark and full-bodied oatmeal stout from County Kerry goes heavy on the maltiness with great effect. According to the brewers, this rich variety of malts used captures “essences of espresso, treacle, black bread and dark chocolate.” The addition of Flahavan’s Irish porridge oats makes it smooth as silk and satisfyingly creamy.
Rising Sons – Mi Daza XXX
Triple hopped and with a quadruple malt, this a traditional style that really packs a flavour punch. Produced by Rising Sons, a microbrewery and pub in the heart of Cork, it’s brewed in small batches, free from additives and uses locally-sourced ingredients. Expect a deep maltiness, warming roasted aroma and hints of decadently dark chocolate.
White Gypsy – Russian Imperial Stout
This strong, award-winning stout harks back to the imperial stouts of the 18th century. But it’s certainly a style that has aged well, offering a deep-flavoured drinking experience. Incredibly smooth and velvety on the mouth; it pops with complex characters of burnt chocolate and roasted malts.
If you’re looking for a culinary stout and food matching experience, then White Gypsy recommend pairing it with equally bold flavours, such as strong cheeses, red meat or game, or coffee and chocolate-based desserts.
Wicklow Brewery – Black 16
This stout from Wicklow Brewery marries bitter sweet notes in perfect balance. It has a good depth of flavour, but is not too overpowering or heavy on the palate, making it a good ‘session’ stout (especially as it’s below 5% ABV).
Expect hints of bitter chocolate, roasted coffee and the sweetness of vanilla.