Ignore the unions — go with these beers on St. Paddy’s Day

“Toast St. Patrick with union-made beer” advises Union Plus, a benefits program for American union members.

In an email to members, Union Plus endorsed beers for St. Patrick’s Day brews and even discouraged people from buying Yuengling because its owner is a key player in battling compulsory unionization through an initiative called “right to work.”

The list of union approved beers is quite lengthy, yet none of them bring St. Paddy’s Day to mind:

Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser, Bud Light, Budweiser American Ale, Labatt’s Blue, Molson, Moosehead and Saranac (Teamsters), Genesee (Teamsters/Operating Engineers/Plumbers), Hamm’s, Hamm’s Draft, Hamm’s Light, Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve, Henry Weinhard’s Blue Boar Pale Ale, Leinenkugel’s and Icehouse (Auto Workers), Iron City (IUE-CWA), Lionshead and Stegmaier (Operating Engineers).

Also Busch, Mad River, Michelob, Natural Light, O’Doul’s, Rolling Rock, Shock Top and Steelhead Fine Ale (Machinists), Olde English 800, Pabst, Red Dog, Mickey’s Malt, Mickey’s Ice, Miller, Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft and Genuine Draft Light, Miller High Life and High Life Light, Miller Lite Ice, Milwaukee’s Best, Best Light and Best Ice (Auto Workers) and Sharp’s non-alcoholic beer (Auto Workers).

What would you prefer: A union telling you to drink mediocre beers that have nothing to do with the Irish holiday or a regular guy giving his beer suggestions that do?

I hope it’s the latter because that’s what’s about to happen.

Must haves:

Guinness Extra Stout


St. Patrick’s Day is a “Lovely day for a Guinness.” This malty, chocolaty, creamy classic is a must have and please don’t say “I’m watching my weight” because, contrary to what you might think, it only has 176 calories per 12 ounces (only 60 more than a Bud Light) — something you can burn off with a long walk or a 20 minute jog. This milkshake of beers is best consumed alone, but if you want to make things interesting Irish Car Bombs are encouraged.

Now you’ll see the extent of Guinness’s power:


Harp Lager

Credit: theperfectlyhappyman.com

Harp, born and bottled in 1960, is a reliable Vienna-style Irish lager also brewed by Guinness. Its golden body and white head will not blow you away, but it will leave you refreshed and satisfied. Crisp is a good way to describe the taste. Harp also serves as a nice change of pace from Guinness Stout.

Smithwicks Irish Ale

Credit: casagreer.com

Smithwick’s, founded by a guy named John with the same last name in 1710, was originally brewed in St. Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny — I’ll get to Kilkenny in a moment — Ireland’s oldest operating brewery and one that’s been around since the 14th century. Smithwick’s deep red color, foamy head and complex taste that won’t weigh you down makes it an Irish Ale to remember.

Kilkenny Cream Ale

Credit: drunksavant.com

Think of Kilkenny as a hybrid of Guinness and Smithwick’s. It has the creamy topper of a Guinness and the hue and taste found in a pint of Smithwick’s.

Kilkenny is easily one of the more underrated drafts of all time — pure delight! As a personal aside, it was the first beer I had at a pub in Ireland. Find it if you can — and best ‘o luck while doing so.

Murphy’s Stout

Credit: whoisbrew.com

You thought we were done with stouts, but we couldn’t end this list without giving a shout out to Murphy’s. When it comes to Murphy’s, think Guinness but lighter, creamier, and slightly sweeter, with some coffee notes. Murphy’s goes down easy and is well-deserving of your attention.

Honorable Mention:


Credit: beeradvocate.com

For being a union target and always tasting as expected.

Yuengling is special precisely because there is nothing special about it. It’s just a beer and that’s okay.

Credit: leapbeer.com

This picture basically shows what my St. Patrick’s Day will look like. How about yours?


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