Gift Guide: Beautiful, Beautiful Beer

St. Patrick's Day isn't really a gift giving holiday, but here at The Gift Wrap Blog, I think any holiday is a good excuse to share wonderful things. There are bound to be great parties come March 17th, and if there's one token any host appreciates, it's good, cold beer. But which variety do you bring?

Here are the rules: I've only chosen bottled beers (sorry Natty Lite, but we're not talking about Frat parties here. Or if we are, they're Frat parties of the classiest ilk). The perfect St. Paddy's beer must also have aesthetic appeal, preferably embodying spring or Irish themes. You can't really wrap beer--if you find a good way to do it, SEND ME PICTURES--but the drink itself is your contribution to the bash, so why not have 'em look great? Finally, I'm not listing prices here because as you might have noticed if you've crossed state lines, beer costs all different, crazy prices. Go to the beer store. They will have at least one of these beers there. It will be more expensive in New York than it is in New Hampshire.

The Party Beers

Flying Dog- Tire Bite Golden Ale

The Flying Dog Brewery is based in Maryland and combines light, simple beers with funny, dog illustrations. It's a straight up good times beer in taste, but the label is sure to get you a few dozen Dude, AWESOME!'s throughout the night.

Staropramen Premium Ale

This isn't a party beer in the traditional American sense, but you can find it in every pub across the pond. This Czech beer is one of the few precious brewed still bottled in green glass. Tastes clean, smooth and heady. I drank this attractive little juggernaut when I celebrated last St. Paddy's day in London.

Bud Lite Lime

This is a party beer in the traditional American sense, so much so that I might wave my star spangled banner alongside my Irish flag while drinking this on the 17th. BLL is basic: the Bud Lite we all know and sort of like--and gradually come to love as the night progresses--with a hint of lime. Just enough green for the party.

The Classy Beers

Blue Moon Rising Moon

This is Blue Moon's spring brew, basically just Bud Lite Lime for an audience with more sophisticated taste buds. Flavored with zest and leaves from Kieffer limes, this drink is subtly refreshing. I tried it for the first time over the weekend and it didn't make me jump out of my pants, but I think that's a good thing. There are more than enough reasons to act a fool on St. Patrick's Day.

Brooklyn Lager Chocolate Stout

I toured Brooklyn Brewery a month ago, and since
then I've been eager to try every delicious variety this company puts forth into the world. I love the chocolate stout--it is VERY rich. Almost too much to drink more than one in a single sitting, so this beer is better for the pacing type. Its black and gold label is regal in a way that harkens Guinness, but also coolly purs, "Hey, I'm from Brooklyn."

The Quirky Beers

Magic Hat Odd Notion Spring 2010

Every season, Burlington Vermont's Magic Hat Brewery puts out an Odd Notion beer. Always great flavors, always fun labels. I've taken to collecting all the Magic Hat seasonals, because there ceases to be one I don't love. Spring 2010 is pale and citrusy, you will enjoy it if you're into beers that make you repeatedly question why you like them.

Hitachino Sweet Stout

I first tried this Japanese beer at a Malaysian restaurant on the west side and declared, "This elixir tastes like a craft store!" There is nothing remotely Irish about it, but it has a green label, and it's just weird enough to work.

The Irish Beers

Smithwick's Irish Ale

A tride and true Irish beer. Tastes Irish, looks Irish, smells Irish, and pairs great with your corned beef and cabbage. Just remember that it's pronounced "Smiddick's," or else you won't sound Irish.

Harpoon India Pale Ale

Had to throw in a fun, spicy IPA with an Irish twist. Great colors on the label, great beer. 'Nuff said.

I'm no beer expert, but I'm confident that your St. Patrick's Day will be extra lucky with one (or more) of these brews in tow.

Note: Thanks to Christine and my mom for pointing out that St. Patrick's Day is on the 17th, not the 14th. Boo, now I have to wait three extra days?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. wooo beeeeer! I'm going with Smithwick's on this one. also -- thanks for replying with A WHOLE ENTIRE POST! And a plug for my blog! And a neologism! my nihilism is cured. there is meaning in the world again. <3

  3. I am surprised you did not include Guinness which many of the true Irish adore. On another note, your great, great grandmother was a Smithwick which is maybe where you get your gift of beautiful beer from :). PHR

  4. Nice post! I love St. Patrick's day because its my birthday!

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