You had plans to drink a beer this weekend, didn't you? Now, Miss Cleo, this was just a hunch. St. Patrick's Day weekend is one of the biggest drinking holidays in America, and along with Irish coffee and Irish whiskey, Irish beers are the inxicant of choice. Unfortunately, depending on your social circle, you might encounter some pedantic snobs this weekend who's going to tell you that Guinness on St. Patrick's Day is super clear, and you should try this locally brewed Irish red instead. Okay, fair, you definitely try the locally brewed Irish red, because that style is under-appreciated and completely delicious, but hear me out on Guinness Draft Stout first: It's probably the best St. Patrick's Day bear there is. Allow me to lay out the evidence.
It's built for day drinking.
At just 4.2 ABV, it packs the same alcohol content as Bud Light and Coors Light. Americans tend to associate darker beers with higher alcohol and overpowering flavors, but that's just not the case. Even though it's flavorful, Guinness is relatively light in terms of texture, and it's not all sweet or heavy on the palate. Its subtle roasted-malt flavors are reminiscent of coffee and cocoa, making it a better beer than people assume beer. And a 12-ounce pour contains just over 125 calories, or 15 more than a can of the low-cal hard seltzer White Claw.
It's authentically Irish
Though it recently found a multimillion dollar brewery in Maryland, Guinness still brews all its stouts — Guinness Draft, Guinness Extra Stout, and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout — in Dublin. The Maryland brewery focuses primarily on Guinness Blonde American Lager, as well as some other non-stout styles.
It's the textbook Irish stout.
If you are studying to become a beer judge, the beer judging manual lists Guinness Extra Stout – available here in the US, but less common than Draft Stout —Is the example of what an Irish extra stout should be. An Irish extra naughty is just a little fuller than a regular Irish stout, but no beer expert could tell you that the Guinness Draft isn't a good example of an Irish naughty.
Moral of the story? Drink what you like for the holiday. If that’s a Guinness, good choice. If it's an Irish red ale, just like fine. Irish whiskey? Slainte. Lucky Charms bear? Ehhhh, I'm less enthused.