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SUPER BOWL: Jalapeño Chips


These are a real treat with a cold beer. Photo
courtesy Cooking Planit.


One of our favorite Top Picks Of The Week is Deano’s Jalapeno Chips, crunchy nuggets of chile heat. They are terrific with a beer and as a garnish on anything from hors d’oeuvre to mashed potatoes.

Alas, as with so many artisan products, your only access to them may to be to order them online. But if you like to fry, you can make your own.

Here’s a recipe created by Emily Wilson for Cooking Planit. Crisp, hot and spicy, you’ll want to make a double or triple batch if you’re having guests—they’ll disappear quickly.

Buy the largest jalapeños you can find for bigger chips.



  • 4 large fresh jalapeño chiles
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • Optional dip (see below)
  • Preparation

    1. CUT the stem ends off the jalapeños. Avoid touching your face when handling peppers; you may wish to wear protective latex gloves. For the hottest jalapeños, leave the seeds and white ribs inside. To reduce the heat, use a paring knife to gently cut inside each jalapeño and remove the seeds and ribs. A thin object such as a skewer or a chopstick can also help to scrape out the seeds.

    2. SLICE each jalapeño crosswise into 1/8 inch thick rounds. Wash hands thoroughly—or remove and wash gloves—immediately after handling chiles. This removes the chemical capsaicin, which will cause unpleasant stinging should your fingers connect with your eyes.


    3. POUR flour into a shallow, wide bowl. Pour panko bread crumbs into another shallow, wide bowl.

    4. CRACK the eggs into a third shallow, wide bowl and whisk to combine well. Line up the 3 bowls: flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs. Set a clean plate at the end near the panko.

    5. DREDGE a few of the jalapeño slices in the flour, coating both sides. Shake off excess, then dip in the egg mixture. Coat both sides again, shake off excess, then dredge in the panko. Coat both sides, shake off excess, then transfer to the clean plate. Repeat with remaining slices.

    6. PREPARE a plate with layers of paper towels. Set plate near the stove for the cooked jalapeños.



    Slice ‘em, bread ‘em, fry ‘em. For less heat, remove the centers, retaining only the green rings. Photo courtesy Brybs | SXC.


    7. POUR the canola oil into a large pot, about 2 inches deep (about 3 cups of oil, depending on the size of your pot). Heat the oil over medium heat to 350°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat the oil until it looks shiny, about 5-8 minutes.

    8. USE one jalapeño slice as a tester. Gently place it in the oil. If bubbles form quickly and it floats to the surface, the oil is ready. Add more pieces but do not crowd them in the oil—work in batches as necessary. If the tester sinks to the bottom and bubbles don’t form, the oil is not ready. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tester and wait a few more minutes.

    9. FRY the jalapeños until golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to flip them so they fry evenly and turn golden on both sides. Transfer them to the plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt as soon as they come out of the oil.

    10. As the jalapeños cook, the oil temperature rises. So remove the oil from the heat for at least 3 minutes to cool it down between batches. Repeat the tester drill before each new batch.

    11. TRANSFER the jalapeño chips to a serving dish. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Extras will keep in an airtight container for a few days.

    As with any chips, no dip is needed; but you can serve the jalapeño chips with:

  • Pesto
  • Salsa
  • Spicy mayonnaise (blend mayo with hot sauce and optional chili powder, oregano or other herb)
  • Yogurt dip (a cool dip to offset the heat—blend yogurt with chives, garlic, salt and pepper or try this citrus yogurt dip


    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Lager Day & The Different Types Of Lager

    A lager on tap. Photo courtesy Samuel
    Adams Brewery.


    December 10th is National Lager Day (see all the food holidays).

    Enjoy a cold one as you read through these lager facts, compiled by the brewers at Samuel Adams.

    1. History. Alhough beer has been made for more than seven millennia, the first lager wasn’t brewed until the 16th century. America’s first lager was brewed in 1838, when Bavarian brewmaster John Wagner brought lager yeast across the pond from Europe.

    2. Science. Lager yeast, as opposed to ale yeast, ferments (eats sugar to produce carbonation and alcohol) at cooler temperatures. When the fermentation is finished, lager yeast settles to the bottom of the fermentation tank while ale yeast remains on top. Lager yeast also takes a longer time to condition the beer than ale yeast.


    3. Character. Due in part to their clean, crisp character, lagers are labeled by some as plain or boring. That might be so with some mass-marketed beers, but craft lagers are flavorful and complex. There are also different styles of lager: Baltic Porter; Bock, Double Bock and Wheat Bock; Oktoberfest; Rauchbier and Vienna Lager, among many others, as you’ll see below.

    4. Cold. Before modern refrigeration, brewers needed a way to keep their lagers cool during the brewing process. Before the advent of modern cooling tanks, German lager brewers often cooled their beer in Alpine caves or in cellars dug deeply into hillsides (the latter technique used by immigrants German-American beer makers).

    5. Meaning. In German, Czech and Polish, to lager means to store, keep, preserve or keep safe.



    Amber Lager, loosely based on Vienna lager (see below), can range from amber to copper in hue. It is generally more fully flavored than a standard pale lager, with caramel malt flavors. While hop levels vary considerably among breweries, amber logers tend to be hoppier than Vienna lagers. Samuel Adams Boston Lager is an amber lager.

    Baltic Porter is a very high alcohol, sweet, robust porter that originated in the Baltic states. It melds both the character of original British Porters and the sweeter, highly alcoholic Russian Imperial Stouts.

    Bock Beer is a strong lager first brewed in the 14th century in the German town of Einbeck. The style was adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century using the new lager style of brewing. Due to their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced “Einbeck” as “ein Bock” (a billy goat). The style became known as bock and, as a visual pun, the bottle labels often feature a goat.


    Bock beer—dark but still a lager. Photo courtesy

    Traditional bock is a sweet and lightly hopped with low carbonation. The color can range from light copper to brown. The taste is rich and toasty, sometimes with a bit of caramel. Several substyles of bock beer exist, including maibock or helles bock, a paler, more hopped version generally made for consumption at spring festivals; doppelbock, a stronger and maltier version; and eisbock, a much stronger version made by partially freezing the beer and removing the water ice that forms.

    Doppelbock or Double Bock Beer is a dark, malty brew, rich in body and high in alcohol. It was first brewed in the Italian Alps around 1650 by the monks in the monastery of St. Francis of Paula, for sustenance throughout the Lenten season. A fun note: The monks felt that such a delicious brew might be too much of an indulgence for Lent, so they sent a cask to be judged by the Holy Father in Rome. Tossed and turned during transport across the Alps and then heated under the Italian sun, the beer turned sour. When the Holy Father tasted it, he found it vile and declared it was probably beneficial for the souls of the Munich monks to make and drink as much of it as they could.

    Märzen or Oktoberfest Beer gets its name from the last month in which the beer was traditionally brewed, March (März in German). Before refrigeration, March was the last month in which beers could be “lagered,” or put into cold storage. The beers would age over the summer, to be enjoyed during the fall harvest, Oktoberfest. Märzen lagers have a deep, amber color and a malt-heavy flavor.

    Rauchbier (Smoked Beer). Rauchbier is made using malted barley dried over an open flame, which imparts smoky flavors. They can range from a light smokiness to an intense—and some say acrid—level.

    Vienna Lager, a cousin of Märzen, is a crisp and refreshing style characterized by its medium body, malty taste and amber color. Vienna lager is actually more popular in Mexico than in Austria. It was brought there in 1864 by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph of Austria, who was installed by the French as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. He was overthrown and executed by republican forces in 1867; but the Mexicans did like his beer, and continued to make the style. Dos Equis and Modelo Especial are examples.

    Winter Lager. A dark bock beer, winter lager is a style rich in maltiness for a hearty, full body, and low in bitterness. Holiday spices (ginger and cinnamon) can be added.


    It’s also helpful if you don‘t know a bitter from a hop.

    —Steven Gans



    TIP OF THE DAY: Have An Oktoberfest Party

    On Saturday, as we were enjoying a cup of coffee on a bench at an entrance to Central Park, a stream of people in dirndl skirts and lederhosen passed by us, en route to an Oktoberfest celebration.

    That, and the arrival of a sample bottle of Samuel Adams Oktoberfest beer, reminded us that it’s that time of year.

    Oktoberfest is an annual 16-day beer festival held since 1810 in Munich, Germany, the heart of Bavaria. While it’s called Oktoberfest (German for October feast), the event begins in late September and ends in early October.

    It is said to be the world’s largest fair, with more than 6 million people drinking more than 7 million liters of beer.

    Oktoberfest-style beer is traditionally the first beer of the brewing season in Germany: the Beaujolais Nouveau of Germany, as it were. It’s a Märzen-style beer: a lager that is amber in color, smooth and malty and about 6% or higher ABV.


    A glass of Samuel Adams Oktoberfest beer.
    Photo courtesy


    To be labeled Oktoberfest beer in Germany, a beer must conform to the Reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law), which dictates a minimum of 6% alcohol (by comparison, America’s Budweiser has 5%). The beer must also be brewed within the city limits of Munich.

    Märzen gets its name from the last month in which the beer was traditionally brewed. Before refrigeration, March was the last month that beers could be “lagered,” or put in cold storage. The beers would then age during the summer, to be enjoyed by fall harvest.


    Brats and German potato salad: classic
    Oktoberfest fare. Photo by Rudi Sills | IST.



    Other cities around the world hold their own Oktoberfests, and you can do your own on a small scale: Gather the beer and the refreshments and call your beer-loving friends.

    Oktoberfest beer is typically enjoyed with a variety of traditional German foods. Märzen’s rich roasted malt character pairs perfectly with traditional brats and roasted meats. The roasty malts also complement and mellow the sweetness of desserts with similar flavors, like the caramel richness of crème brûlée, a caramel sundae or blondies (not Oktoberfest traditions).

    Here’s our guide to food parings and for throwing an Oktoberfest party.

    Each Oktoberfest season, Samuel Adams hosts a National Stein Hoisting Competition at thousands of bars, eateries and festivals nationwide.


    The two hoisters who hold their steins up the longest—one male and one female—will be crowned the Samuel Adams National Stein Hoisting Champions and win a trip for two to Oktoberfest 2014 in Munich, Germany.

    Stein hoisting events will be hosted at Oktoberfest celebrations in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Miami, Nashville, Washington, D.C., among other places, from now through October 20. Visit for full event listings.

    Check out the different types of beer in our Beer Glossary.



    PRODUCT: Shandy ~ Half Beer, Half Lemonade

    Strawberry shandy. Photo courtesy Traveler
    Beer Company.


    Shandy, short for shandygaff (no one knows the origin of the word), is beer diluted with a non-alcoholic beverage. It’s a traditional British pub drink that mixes lager with lemon soda, ginger ale or ginger beer. Carbonated lemonade, cider or other citrus-flavored soda can be used.

    Whatever you use, consensus is that shandy is a refreshing summertime drink.

    The shandy tradition dates back to the 17th century. Today, English publicans blend an English ale or beer with various lemon and lime beverages.

    With a new twist on the tradition, Traveler Beer Company of Burlington, Vermont, makes three craft shandies (4.4% ABV):


  • Curious Traveler Shandy, a shandy from wheat ale infused with real lemons and limes (4.4% ABV). Lemon lovers: This shandy has a lively fruit flavor and a powerful fresh lemon aroma
  • Time Traveler Shandy, a wheat beer, brewed with real strawberry
  • Jack-O Traveler Shandy, the newest flavor, brewed with lemon peel and added pumpkin


    It you’re looking for a Labor Day activity, how about a make-your-own shandy bar? Just assemble the ingredients, print out brief “instructions*” and put them in a frame next to the beer.

    Shandy Bar Ingredients

  • Lager beer (plus wheat beer or nonalcoholic beer if you’d like two styles)
  • Citrus soda, sparkling lemonade, sparkling soda
  • Ginger ale/ginger beer
  • Lemonade: plain, sparkling, Mike’s Hard Lemonade
  • Berry lemonade: blueberry, strawberry, raspberry (muddle the berries and mix with regular lemonade)
  • Sparkling cider

    Shandy Garnishes

  • Lemon wedges
  • Lime wedges
  • Berries

  • Glasses (start with small-to-medium size)
  • Swizzle sticks to stir
  • Paper towels for spills
  • Napkins

    What adult trick-or-treaters want: pumpkin shandy. Photo courtesy Travel Beer Company.


    If you don’t want a shandy bar, gather whatever shandy brands you can find and have a tasting.

    Samuel Adams makes Porch Rocker, if you can still find it (the distribution period is through July). Anheuser-Busch’s Shock Top Lemon Shandy is available through August. Also look for Harp Lemon Shandy, Labatt Shandy and Saranac Shandy Lager and Lemonade.

    Fentiman’s brews two soft drink shandy styles, non-alcoholic shandy and a low alcoholic version brewed to .5 ABV ABV (1 proof), which allows it to be sold as a soft drink.

    We like to use shot glasses or juice glasses for this type of tasting. It lets everyone try a small amount of each brand, and return to their favorite with a larger glass.

    More about shandy.

    *Instructions can include: (1) Shandy is half beer, half soft drink. (2) Create your own signature shandy with the soft drink of your choice. (3) Be neat, and clean up your spills!



    FOOD HOLIDAY: National IPA Day

    In the 19th century, the British living in India drank ale from England—largely because the Indian water supply had microbes that caused digestive problems to foreigners not raised on it.

    But not all beer could withstand the long journey to India in a hot ship’s hold. A style evolved—India Pale Ale or IPA—that had higher levels of alcohol (7%-8% ABV, alcohol by volume) and hops, both of which act as preservatives to help the beer withstand the voyage of up to six months.

    The two components created an assertive beer, strong from the alcohol and both bitter and aromatic from the hops. The style paired well with robust food—the red meat and strong cheeses that were popular British fare.

    Today, there’s fast transportation to the Pacific Rim, and plenty of bottled water and Coca-Cola for travelers. The IPA style has evolved (or devolved, in the case of British IPAs) to 5.5% ABV, but are still highly hopped. American IPAs tend to stick with the old style, higher alcohol.

    Whenever we’re handed a craft beer list, we look for the IPA. But you can do well in supermarkets, too. Boston Beer Company, brewers of Samuel Adams, has embraced the IPA style, with eight different IPAs.


    Some of the IPAs from Boston Beer Company, brewers of the Samuel Adams brand. Grumpy Monk is a Belgian-style IPA. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    Check your local retailer for the limited edition Samuel Adams IPA Hopology Variety Pack: two bottles each of six very different, bold and flavorful IPAs, including innovative twists on traditional styles.

    The Samuel Adams IPAs below differ in different styles, ABV and IBUs, International Bitterness Units, reflecting the bitterness from the hops.


    Dark Depths, a Baltic-style IPA from the
    Samuel Adams brand. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    Samuel Adams Dark Depths (Baltic IPA, 7.6% ABV, 60 IBUs) is a dark and fierce bottling. The brewers reimagined Baltic porter as an IPA, combining the big and contrasting flavors of dark roasted malts and six varieties of bold citrussy hops with the smoothness of a lager. Dark Depths is available year-round, nationwide.

    Samuel Adams Grumpy Monk (Belgian IPA, 6.5% ABV, 55 IBUs) is a spirited reinvention of the traditional Belgian ales brewed by monks, reimagined as a complex IPA. The brew combines six hop varieties with the traditional spicy clove and fruit flavors of Belgian ale yeast. It’s a bold new twist that might make a conventionally-minded monk a bit, well, grumpy. Grumpy Monk is available on draft year-round, nationwide.

    Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA (IPA, 6.0% ABV, 60 IBUs) is brewed with five different hops from the 48th latitude—the prime hop-growing territory in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as the “hop belt.” The result is a distinctive, layered IPA hop character. The 2013 batch is inspired by the new Mosaic hop variety from Washington, which imparts a bright, citrusy flavor. Latitude 48 is available year-round, nationwide.


    Samuel Adams Tasman Red (Red IPA, 7.0 % ABV, 60 IBUs) is a bold and lively red IPA that combines the grapefruit, piney and earthy character of Topaz and Galaxy hops grown around the Tasmanian Sea. Smooth and roasty malts and hints of coffee also shine in this balanced and smooth brew, which has a dry, citrussy hop finish. Tasman Red is available year-round, nationwide.

    Samuel Adams Third Voyage (Double IPA, 8.0% ABV, 85 IBUs) is a bright and intense double IPA with a vivid hop punch. Inspired by Captain James Cook, whose third voyage made him the first to navigate a treacherous route from England to New Zealand to the Pacific Northwest, this brew combines hops from three growing regions, uniting for a citrussy, earthy and bold character. Here’s an example of the hop profile that the brewers have chosen:

  • Cascade hops, bred at Oregon State University—the most widely used hops by American craft breweries, imparting a citrus/grapefruit aroma.
  • Simcoe hops, bred in Washington by Yakima Chief Ranches, which yield different aromas including citrus, earthy, passion fruit and pine.
  • Zeus hops, developed by Yakima Chief Ranches: citrussy, slightly woody and sometimes resiny.
  • Summer Saaz hops, with aromas of passion fruit, citrus and melon, from Hop Products Australia.
    Here’s a list of all the different types of hops.

    Third Voyage is available year-round, nationwide.

    Samuel Adams Whitewater IPA (White IPA, 5.8% ABV, 61 IBUs) draws inspiration from the crisp wheat character of a white ale and the intense hop flavor of an American IPA. Fusing these two styles together, American and Australian hop varieties impart bold grapefruit notes balanced by a crisp wheat malt while the subtle addition of apricots and orange peel provides a slight sweetness and zest to round out the brew. Whitewater IPA is available year-round, nationwide.




    FATHER’S DAY: Spielgau IPA Glasses

    As any beer connoisseur knows, quality glassware enhances the enjoyment of quality craft beer. And you don’t have to be a connoisseur to know that there are different shapes of glasses for pilsners, wheat bees and other beer styles.

    That‘s because nuances of engineering reflect the different attributes of a particular style of beer (or wine). For example:

    Like a champagne flute, a tall, narrow glass enables the beer to release its flavor more slowly. But for someone who likes a pronounced head, a glass with a deep bowl allows it to form.

    The classic stein and pint glasses are generic glassware that don’t nudge the beer in any specific direction. Before modern engineering, practicality and fashion ruled:

  • The 10-sided handled pint mug, introduced in the 1920s, kept the beer cooler longer by keeping warm hands off the glass.

    IPA, Globe Pilsner, Wheat Beer and Tall Pilsner glasses. Photo courtesy Spielgau.


  • The dimpled glass, introduced in the 1940s, enhanced the visual appeal of the fashionable darker beers by allowing light hit the dimples in the glass.

    Manufacturers of fine glassware learned that they could, among other adjustments, engineer glasses to bring out the particular qualities of a variety of beer:

  • A larger body keeps the beer cooler for longer.
  • Etching the bottom of the glass helps to maintain the head and the release of carbonation (so the beer doesn’t get flat as quickly).
  • A slightly narrow neck traps the aroma.
  • A double thick bottom better insulates from any warmth from the table top.
  • A stem or a narrower bottom where it’s comfortable to hold the glass keeps away heat from hands that could warm the brew.
  • An outward-turned lip can enhance the sweet notes of the beer.

    Fron left to right: IPA glass, globe pilsner,
    wheat beer glass and tall pilsner. Photo
    courtesy Spielgau.



    If you’re a fan of IPAs (India Pale Ales—which happen to be our favorite tyle of beer), check out Spiegelau’s new IPA glass. The manufacturer collaborated with Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada breweries to create a glass that best displays the nuances of IPA-style beers.

    Twelve different prototypes were developed by Spielgau and tested by the bewers, designed to showcase varying aromatic profiles for “hop forward” IPA beers, preserve a frothy head and volatiles and maintain a comfortably wide opening for the drinker to “nose” the beer.

    Why is the engineering so important? In the case of the IPA glasses:

  • Thin walls maintain proper beer temperature longer.
  • The slender, bowed shape amplifies the hops aroma.

  • Wave-like ridges aerate the beer to balance flavors.
  • A wide mouth allows the drinker to “nose” the beer comfortably for heightened aroma.
  • Raw quartz silica combined with state of the art production methods help sustain the head and the carbonation. It also delivers the beer evenly across the palate for a pleasant creaminess and harmony of sweetness and acidity.

    The 19-ounce/540 ml glasses are $24.90 for a set of two. You can buy them on Amazon.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Crispin Hard Apple Cider

    Crispin Original, our go-to hard apple cider.
    Photo courtesy Crispin Cider.


    For the upcoming trio of holidays—Memorial Day, Fathere’s Day and Independence Day—we’d like to recommend something festive to drink: sparkling Crispin Hard Apple Cider.

    Whether or not you’re currently a cider fan, we’ve got to evangelize over what we think is the most elegant of hard apple ciders.

    The naturally fermented line is made from the fresh pressed juice of Northwest apples—not from apple juice concentrate like many ciders. And there’s also pear cider, or perry, made from 100% pear juice; there’s no apple juice sneaked in to lower the cost of ingredients.

    It’s pure, clean cider: There is no added malt, grape wine or spirit alcohol, no added colorants, sorbate or benzoate preservatives.

    And unlike beer, which is made from grain, cider is 100% gluten free.


    But don’t take our word for it: Head to the store and pick some up. You can party hearty: Cider is less filling than beer. The Crispin line has an ABV of 5.3%…and a deliciousness index of 100%.

    Read the full review.



    CINCO DE MAYO: Chipotle Beer

    Some people don’t want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tequila: They want a beer. So here’s a hot number designed by Frontera Grill’s Rick Bayless for Bohemia Beer:


    Ingredients Per Drink

  • Chipotle rimming salt (recipe below)
  • 2 fresh lime wedges, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce or 1 teaspoon canned chipotles en adobo, puréed
  • Ice
  • 6 ounces chilled Bohemia beer
  • Garnish: cucumber slice

    1. MAKE chipotle rimming salt: Thoroughly mix 2 tablespoons coarse (kosher) salt and 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chile powder in a small bowl. Pour out onto a small plate to use for rimming beer glasses.


    Beer and hot sauce with a salt rim. Photo courtesy Bohemia Beer.


    2. WET the rim of a tall glass with lime wedge. Then dip the rim of the glass into the chipotle rimming salt.

    3. SQUEEZE the juice from the remaining lime pieces into the glass. Stir in the chipotle hot sauce or chipotles in adobo.

    4. FILL the glass with ice. Pour in the Bohemia beer. Mix gently. Garnish glass rim with a cucumber slice. Serve.





    PRODUCT: Game Of Thrones Beer

    Blonde Ale is the first in the new Game Of
    Thrones beer line. Photo courtesy Brewery


    For Game Of Thrones fans, there’s an answer to the question of what Joffrey Baratheon might have drunk as he sat on the Iron Throne—or at the dinner table.

    Brewery Ommegang and HBO, producer of the hit series, are partnering on a series of beers inspired by the drama. After much collaboration, they launched the first Iron Throne beer, a blonde ale, in tandem with the third season.

    While Joffrey is a teen, everyone, including young children, drank beer until modern times. Before reliable municipal water supplies, water from available sources—wells, lakes and rivers—harbored disease-causing microbes. Because the water is boiled during brewing, the microbes were destroyed, making beer the safe choice.

    We haven’t been able track down a bottle of Game Of Thrones beer: The store locator on the website only tells you what retailers carry any beers from Brewery Ommegang. Your best bet may be to email or call the brewery:, 800.544.1809.


    Brush up on the different types of beers in our Beer Glossary.
    *The line is not distributed in Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota,West Virginia and Wyoming.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Red Ale

    It’s as comforting as an evening in an Irish pub, says Samuel Adams about its Irish Red Ale, which brings together a roasted malt sweetness with a light but earthy hoppiness.

    So head out and pick up some Irish Red to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

    Irish Red Ale is a refreshing, lighter beer style closely related to English Bitters. As with all recipes, there are numerous variations; but all tend to have the characteristic deep red color and mild flavor.

    In Ireland, the brew is called Irish Red Ale, Red Ale, or Irish Ale. Imports from Ireland include Beamish Red Ale, Caffrey’s Irish Ale, Murphy’s Irish Red and Smithwick’s.

    Among American-brewed Irish Reds, look for Goose Island’s Kilgubbin Red Ale, Great Lakes Brewing’s Conway’s Irish Ale and Saranac Brewery’s Irish Red Ale.


    Look for Irish Red in the bottle. Photo courtesy Samuel Adams.

    According to, some experts characterize Irish Red as a sub-category of English Bitters or Pale Ales. Others, including the Beer Judge Certification Program, believe Irish Red stands as its own distinct style.

    Adding to confusion, some American craft brewers have taken American Amber Ales, added coloring or a bit of roasted malt and called them Irish Red as well.

    What’s the difference between an Amber Ale and an Irish Red?

    The recipes are very similar. The main difference is the measure of bitterness in the beer. Amber Ales use more hops to achieve more bitterness. The secondary difference is the origin of the hops and the type of malts: Irish Red use more English malts (often toasted malts) and hops, American Amber Ales use more American malts and hops.

    For beer drinkers who prefer less hop influence, Irish Reds offer virtually no hop aroma low to moderate hop flavor, as well as low to moderate malty aroma and flavor. They have a very clean finish with a low buttery or toffee flavor. The use of roasted barley for coloring often results in a slight roasted finish and also creates a dry finish for the beer. Unlike English Ales, Irish Red has no ester (fruity) flavors.

    As you lift a glass, remember to says “cheers” in Gaelic: sláinte (pronounced SLAWN-cheh)

    Check out the different types of beers and beer terminology in our Beer Glossary.



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