Are you ready for a journey through the land of Irish brews? This emerald isle has nurtured an incredible brewing tradition for centuries, giving rise to familiar and new flavors. From silky smooth stouts to refreshing pale ales, the diversity of styles on offer is enough to satisfy any hophead. Top 10 best Irish beer brands:

  1. Scraggy Bay
  2. Guinness
  3. Rosie’s Pale Ale (McGargle’s)
  4. Five Lamp
  5. Smithwick’s Blonde
  6. Harp Irish Lager
  7. Boyne Brewhouse
  8. McGargles/Rye River Brewing Co.
  9. Wicklow Wolf
  10. O’Hara’s

This article includes both longtime favorites and up-and-coming surprises. Representing this brewing hotbed’s length and breadth, something here will become your new go-to. So pull up a stool, grab a pint, and prepare to take a tasting tour through the best Irish beer. The journey awaits—let the exploration commence!

See Also: Best Beer For Beer Cheese Dip (Top 11 Picks)

Best Irish beer brands 

Irish beer comes in many different styles and flavors. There are some trendy brands that many people have heard of. Let us look at the best Irish beer brands:

Scraggy Bay

Scraggy Bay is a craft beer made in Donegal, Ireland. It has a golden yellow color and a robust and refreshing taste. This beer is among the best beers that start with the letter S. Scraggy Bay is brewed to have 5.3% alcohol content, giving it a bold flavor that isn’t too heavy.  Many beer lovers enjoy Scraggy Bay because it offers something different from traditional Irish beers, with its hoppy taste and crisp finish. This beer is worth seeking out for those wanting to explore new Irish craft beers.scraggy bay

  • ABV: 5.3%
  • Calories: Approximately 160-180 calories per 12 oz (355 ml) serving

Guinness

Guinness is a dry Irish stout brewed in Dublin since 1759. It has a very dark color and a creamy head when poured correctly. The flavor of Guinness has hints of coffee, chocolate, and roasted barley notes. At 4.2% alcohol, Guinness is moderately strong but goes down smoothly. Due to its unique taste, it is one of the most popular beers in the world and is considered an iconic symbol of Irish culture.guinness beers

  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Calories: Approximately 125-150 calories per 12 oz (355 ml) serving

Rosie’s Pale Ale (McGargle’s)

Rye River Brewing Company makes Rosie’s Pale Ale. It has a nice balance of bitter citrus flavors and a smooth caramel taste. Many consider it one of Ireland’s best craft beers. The alcohol level is moderate at 4.5%, so it is enjoyable to drink. However, finding it outside of Ireland may be difficult as it is a smaller brewery. Overall, Rosie’s Pale Ale offers drinkers a tasty, famous Irish beer to seek out.mcgargles

  • ABV: Around 4-5%
  • Calories: Approximately 140-170 calories per 12 oz (355 ml) serving

Five Lamps

Five Lamps is a Dublin beer brand that began brewing in 2012. They produce an Irish beer called Five Lamps, which has some flavor but is not too high in alcohol at 4.2%. This makes it an excellent option for tasting without an intense hangover. In the summer, drinking Five Lamps as the weather warms is popular. As a newer brewery, Five Lamps represents Ireland’s growing craft beer scene, offering unique beers beyond traditional styles. Their beer is worth trying to experience modern Irish brewing.five lamps

  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Calories: Approximately 125-150 calories per 12 oz (355 ml) serving

Smithwick’s Blonde

Smithwick’s Blonde is a pale Irish ale that is light in color and flavor. It was first made in 1710 in Kilkenny, Ireland, by John Smithwick. This beer has a crisp, slightly citrusy taste that is easy to drink. It has no heavy or lingering flavor like some other Irish beers. Smithwick’s Blonde is refreshing and goes down smoothly. 

At only 4.2% alcohol, you can enjoy more than one without feeling too drunk. It is popular in Ireland because of its balance of taste and drinkability. Both visitors and locals like to order Smithwick’s Blonde when looking for a beer that is light and sessionable.smithwicks blonde

  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Calories: Approximately 125-150 calories per 12 oz (355 ml) serving

Harp Irish Lager

Harp Irish Lager is a light-colored lager beer made in Ireland. It was created in 1960 to appeal to Irish drinkers who preferred lighter beers to heavier stout beers and ales. Harp lager has a clean, crisp taste without much hoppiness or malt flavor. It goes down quickly and refreshingly. At only 3.5% alcohol, you can drink more than one without feeling too tipsy. 

Harp lager is famous for being consumed every day in Ireland. While it lacks complexity, it provides a simple, easy-to-drink beer option. Both locals and visitors order Harp for an affordable Irish beer that goes well with meals or casual social drinking sessions.harp irish lager

  • ABV: 3.5%
  • Calories: Approximately 100-120 calories per 12 oz (355 ml) serving

Boyne Brewhouse

Boyne Brewhouse is a craft brewery in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland. It has been brewing different beer styles since 2012, including Irish lager, amber ale, pale ale, IPA, and seasonal beers. Its beers are famous throughout Ireland and widely available in shops, supermarkets, and pubs nationwide. Boyne Brewhouse is known for brewing high-quality beers with distinct flavors in each style. 

They take pride in using only the finest ingredients, such as Maris Otter pale malt and European hops. Visitors can tour the brewery to learn about the brewing process and taste samples of their current beers. While some of their beers have a medium bitterness from hops, others have more malty flavors that are balanced and easy to drink.boyne brewhouse

  • ABV: Varies across different beer styles (e.g., 4-6% ABV)
  • Calories: Approximately 130 calories

McGargles/Rye River Brewing Co.

McGargles was a famous craft beer brand in Ireland that was later merged with Rye River Brewing Co. Based in Leixlip, County Kildare, Rye River Brewing Co. has been recognized for producing award-winning beers since 2012. They are known for brewing full-bodied beers with complex flavors using traditional techniques. Some of their most popular beers include McGargles Pale Ale, Dam Buster Double IPA, and Rye River IPA. 

These beers have herbal, citrus, and tropical fruit flavors from hops complemented by rich caramel malts. Rye River Brewing Co. beers have won multiple awards at the Irish Craft Beer Awards and the European Beer Star Awards. While their beers have a higher alcohol content than mainstream brands, their balanced flavor profile and drinkability make them favorites among craft beer enthusiasts nationwide. Their beers can be found on tap in craft beer pubs and in bottles at select retailers.rye river brewing co

  • ABV: Varies across different beer styles (e.g., 4-6% ABV)
  • Calories: Approximately 145 calories

Wicklow Wolf

Wicklow Wolf is a craft brewery in Wicklow, Ireland. It is known for its innovative beers and commitment to sustainability. Most of its beers are IPAs and pale ales, but it also offers sours, stouts, and non-alcoholic options. Wicklow Wolf’s beers highlight local ingredients from County Wicklow when possible. They care deeply about the environment and have solar panels in their brewery. 

They aim to reduce waste and emissions through initiatives like operating a hop farm. The brewery releases experimental small-batch beers regularly. Wicklow Wolf is popular among craft beer enthusiasts for its high quality, unique beers, and environmental values.wicklow wolf

  • ABV: Varies across different beer styles (e.g., 4-7% ABV)
  • Calories: Approximately 140 calories

O’Hara’s

O’Hara’s is a brewery in Carlow, Ireland, known for its traditional and modern Irish-style beers. It offers core beers like stouts, red ales, lagers, and pale ales crafted to highlight malt and hops. O’Hara’s is also renowned for its extensive IPA lineup, which features double, tropical, West Coast, and hazy IPA styles. O’Hara’s beers have won numerous awards. In addition to their main lineup, they release special premium beers aged in whiskey barrels. 

O’Hara executes traditional Irish styles superbly while catering to craft beer fans’ preferences. Due to its high-quality, award-winning beers in both classic and contemporary styles, it is considered one of Ireland’s top independent breweries.oharas

  • ABV: Varies across different beer styles (e.g., 4-6% ABV)
  • Calories: Approximately 135 calories

Best Irish beer in Ireland 

Guinness is the best-selling and most well-known Irish beer. It is an Irish dry stout that originated in Dublin. Guinness has been brewed at St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin since 1759. It is a very dark Irish beer with a creamy white head. The roasted barley gives it roasted coffee, chocolate, and caramel notes.

Though stout, Guinness is smooth and easy to drink. Guinness is synonymous with Ireland around the world. Within Ireland, it is considered a national treasure and a quintessential part of Irish culture. Guinness is on tap wherever you go in Ireland and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.guinness stout

Best Irish beer on tap 

Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale is a popular Irish beer that is often on tap. Its smooth, malty flavor balances hops, making it easy to drink. Smithwick’s is brewed according to a 300-year-old recipe and is one of the best-selling Irish beers worldwide. On a trip to Ireland, we’d recommend ordering a pint of Smithwick’s at the pub—it’s a classic Irish ale with a long history.smithwicks red ale

FAQs

What is a traditional Irish beer?

A traditional Irish beer is usually a dry stout or red ale. These beers are dark brown or black. They have a roasted barley flavor and are creamy when poured.

Why is Irish beer so good?

Irish beer is so good because Irish brewers have been making beer for hundreds of years. They know how to make it taste just right. Irish beer often has a smooth, creamy texture and flavors like coffee, chocolate, or caramel.

What beer is served in Dublin?

In Dublin, the most popular beer served is Guinness. It is Ireland’s most famous beer and comes from Dublin. You can find Guinness on tap in many Dublin pubs. Other beers brewed in Dublin include Harp Lager and Porterhouse Temple Lager.

How strong is Irish beer?

Most Irish beers are quite low in alcohol. Traditional stouts like Guinness and Murphy’s usually contain around 4% alcohol. Irish lagers like Harp also contain about 4% alcohol. Some craft beers may have more alcohol, at around 5%. So, Irish beers are generally quite mild and easy to drink.

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