Best Irish Beer

Abbey Miller
Published on
by Abbey Miller

In the world of beer, Irish brews have earned a legendary reputation for their malty notes and unique brewing process. These beers have blessed Saint Patrick’s Day and have been loyal companions to the rest of Irish tradition. Let’s explore the best Irish beers of all time, from the classic red ale to the more experimental brews.

Best Irish Beer

15 Best Irish Beers

  • Guinness Draught
  • Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
  • Smithwick’s Red Ale
  • Murphy’s Irish Stout
  • O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
  • McGargles Rosie’s Pale Ale
  • Guinness Harp Lager
  • Sullivan’s Maltings Red Ale
  • Wicklow Wolf Elevation Pale Ale
  • Porterhouse Oyster Stout
  • Beamish Irish Stout
  • Mescan Brewery Westport Blond
  • Lough Gill Lager
  • Kinnegar Scraggy Bay Beer
  • Guinness Smooth Ale

1. Guinness Draught

Guinness Draught

Alcohol content: 4.2% ABV, Calories: 125

Stepping out from the iconic James Gate Brewery in Emerald Isle, the Guinness Draught sets itself apart in the Irish beer world with its unique taste. Brewed from a Guinness-patented nitrogen-infused draught system, this original Irish stout comes with a rich and creamy head to die for.

This roasted barley beer has a smooth texture and strikes a nice bittersweet taste. The Guinness ale has notes of coffee, chocolate, and toasted malt, giving it a dark ruby color. Although that sounds intimidating, this Irish beer is surprisingly light, with just 4.2% ABV.

2. Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale

Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale

Alcohol content: 4.3% ABV, Calories: 163

Next up on our list of the best Irish beers is the Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. Originating from the historical Francis Abbey brewery, this smooth drink has been a part of Paddy’s Day since the 14th century, perfecting the Irish craft for more than six centuries.

This beer was originally brewed in Smithwick’s Brewery. Today, it carries a unique and creamy texture that sets it apart from the typical Irish stout. The beer’s rich taste profile also offers a hoppy bitterness that pairs well with its backdrop of roasted malts. Each sip is an experience of its own.

3. Smithwick’s Red Ale

Smithwick’s Red Ale

Alcohol content: 4.5% ABV, Calories: 150

Those of you who want a bit of history with craft beers are going to love the 300-year legacy that Smithwick’s red ales carry. This specific Irish craft has a gorgeous ruby-red hue, which makes it among the most popular beers in the world. 

These craft beers are brewed with an exquisite blend of mild hops, fine barley, and ripe fruits. That’s why they boast a refreshing balance of sweet and bitter. The Irish red ale also has an airy white head that lasts till the last sip, so you can fully enjoy its richness.

4. Murphy’s Irish Stout

Murphy’s Irish Stout

Alcohol content: 4% ABV, Calories: 150

Created in an independent brewery in County Cork, this Irish ale relies on traditional brewing methods. The brewery uses well-roasted, nearly black malt to create the distinctive taste Murphy’s is famous for.     

Like the Guinness classic lager, this beer boasts a deep spectrum of dark brown to black color. Try it, and enjoy its creamy mouthfeel with hints of light toffee and chocolate. Expect a party for your taste buds.

5. O’Hara’s Irish Wheat

O’Hara’s Irish Wheat

Alcohol content: 4.3% ABV, Calories: 145

O’Hara’s Irish ale is the Emerald Isle’s pride and glory, brought to you by the Carlow Brewing Company. Reigning as one of the most famous Irish stouts, O’Hara brews unfiltered ale, ensuring the beer retains most of its original characteristics.

Even though O’Hara employs different beer styles, they use only the finest barley and wheat malt for their Irish wheat. This combination offers a subtle taste profile as well as a distinctive mix of clove and banana aromas.

6. McGargles Rosie’s Pale Ale

McGargles Rosie’s Pale Ale

Alcohol content: 4.5% ABV, Calories: 144

Rosie’s pale ale is another drink that pays tribute to Ireland’s rich brewing history. Born in the heart of County Kildare, this craft beer offers a crisp citrus punch balanced with a smooth caramel finish.

This light Irish ale has a soft malt that pushes through the grapefruit, orange, and pine notes. It also features notes of a biscuit, bread, and toasted malts, making it the perfect bonfire drink for your outdoor parties.

7. Guinness Harp Lager

Guinness Harp Lager

Alcohol content: 5% ABV, Calories: 205

Originating from the Great Northern Brewery in Northern Ireland, the Guinness Harp Lager is a fan-favorite for its crisp taste. Guinness creates the beer’s distinct flavor by blending only the finest malted barley and hops, a true testament to the finest Irish craft.

The Guinness craft beer was designed to compete with the top beers from Europe in the 60s, and it has undeniably made its mark. This fantastic Irish ale holds a slightly larger alcohol volume, so it’s ideal for those who want to celebrate Paddy’s Day in style.

8. Sullivan’s Maltings Red Ale

Sullivan’s Maltings Red Ale

Alcohol content: 5% ABV, Calories: 190

Sullivan’s Maltings red ale is one of the finest beers to come out of Ireland. Brewed by the Sullivan’s Brewing Company, this Irish red has a unique flavor and a rich malt profile, featuring caramel sweetness and a hoppy finish.

Sullivan’s beers have a legacy of over two centuries, so each drop of this stout is a true manifestation of Irish brewing heritage. 

9. Wicklow Wolf Elevation Pale Ale

Wicklow Wolf Elevation Pale Ale

Alcohol content: 4.8% ABV, Calories: 170

No conversation about Irish stouts is complete without the Wicklow Wolf pale ale. Straight from the heart of Ireland, this exceptional Irish beer is the creation of Wicklow Wolf, an Irish lager brewery launched in 2014.

To elevate the brewing scene in Ireland, Wicklow Wolf created a complex taste profile that not many Irish beer brands can match. Many cider fans favor the Elevation beer, as it hits the palate with a punch of tropical fruit notes, caramel, and hops.

10. Porterhouse Oyster Stout

Porterhouse Oyster Stout

Alcohol content: 4.6% ABV, Calories: 190

This rich, full-flavored brew hails from the Porterhouse brewing company – every brew lover’s paradise. Like Murphy’s, this stout uses a traditional method of brewing, employing locally sourced ingredients for a genuine Irish finish.

Porterhouse’s amber ale is made of roasted malt and chocolate with hints of coffee. However, despite its name, the beer doesn’t taste like oysters! The oysters are added during the brewing, contributing to the drink’s memorable taste.

11. Beamish Irish Stout

Alcohol content: 4.3% ABV, Calories: 125

If you want an authentic Irish experience in a pint, look no further than the Beamish Irish stout. This beer, a pride and joy of Cork City, has been going strong since 1792. It’s one of Ireland’s oldest stouts, known for its rich, robust flavor and creamy beige head.

What sets it apart from other Irish beer brands is that it boasts a perfect blend of barley and coffee. And, if that doesn’t convince you, its lovely hint of dark chocolate might. Can you imagine that in a beer? It’s delicious, and it delivers an experience like no other.

12. Mescan Brewery Westport Blond

Mescan Brewery Westport Blond

Alcohol content: 4.8% ABV, Calories: 180

Even though Mescan isn’t among the most popular beers out there, its Westport Blond is an absolute must-try. The brewery is named after a 7th-century monk who was a close friend of St. Patrick.

The Westport Blond beer distinguishes itself with its silky texture, golden color, and subtle bitterness – a trio that all beer lovers adore. Similar to the Guinness Irish lager, these beers offer a satisfying, long-lasting finish. Granted, they may leave you thirstier than you were to begin with!

13. Lough Gill Lager

Lough Gill Lager

Alcohol content: 4.2% ABV, Calories: 165

Established in 2016, the Lough Gill brewery revived an age-old tradition, becoming the first brewery in Sligo in over a century. Aiming to create “beers with character,” the Lough Gill brewery offers smooth, crisp lagers that run deep with flavor.

This Irish lager is brewed with German lager malt that undergoes a slow and cold fermentation process to get its refreshing finish. Although this Irish beer is more on the light side, it still deserves our utmost respect.

14. Kinnegar Scraggy Bay Beer

Kinnegar Scraggy Bay Beer

Alcohol content: 5.3% ABV, Calories: 215

Very few Irish beer brands capture the essence of Ireland’s Irish beers like Kinnegar Brewing Company. The name “Scraggy Bay” refers to a hideaway in County Donegal where the pale ale is brewed, so these Irish beers are closely tied to their distinct locality.

The brewery doesn’t rush the fermentation. Each beer is conditioned properly, boasting a hop–forward flavor that’s not too bitter. This pale ale also has hints of pineapple and passionfruit, so there’s a charming freshness packed with each bottle.

15. Guinness Smooth Ale

Guinness Smooth Ale

Alcohol content: 4.5% ABV, Calories: 238

There’s a reason why Guinness keeps showing up in this list, and it’s all due to their expert craftsmanship of Irish beers. Their Smooth Ale is another testament to their mastery, characterized by its rich and creamy texture.

This beer pours a pitch-black hue, topped with a luscious, thick white head. Try it to enjoy a sweet, malty aroma with hints of chocolate and coffee. Those who tried this beer said it felt like a smooth journey through the Irish countryside, but it’s up to you to try it.


Before signing off, let’s raise our glasses to the rich heritage of Ireland’s finest brews! From the world-renowned Guinness stout to uniquely crafted artisan beers like those from O’Hara’s, these beers continue to set the bar high for us ale lovers.

Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or just keen on trying new flavors, these beers offer diverse experiences reflecting the heart of Irish brewing tradition. The secret to perfectly crafted beer lies in their meticulous brewing procedure. Here’s to phenomenal beer!

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Abbey Miller
Abbey Miller
Abbey grew up in a family with an appreciation for great beers, fine wines, and nuanced Scotch whiskeys. It's no surprise that she studied Hospitality Management and is now a professional working on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
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