Cheers to Saint Paddy’s Day

green-beerYou should see more green around town over the next few days. It’s not just because spring is starting to arrive, we hope. It’s because St. Patrick’s Day is Tuesday, March 17.

If you’re hosting or attending Saint Paddy’s Day parties this weekend – or on the day of the official holiday – check out our recommendations for authentic Irish beers to add to your festivities.

One of the most popular Irish-American dishes is corned beef and cabbage. After becoming a staple for New York City’s immigrant Irish community in the late 19th century, corned beef and cabbage found fans across the country.


Smithwick’s Irish Ale is the best beer pairing for this meal. The malts in the ale complement the intensity of the salt-cured beef. It truly doesn’t get any more authentic than Smithwick’s, which was first brewed in 1710 in an ancient monastery in Kilkenny, Ireland.

Looking for something a little out of the ordinary to serve at your Irish-inspired party? We’d recommend trying a beer cocktail called a Half and Half. It’s very simple to make.

First, fill a glass halfway with Harp Lager, which is brewed using pure water from the Cooley Mountains in Ireland. It has a slight buttery aroma.

Next, place a spoon over the top of the pint glass. Pour Guinness over the back of the spoon into the glass. Using a spoon will help fill the glass with Guinness, while letting the second beer sit on top of the Harp. The two beers remain separate like oil and water, creating a classic Half and Half cocktail.

Of course, Guinness is a class Irish ale that was first brewed in 1759 in Dublin.

You may have heard of a similar cocktail called a Black and Tan. To make this combination, simply use Bass Pale Ale in place of the Harp, still pouring the Guinness on top.

These fun beer cocktails complement a truly authentic and beloved Irish dish: Shepherd’s Pie. The light and dark beers blend with all the hearty ingredients in Shepherd’s Pie, from creamy mashed potatoes to herbed vegetables to rich beef or lamb.

Finally, we know serving green beer is always a festive way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and we have a few tips to help you achieve the perfect hue.

Start with a light lager, such as Guinness Blonde, which is a great pale ale option for those who want an authentic Irish choice. Of course, you can always use other light beers, such as Miller Lite.

Add a few drops of green food coloring. We recommend about three drops per 12 ounces, depending on how dark you prefer the green hue. You may have to stir the beer just a bit to distribute the color.

We also add green food coloring to some of the kegs in the Cherokee Distributing Company warehouse. Speaking of which, here are a few places around town to find and enjoy Cherokee products at St. Patrick’s Day gatherings if you’re not hosting your own:

  • Cutthroat Shamrock will perform a free concert on Market Square on Saturday, March 14: Market Square.
  • Irish Times in Turkey Creek will host its annual St. Patrick’s Day party March 17. More information: Irish Times.
  • Irish Pub & Sports Grill in Maryville also is hosting a party on St. Patrick’s Day this Tuesday: Irish Pub & Sports Grill.
  • The Old City in downtown Knoxville is throwing a St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl featuring 11 local bars and restaurants. The party takes place March 17 and costs $10: Old City Pub Crawl.


To see our beer tips demonstrated, check out this interview from March 12 on WVLT Channel 8.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Drink responsibly and enjoy.