As is tradition around here we try to make a dry Irish stout when good ole St. Patricks Day comes around. For ours we went light on the roasted malts and really dialed in our nitrogenation process to make a fantastic, highly pintable beer. The use of unmalted flaked barley adds a creamy finish to the beer that we’re loving. Smooth and silky with slight notes of chocolate, this is about as close to Guinness as we’re going to get.
Alcohol by Volume: 4.5%
Original Gravity: 11.5
Final Gravity: 3.1
Malt: Pale malt, Roasted Barley, Flaked Barley
Yeast: Alibi Ale yeast
Water: Pure Lake Tahoe Water
THE HISTORY OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY
While most of us know that Saint Patrick was indeed an Irish Bishop, most are unaware that he was actually born in Roman Britain in the fourth century. Most of his life is unknown, but what is known is that when he was 16, he was kidnapped and taken as a slave by Irish raiders to Gaelic Ireland, where he worked as a shepherd for six years. His writings indicate that during this time he heard a voice from God who told him to flee back home. When he arrived back in Britain, he became a devout priest. He then heard another voice, telling him to go back to Ireland to evangelize and convert the pagan Irish to Christianity.
Since he was familiar with Irish culture, he decided to take a different route, incorporating Irish traditions into his Christian lessons. For example, he placed the sun, being a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create the Celtic Cross, a symbol which felt more familiar for the Irish. And though we all know him not as Saint Patrick, he actually was not declared a saint because there was no formal canonization for the Catholic church during his era. So how did his name create the holiday it is today?
Since 1631, March 17 has been a day of dignity in Ireland, where you would attend church in the morning and enjoy a favorable feast in the evening. There were no parades, no heavy drinking, nobody wearing green (since blue was actually the national color at that point).
As for America, we began to see celebrations in the 17th and 18th century, specifically from Irish immigrants who wanted to celebrate their culture and feel close to home. The first known St. Patrick’s Day parade was in St. Augustine, FL in 1601! After Ireland’s massive potato crop failure in 1845, many Irish Catholics made a home in the states. They clung to their Irish traditions and happily took to the streets in parades to celebrate. And though ham and cabbage is actually a popular dish in Ireland, corned beef was much more affordable for these impoverished immigrants at this time and has made its mark as the classic St. Patrick’s Day dish.
Over all these years, March 17 was still a day of mourning in Ireland and considered a holy day. Pubs were closed, no drinking was allowed. It wasn’t until the late 1900’s when they began to see the traditions Irish America had developed. Over time they have adopted some of these celebrations, like eating corned beef and cabbage or marching the streets in a parade. The one thing you most likely won’t see? Green beer.
Photo Credit: Britannica