Luck of the Irish

Above: Tap & Six co-owner Holli Hutson with her dad, Ernest Hutson, at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah.

By Ethan Craig

Growing up here in Roswell, St. Patrick’s Day was never much of a big deal for me. Sure, we had fun wearing green for a day and making leprechaun jokes, but the celebration moved on pretty quickly. For Holli, my business partner at Tap & Six, St. Paddy’s Day is quite a different story. She was born and raised in Savannah where there is a higher level of appreciation for celebrating the Irish and their patron saint.

Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day revelry rivals New York City and is one of only two places in the United States that celebrates March 17 as a legal holiday, Suffolk County, Massachusetts being the other. Hundreds of thousands of people gather and celebrate the annual parade. Holli’s dad, family, and friends gather on the evening before the parade and strategically position themselves along the parade route waiting until the police give the okay. With that signal, there is a mad rush to claim a space on one of Savannah’s many squares as they stake-out their territory for a party that will include hundreds of people coming and going throughout the day. The celebration includes a massive spread of food, Bloody Marys, green Krispy Kreme donuts, and a wide selection of beer.

St. Patrick’s Day is a reminder of the many Irish-style craft beers that are available this time of year. For those of us who are looking to celebrate closer to home, I’ve got a few suggestions that will allow you to support your local brewer as well as enjoy the luck of the Irish.

Irish Red I Jedeye from Cherry Street Brewing is a dark, ruby red Irish red ale with a light body and slight malty, crisp finish.

Nitro Dry Irish Stout from Breckenridge Brewery is jet black and true to style. The malt and an English ale yeast bring complexity to an otherwise simple, yet traditional beer.

Drafty Kilt from Monday Night Brewing is a roasty Scotch ale (not Irish, but pretty close) with a hint of smoke. Here’s what Monday Night has to say about it… “Full-bodied, but not overpowering. Smokey, but not in a creepy bar kind of way. Sweet, but not obnoxiously so. Sound like your ideal mother-in-law? Fair enough, but it also is a pretty dead-on description of our Scotch Ale.”

And of course, there’s always a Guinness Stout to be had.

Wherever you are on the 17th:

May the luck of the Irish 
lead to happiest heights 
and the highway you travel 
be lined with green lights.

We’ll toast to that! ❍

Ethan Craig is Craft Beer Curator at Tap & Six Craft Beer House, a craft beer market and bar in Historic Roswell at 23 Oak Street. Tap & Six.