Forget Guinness — here’s Murphy’s
It’s a shame that people think they only have two beer choices on St. Patrick’s Day — light beer with green food coloring or a Guinness. While Guinness is the de facto Irish beer, two others are also good and just as authentic. I get defensive on the subject because I consider Murphy’s Stout to be one of the best beers in the world.
It’s always played second fiddle to Guinness. The latter is brewed in Dublin, Ireland’s biggest city and cultural center, whereas Murphy’s is brewed in Cork, the second largest city, at the bottom of the isle much farther south than many tourists go. I was fortunate enough to visit the city (more like big town) where the locals are fiercely loyal to the town’s two beers, Murphy’s and Beamish.
Like Guinness, they’re both stouts. Beamish is the cheaper of the two but too harsh for a creamy stout. It’s not a bad beer but is my least favorite of the big three Irish stouts. Murphy’s is a smoother form of Guinness that has more distinct flavors. In Murphy’s you clearly get coffee flavors and a slight white-chocolate flavor along with a foam head that’s as thick if not thicker than Guinness’.
And when I say Murphy’s I mean “Murphy’s Irish stout” not “Murphy’s Irish red,” which isn’t even available on draft at most bars in Cork. I’ve only had one Murphy’s Irish red and didn’t consider it nearly as good as the stout.
The biggest problem with Murphy’s Irish Stout is finding it in town. Only three places I know for sure stock it: Harling’s Upstairs (which also carries Murphy’s Irish red), Charlie Hooper’s in Brookside and the Yard House at the Legends. Calling around, I was surprised to find that even many Irish bars don’t stock it.
Be on the on the lookout for it tomorrow and if you see it give it a try.