St. Patrick's Day in the U.S. is historically a celebration that includes wearing t-shirts with suggestive sexual innuendos, indulging in sloppy drunkenness and utter debauchery, and ending the festivities with a serious beast of a hangover. Throw in some solid St. Patrick's Day beer and cheese pairings for good measure, and it's a great day. Because St. Patrick's Day is always a party, and no party is complete without these two essential food and drink items.
In all seriousness, St. Patrick's Day is a holiday that should never be underestimated as "just another day," because it isn't at all. Behind the modern, American version of Ireland's most cherished day is a rich Irish history of faith, feasting, fables, and folktales. So if you're looking to honor Ireland's fascinating history and rad culture with a party that doesn't end in vomit spewed and punches thrown, there is a way to do it. You CAN drink Guinness without drinking all the Guinness — I promise it can be done. You just need the right friends and the right food. I'll leave you to the selection of party attendees because I don't know you or your crew. But here are all the best, most beloved cheeses you can eat and the best beer pairings to go with them, based on this handy infographic. Keep it green, and keep it classy.
Happy St. Patrick's Day, y'all!
1. Stout + Gouda
Is there such a thing as a flavor too rich? OK, yes there is. But that doesn't mean you need to steer clear. In fact, when indulging in a full-bodied stout beer paired with a textured gouda, your stomach will say, "Take it easy," while also saying, "More pleaseeeeee."
Beer suggestion: Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
2. Stout + Blue Cheese
Blue cheese is a harsh flavor, and you either hate it or love it. It's kind of like the adorable shenanigans of Mindy Lahiri. She's either your fictional best friend, or you're confused by how a successful doctor could have so much personal chaos in her life. Oh, and if you're the latter, you're basically a war criminal because HOW CAN YOU NOT ABSOLUTELY ADORE MINDY LAHIRI?
Anyway, the strong flavor of blue cheese can only be balanced by the dark smoothness that is a stout beer. Stout beers are often subtly flavored to resemble a dessert like oatmeal, chocolate, or better yet, peanut butter.
Beer suggestion: Young's Double Chocolate Stout
3. Brown Ale + Cheddar
Cheddar is a sharp flavor, no matter how mild, and the best way to calm its natural flavor cray is to pair it with a nutty brown ale. It's a non-stop thrill ride of a flavor power couple, and you will be entertained by each sip and bite.
Beer suggestion: Newcastle Brown Ale
4. Belgian Ale + Brie
Brie is soft with a tough exterior. It's creamy and packed with flavor, but also subtle and versatile. Because it's such a balanced cheese on its own, the only way to match it is with a beer of the same flavor profile. These two are strong independent consumables, but when put together, they soar.
Beer suggestion: Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue)
5. Pilsner + Havarti
Havarti is all buttery goodness with a bite like swiss. It's sweet, but a little bit sour (not in an expired way), and it desperately needs a mellow flavor to keep it from bouncing between its natural extremes. Most pilsners are malty, slightly spiced, and nice and zen. They're also crisp, and completely refreshing.
Beer suggestion: Samuel Adams Noble Pils
6. Guinness + Everything
Finally, we come to the easiest and yummiest pairing of all: Guinness + anything and everything = happiness. Because Guinness is smooth, textured, and tastes like grownup coffee. And because it's the perfect beverage for St. Patrick's Day, and every other day of the year, you can pair it with anything edible and you will enjoy it. Promise.
Beer suggestion: Guinness... duh.