On St. Patrick's Day, many Americans become Irish for the day, even if they have no Irish heritage. Many people also choose to drink beer, even if it's not what they regularly reach for. Often, that beer is a stout, in tribute to Ireland's most famous beer, Guinness Stout. But as good as it is, Guinness isn't the only choice. There are plenty of good, American stouts to pour in your pint glass on March 17 that come from sustainable breweries.
Here are several stouts to seek out this St. Patrick's Day.
North Coast Brewing Co. Old No. 38 Stout: This California brewery makes a "smooth, firm-bodied stout with the toasted character and coffee notes of dark malts and roasted barley." The beer is GMO-free and verified by the Non-GMO Project. The brewery uses solar energy, is committed to zero waste, and owns a working farm where it puts the waste from beer production to good use. (You can learn more about how that waste goes to good use in the video above.)
Yards Brewing Love Stout: Philadelphia's Yards Brewing's stout is rich ad well-rounded with "luscious notes of coffee and chocolate" that accent its "smooth, creamy mouth fee." The brewery uses wind power, cardboard packaging that's certified sustainable, and is committed to water conservation.
Long Trail Unearthed: This stout from a Vermont brewery is "rooted in a labyrinth of roasted malts" and "full of big notes of coffee and chocolate." The brewery is committed to sustainable brewing practices and environmental stewardship.
Alaskan Brewing Co. Imperial Oatmeal Stout: The stout from this Juneau brewery has a "smooth, creamy oatmeal taste and a combination of coffee and chocolate flavors." The brewery is committed to environmental stewardship throughout its beer making process and aims to have a zero-net negative effect upon the environment by reclaiming and reusing at least as much waste and emissions as it produces. The video above explains more about the C02 reclamation process.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. Blackout Stout: In 2003, a blackout in Cleveland left the region with no power and inspired this local brewery to create a stout that's as "bold and dark as a power-less metropolis" that's rich and "kindled with black malt and roasted barley, and illuminated by flickers of bitter hops." The brewery has solar panels to help offset its CO2 emissions, collaborates with a local farm for produce used in the brewpub and hops used in some of its beers, and is committed to good water stewardship.
Brewery Vivant Love Shadow: Love Shadow is a Belgian-inspired bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout that's a "full bodied behemoth with notes of chocolate, vanilla, and oak char." In 2012, the brewery became the first LEED certified production brewery in the United States. The brewery follows a host of other sustainability initiatives including using aluminum cans because they are infinitely recyclable. You can hear employees of the brewery talk about sustainability in the video above.
If you happen to have brought home some stout to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and have a bottle or can leftover after the holiday, consider using it to make easy, delicious Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches. The recipe calls for a bottle of beer, and while any beer works, the au jus is best when it's made with a rich stout.
Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was originally published in March 2010.