When you hear the term “dry Irish stout,” odds are that an iconic pint of Guinness immediately comes to mind. And for good reason. On St. Patrick’s Day alone, more than 13 million pints of Guinness are enjoyed around the world. But there are plenty of other options out there within this dark, roasty style that often has a creamy character.
We asked brewers to weigh in on their favorite dry Irish stouts besides the classic go-to of Guinness. For some, it was a challenge and for some, impossible. Read on for all their toasty, roasty recommendations.
The Best Dry Irish Stouts, According to Brewers
- North Coast Brewery
- 4 Pines Brewing Company
- Carlow Brewing Company
- Societe Brewing Company
- Whitefield Brewery
- Wasatch Irish Stout
- Third Street Aleworks
“My favorite dry Irish stout is Old No. 38 Stout from North Coast Brewery. It has a mouthfeel that isn’t powdery on the tongue like many dry stouts I’ve tried, which makes it absurdly sessionable.” —Ted Palmer, brewer, Lefthand Brewing, Longmont, Colo.
“When I was living in Sydney, Australia, 4 Pines Beer had a brewpub in Manly Beach where we lived. They had a dry Irish stout on nitro that was delicious — an extremely flavorful beer that was perfect after a day of surfing. Very sessionable with heavy notes of coffee and chocolate, kind of like drinking a cold brew coffee. This beer is now also known as ‘Space Beer’ as it was developed to drink in space.” —Mark LaPierre, general manager of brewery operations, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, Fla.
“I can never turn down a pint of Beamish. It’s the often forgotten about gem in the Irish history of brewing. Severely underrated, but those in the know never fail to preach the gospel of the Beamish. A true pintman’s pint of plain. It remained hidden while other, more popular brands of stout have had their recipes tweaked and prodded over the years. Beamish was relatively untouched and stayed the wee cracker that it still is today. If I’m gonna bend the rules, though, I’d have to say Cooper’s or Nail’s stout from back home in Perth, Australia. I cut my teeth drinking 750-milliliter bottles of these at house parties, purely because nobody else would be tempted to pinch your beer on you. God forbid beer taste anything other than watered down piss. The 6 percent ABV was also a deciding factor in my selection. Fond, fond memories. This put oatmeal stout as one of my favorite styles ever and has had me tinkering with recipes for over a decade now.” —Joshua Hampson, head brewer, Rascal’s Brewing, Dublin, Ireland
“I’m a huge fan of O’Hara’s Irish Stout. It has the creamy and smooth profile you’d expect of the style, and I think the coffee flavors in the finish hit just the right richness for my palate.” —Jason Slingsy, brewer, FlyteCo Brewing, Denver
“My favorite dry stout I’ve ever had was ‘The Pugilist’ from Societe Brewing Company. I’m not sure if they even produce it anymore, but I always think back to memories of it for inspiration when I brew similar styles. I remember enjoying a pint or two back in 2014, as it was the best local alternative to Guinness in my opinion. It was perfectly dry, nutty, roasty, and chocolaty. So if anyone from Societe is reading this, please bring The Pugilist back and send some to KC!” —Greg Garrity, innovation brewer, Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City, Mo.
“Unfortunately, my favorite Irish stout of all time is Guinness, whether it be nitrogenated or the extra stout series. Haven’t consumed many from other breweries that really had me at ‘wow.’ There’s just something about how they’re able to make such a roasty beer be so drinkable that is pretty hard to replicate. I also spent three months abroad in college in Ireland and consumed way too many, which may or may not have swayed my perception for life.” —Evan Beggs, head brewer, WestFax Brewing Co., Lakewood, Colo.
“That’s an easy one. My favorite Irish Stout is brewed by Cuilan Loughnane from White Gypsy Brewery (changed name to Whitefield Brewery) in Ireland. White Gypsy has a much better backstory but that is for another time, perhaps over a pint. The beer is called — wait for it — Whitefield Irish Stout. It’s 7.5 percent ABV, rich, roasty, and black as night. If you’re lucky, and I have been, you’ll get a taste of Cuilan’s barrel-aged Irish stout, available only at his brewery. Cuilan grows his own malt and hops on his farm and brews everything onsite. It’s truly farm to glass. Really cool.” —Shannon Carter, founder, Shannon Brewing Co. Keller, Texas
“I’ve been racking my brain for a non-Guinness option, and it’s been a challenge to think of one that I prefer over this world-standard Irish stout. It’s really not a style I seek out very often, beyond the occasional Guinness. But, if it’s helpful, I do have a second favorite Irish stout that is no longer in production: Wasatch Irish Stout. I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the late ‘90s and studied at the University of Utah for the first two years of my bachelor’s degree program. While there, this beer was a regular purchase for me. The style fit perfectly into Utah’s unnecessarily restrictive alcohol limits for beer, which at that time was 4.0 percent ABV. It was pleasantly roasty and chocolaty, with a dry, lingering tannic mouthfeel that was robust enough to fit the style yet approachable enough to leave me wanting more. It was carbonated, which isn’t to style, but at that time, can widgets weren’t as ubiquitous as they are now among American craft brewers. I’m bummed that it’s no longer brewed, but maybe the good folks at Wasatch will bring it back?” —Chris McCombs, head brewer, CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing, Fort Collins, Colo.
“I love Irish dry stout, and though the easy choice is Guinness (which I love), luckily I don’t have to go far to get one of my favorites, which is Blarney Sisters Irish Dry Stout from another Sonoma County brewery, Third Street Aleworks. To me, one of the cornerstones of this style is how soft it is on the palate and Tyler Laverty, the brewmaster at Third Street, does such an amazing job at making this happen with Blarney Sisters. And if you don’t believe me, just ask the judges from not only the 2022 Great American Beer Festival but also the 2022 World Beer Cup. At both these competitions, Blarney Sisters won the gold medal in the dry stout category. All in, I believe it is the most winningest stout at both the GABF and WBC. In short, it is such an easy-drinking, tasty beer!” —Vinnie Cilurzo, co-owner and brewmaster, Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, Calif.