Will I have a Guinness this week? Of course. But there are (shockingly) other Irish brews worth a sip or two as well. One, brewed this side of the pond, is the Cottonwood Irish Style Red Ale. Talk about an identity crisis, this one was brewed by Carolina Beer Company in Pennsylvania and likens itself to an Irish brew!

To no leprechaun’s surprise, this ale pours red and has thin bubbles rushing to the top, like college kids to green beer. It smells rich sweet and spicy, a mix of malts and caramel as I breathe it in, but that seems to be the high point. The nose is a tad misleading, as it goes down pretty thin and yet ends not refreshing, but like I’ve just chomped on a thick hunk of bark. The earthiness lacks the impact of a nice blend of hops, and ends rather heavy. There is a redeeming quality, an unnamed an mysterious citrus bit, but it is both too brief and too distant to leave a lasting impression. There is also a constant dirty smell and taste, its not overwhelming or out of control, but present enough to turn me off to drinking another.

Their website describes it has having ‘low to medium’ hop flavor and ‘low to medium’ roasted candy-like caramel sweetness. I feel like that seems pretty accurate and their lack of attempt to be bold in either direction, gives them a low to medium grade.

While you may not be as ready as the Irish for pint after pint of Guinness this week, find something else besides this red ale to be your substitute drink of choice.

ABV: 4.5%

Grade: C