Murphy's Irish Red
Yet another of the dry, malty, caramel-flavored Irish red ales, so named for the reddish hue that comes from adding just the right amount of roasted barley.
This one also has some history to it, going back to the early days of Lady's Well Brewery in 1856 when it was brewed as Lady's Well Ale. The modern incarnation has a bit less romance to it after being reintroduced by Heineken in 1983 as export bait for beer-drinking countries Heineken didn't think would take to stout.
Since then, however, Murphy's and Smithwick's have spawned a host of U.S. doppelgangers that have little to no Irish roots, but are giving the old standbys a run for their money. Boston Beer (SAM) makes a serviceable version with its Samuel Adams Irish Red, but kicks the ABV up to 5.8% for the American craft beer masses. Some of the best Irish Reds in the U.S., however, come from the dead center of the country. Kansas City, Mo.-based Boulevard Brewing's Irish Ale (5.8% ABV), Cleveland's Great Lakes Brewing's Conway's Irish Ale (a whopping 6.5% ABV) and the smooth caramel and peat of the Brian Boru Old Irish Red (5.5% ABV) from Three Floyd's Brewing in Munster, Ind., started with the same traditional red ale foundation but give the formula a decidedly American spin.
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