There are a couple of holidays that beer drinkers don't miss. In the fall there's Oktoberfest, which really doesn't have a specific day. Rather, it's weeks of what seems like an endless celebration. But it's St. Patrick's Day, March 17, that truly says Beer Here!
Okay, I know what you're thinking. Guinness, right? Actually, there is another pub favorite that shouldn't be overlooked, Irish red. A local example comes from Gray's Brewing of Janesville, which this time of year makes an Irish-style ale that pays tribute to company founder Joshua Gray, an Irish immigrant who started his brewery in 1856. (The brewery is now run by Fred Gray, the fifth generation of brewers.) With St. Paddy's Day just a couple of weeks away, you'd better stock up on this one now.
(I am using a one to four bottle opener scale: four is a great beer, distinctive, you'll have this over others; three is a beer you enjoy, reliable, close to its described style; two is problematic, lacks distinction, but worth having again; one is a beer that isn't true to its style, you would not recommend it to a friend.)
The Consensus: B+ (very good) from Beer Advocate and a 45 from