New Beer Alert: Irish Red Ale

Irish Red Ale on table with Reuben Sandwich and Breakfast BurritoNew Irish Red Ale at Rochester

This classic Irish Red Ale features a slight caramel aroma and light toasted biscuit flavor. It’s a well-balanced easy drinking pint best enjoyed celebrating with friends. This Emerald Isle favorite also pairs well with Rochester’s returning Reuben sandwich and brand new corned beef hash burrito.


Rochester’s new Irish Red Ale leans into the traditional roots of Irish ales. Moderate measures of malt and roasted barley give Irish red ales their red hue and signature flavor. They originated in the early 1700s in Kilkenny, Ireland, though some claim St. Francis Abbey had brewed a similar ale as early as the 14th century. Daniel Sullivan’s brewery created the first official Irish ale in 1702. Business boomed, and by the late 1700s, County Kilkenny boasted a number of breweries and distilleries. Nearby farms yielded plenty of corn, wheat and barley for the burgeoning industry.

The grandaddy of Irish red ales is Smithwick’s, which traces its family tree to 1710 when John Smithwick established a short-lived brewery at St. Francis Abbey. Ireland’s turbulent history forced brewery empires to wax and wane, but Smithwick’s grandson, Edmond, revived the failed brewery in 1827. Smithwick’s name eventually became synonymous with red ales.

Coming to America

Irish red ales dominated the market overseas, but weren’t available in the states until the 1960s when Guinness acquired the brand and launched in in America. You wouldn’t hear the term “Irish red” used in Ireland, but it grew in popularity in the U.S., thanks in part to Coors. The established American brewer licensed Killian’s Irish Red in 1981, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tasting Notes

Rochester’s Irish Red Ale features a malt-forward profile, with a light caramel sweetness and a dry finish. It’s the perfect beer to enjoy before the St. Patrick’s Day parade, with friends at Happy Hour, or alongside our Reuben sandwich or other delicious sandwiches. Cheers!


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