The Best Irish Dry Stouts

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We're all supposed to be sipping a Guinness when the clock strikes Saint Paddy's Day, but it's worth breaking from tradition to try some American interpretations of the Irish dry stout. The best of the style look inky black and have a surprisingly light body and dry finish. They're brewed with some amount of roasted unmalted barley, which creates the dryness. Don't expect a beer with a wallop of hops or the character of a fudgey brownie.

To note: Guinness sets a high bar for the style, with its pitch-black color, creamy texture, and roasty maltiness. Plus, it only has an ABV of 6 percent, which means you can throw back a few without the effects of a boozier brew and, besides, it means its low in calories. (Low alcohol is a common characteristic of a good dry stout.)

American brewers took note and came up with clever deviations. The North Coast Old #38 Stout is one example, with strong notes of coffee and chocolate with just a hint of bitterness. The 4.9-percent ABV Boulevard Brewing Dry Stout is lightly roasty, dry, and smooth, and is usually served on tap with nitrogen, for added creaminess. Or try the Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout, which boasts a super light body plus earthy notes and a just a hint of smoky coffee.

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