Once again, this week, St. Patrick’s Day is upon us.
In Ireland, it’s a time spent with family, sharing good food, good drink and, more importantly, good conversation.
In America, however, some view it as a way to get in touch with their Irish heritage, or to pretend they have some.
Others see it as a day to reflect on the saint himself and the effect he had on Ireland.
But perhaps the largest — and definitely the most visible — group of people see it as a day to start drinking as early as possible and keep going for as long as their friends can keep them propped up on the bar.
While I’ve never been one to encourage that sort of behavior, the fact that St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday means merriment will be the order of the day.
With that in mind, I have some recommendations on where to enjoy — or avoid, depending on how you want to celebrate the day — holiday festivities.
Shenanigans, at 3133 Gaul St., is celebrating with specials on Guinness, Jameson shots and car bombs. There will also be a $25 open bar from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Also, if you don’t get enough celebrating on St. Patrick’s Day, return the following Saturday for part two of the celebration with Irish music, dancing, a band and Irish food.
For the craft beer drinker, the tavern does carry Kenzinger and Brawler.
The Port Richmond Pour House, at 2253 E. Clearfield St., will also have some specials, but with a craft beer spin.
Besides green Jell-o shots and Irish whisky specials, they will be serving Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout and Great Lakes Irish Red.
Yet sometimes the revelry can get to be too much, and if you’d like to find a quiet place to celebrate, or even to avoid the whole holiday-drinking thing entirely, try Byrne’s Tavern at 3301 Richmond St.
They won’t have any drink specials, but they will be serving potato soup all weekend, as well as ham and cabbage on Saturday. There will be no live music, but there will be a friendly atmosphere and good food.
The Green Rock Tavern, at 2546 E. Lehigh St., is also trying to keep it quiet. The food and drink will be as solid as always, and they plan to lock the doors at midnight to keep any late-night partiers from stumbling in.
Finally, if you just want to drink Irish-style beer and be left alone (at least by people in green clothing), both Johnny Brenda’s, at 1201 Frankford Ave., and Standard Tap at 901 N. 2nd St. are likely to have beers such as Victory Donnybrook Stout or Sly Fox Seamus’ Irish Red on tap without any fanfare.
Now, what would be a great beer suggestion for the holiday?
Well, it’s often tough to find at a bar, but a great beer for St. Patty’s Day is Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.
If you think you know Guinness, this beer will surprise you.
Clocking in at 7.5 percent ABV, it is nearly as strong as a craft imperial stout.
It has a much fuller chocolate flavor than traditional Guinness Draft, and less of the bitter coffee taste.
It also has a hint of sourness.
It is available only in 11.2-oz bottles and, as of this point, I have yet to see it stocked by a local bar.
I’m hoping a bar owner will step up, though, since it’s a great beer and perfect for the season.
If you do find it, make sure you try it poured into a glass to really get the full taste and aroma.
Also, shoot me an e-mail and I will join you for a bottle.
Finally, if you’d rather stay home this St. Patrick’s Day and perhaps try your hand at making your own beer, you are in luck this holiday.
Barry’s Homebrew and Greensgrow Farms have teamed up for a homebrew workshop. It will be held at Greensgrow, 2501 E. Cumberland St., from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 17.
Tim Patton is a Fishtown resident, beer aficionado and brewer. His column is dedicated to showcasing everything that is great about enjoying beer in the riverwards. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org