I love St. Patrick's Day in this town. So much so that last year I turned down a friend's invitation to go to Chicago, where a river running through the city is dyed green. We have our own dirty river, I thought to myself.
The real reason I refuse to leave Louisville is because the annual St. Patty's Day parade that travels down Baxter Avenue brings out the hordes of (drunken) revelers. The packed bars could rival those in most cities. I've downed shamrock-decorated bottles of Bud Light with men in kilts at O'Shea's (956 Baxter Ave.), drank green-dyed draft beer — who needs a river? — at Molly Malone's (933 Baxter Ave.). This year I'm going to check out the Irish Rover (2319 Frankfort Ave.), just up the street from my Crescent Hill house. And no matter where you go, I'm betting at some point during the day you'll hear a live bagpipe. (Yes, it's OK if the bagpipe makes you cry like a baby.)
Now, I like Guinness as much as the next person, but this year let's celebrate with something really special. John Johnson, who owns the Wine Rack (2632 Frankfort Ave.), suggests Conway's Irish Ale by Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Co. (My wife, who's from Cleveland, turned me on to Great Lakes' Christmas Ale, hands down the best beer I have ever tasted.)
Conway's is a red ale, named after the police-officer grandfather of the brewery's founders, and it goes for $8.99 a six pack. "This beer possesses a bit of the signature sweetness you would get from a malty red, but it's decidedly balanced by plentiful hops," Johnson says. "It's lighter in body than a Guinness but fuller and more flavorful than a Harp; it goes exceptionally well with everything, from fish and chips to bangers and mash to beef stew."
I'll drink to that. And with an alcohol content of 6.5 percent, I should be buzzed by noon.
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