Lone Pine’s Irish Stout, Liquid Riot’s Irish Goodbye and Foundations Mahaffey’s Finest are all local options for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Photo by Caitlin Enz

If you’ve gotten your fill of drinking Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day, there’s good news: Several Maine breweries make their own Irish stouts, including at least one that’s new this year.

Lone Pine Brewing Co., based in Portland and Gorham, released its take on the style – simply called Irish Stout – last month. At 5.1% ABV, it’s stronger than most stouts, which typically range from 4-4.5%. It also has a pronounced bitterness – something I pay attention to when tasting stouts, which can be as bitter as the low end of the IPA range, though we often perceive it differently in the two styles because of the different grains used.

Foundation Brewing Co.’s Mahaffey’s Finest is a traditional take on the Irish stout with an ABV of 4.4% and a grain bill that includes roasted barley – the ingredient that gives it the aroma and flavor of coffee, as well as its dark brown to black color.

Named for head brewer and co-owner Joel Mahaffey, Foundation started making Mahaffey’s Finest in 2019 and brings it back annually in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Foundation co-owner John Bonney described the beer as having a “surprisingly full mouthfeel for the ABV” and finishing “dry and clean.” The style is often associated with a medium body, so I was excited to see if I could feel the difference.

Liquid Riot Bottling Co. first released Irish Goodbye in 2015, and while it’s available year-round, gets special attention on St. Patrick’s Day. Served on nitro and made with Irish malt and Maine barley and hops, the beer has a low ABV – 4% – that will lend itself to the festivities Friday, when the Portland brewery and distillery’s resto-bar is offering several themed specials, including green beer made with edible glitter and a Black and Tan made with Irish Goodbye and its Supremo Italiano imperial pilsner.

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Here are my tasting notes on the three takes on this style.

MAHAFFEY’S FINEST, FOUNDATION BREWING CO.

Style: Dry Irish-style stout

ABV: 4.4%

Tasting notes: Dark brown with a light brown head. Smells like coffee, chocolate, burnt toast (more pronounced as it warms), with a slight fruitiness (from Foundation’s house ale yeast). Tastes like burnt toast, coffee and is slightly fruity. Moderate bitterness. Was dry with a smooth, medium-full body. Low carbonation.

IRISH GOODBYE, LIQUID RIOT BOTTLING CO.

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Style: Dry stout

ABV: 4%

Tasting notes: Dark brown with a light brown head. Smells like cherry, coffee, slightly floral (from English hops). Tastes like coffee, fruity (from yeast) and like slightly burnt toast. Moderate bitterness. Smooth with a thin body. Low carbonation.

IRISH STOUT, LONE PINE BREWING CO.

Style: Irish stout

ABV: 5.1%

Tasting notes: This one comes across as the most bitter and acrid tasting, so if tasting a group, try last. Dark brown with a light brown head. Smells like coffee, slightly burnt toast, chocolatey as it warms. Tastes like coffee, bitter chocolate, burnt toast. Pronounced bitterness, dry with a medium body. Medium carbonation.

Caitlin Enz is a Certified Cicerone® who lives in Portland. Follow her on Instagram at @hops_and_brains.


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