Skip to Content

13 Best Irish Beers Tried And Tested For 2024

13 Best Irish Beers Tried And Tested For 2024

The best Irish beers are, based on my many years of drinking in pubs in Ireland, Murphys, Scraggy Bay and Guinness.

However, as taste is very subjective, I have created a ‘beer library’, of sorts, of the many Irish ales, stouts and lagers that I return to time-and-time-again!

Below, you’ll find well known Irish beer brands like Guinness and Murphys, but you’ll also find lesser-known sips that are available across the globe, like Harp and O’Hara’s. Cheers!


The best Irish beers

more popular Irish beers

So, I’ve checked the different beers below and most are available to order online from the likes of Total Wine and Walmart.

A good chunk of those featured are the most popular beers in Ireland while some tend to be more popular in the States!

1. Murphy’s


Murphy’s is an Irish stout (yes, there’s more to Ireland than Guinness!). It’s 4% proof, so it’s pleasant to drink and leaves very little after taste.

Murphy’s originated in Cork and dates back to 1856. I’ve found this hard to come by where I live (Dublin), but it’s sold widely in Cork and available online, too. 

Taste: Murphy’s is served with a thick, creamy head. Taste-wise, there are strong coffee and chocolaty notes with little-to-no bitterness.


2. Scraggy Bay

Scraggy Bay

Although Scraggy Bay isn’t one of the most popular beers in Ireland, it’s one of my go-tos if I fancy a strong (5.3%) ale with a kick to it.

Served in a 500ml long-neck bottle, it’s made by Donegal-based brewer Kinnegar. This is a golden ale that’s perfect for sipping.

Taste: Expect a strong, citrusy nose to start followed by hoppy, citrusy notes and a dry finish.


3. Guinness


Guinness (4.4%) is the most famous of the many Irish beer brands and it is now sold in 110+ countries after starting its life at St. James’s Gate in Dublin back in 1759.

It’s worth noting that not all Guinness is equal. The reality is that many pubs serve up bitter tasting Guinness that is very unpleasant on the palate. However, when it’s good… by God it’s good!

Taste: A good pint of Guinness is creamy with no bitterness. It has coffee, chocolate and mild roasted notes


4. Mescan Brewery Beer

Mescan Brewery Beer

Mescan Brewery can be found on the slopes of Croagh Patrick in Mayo and it’s owned and run by two Westport vets, interestingly enough.

There are several different beers from Mescan, but it’s the stronger (4.8%) Westport Blonde that I find myself returning to over-and-over.

Taste: This is a crisp and clean Irish lager with a tiny hint of sweet and sour and a nice, fruity flavour


5. O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale

O'Hara's Irish Wheat

O’Hara’s pale ale from the Carlow Brewing Company is one of the best Irish beers if you like a very flavourful and strong (5.2%) beer.

Widely available in-store and online, this IPA combines the balance of European IPAs with the dry hopping of American pale ales.

Taste: Although hoppy notes dominate this beer, the fruitiness (maybe grapefruit!?) give it balance


6. Kilkenny

Kilkenny Irish Ale

Kilkenny is an Irish cream ale that began its life in the St. Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny. It has a nitrogenated cream head, similar to that on a pint of Guinness.

Don’t let the colour fool you – this is a smooth, creamy Irish beer with a lightness to it that you wouldn’t expect from its appearance. Although tricky to get, it’s well worth searching for.

Taste: Expect a malty nose followed by notes of coffee, plums and sweet biscuits. It’s also surprisingly refreshing


7. Rosie’s Pale Ale

Rosie's Irish Ale

Those looking to step into the world of Irish craft beers should consider giving Rosie’s Pale Ale from the Rye Rive Brewing Company a bash.

A good entry-IPA thanks to its 4.5% ABV, this is a full-flavoured beer that you’ll likely only drink 2 or 3 of in one sitting.

Taste: Expect a bitter, fruity, citrusy taste with hints of caramel and plenty of hops.


8. Wicklow Wolf Elevation Pale Ale

Wicklow Wolf Irish Pale Ale

One of the best Irish beers that you likely won’t have heard of is the very tasty Elevation Pale Ale (4.8%) from the Wicklow Wolf.

Now, I was initially put off trying this one as the description on their website (‘bursting with juicy fruits of pineapple and grapefruit’) made it sound like it’d be very fruity.

That wasn’t the case. This is a very drinkable Irish ale from a brewery that’s brought a lot to Ireland’s beer scene in recent years!

Taste: A fruity beer with notes of blueberries and grapefruit. Expect plenty of hops and a refreshing finish!


9. Harp Irish Lager

Harp Irish Lager

Harp was one of the most popular beers in Ireland back in the day, with many who grew up in Ireland remembering their comedic adverts on the TV.

Created in 1960 by Guinness in its Dundalk brewery, Harp is a light beer (4%) that’s very easy to sip. If you’re after a refreshing beer with an inoffensive flavour profile, you won’t go wrong here.

Taste: This is a clean, crisp Irish lager with hints of citrus, malt and a little dash of spice

10. Five Lamps

five lamps irish lager

‘The Five Lamps’ is an iconic lamp post with (unsurprisingly) five lanterns, which stands at the junction of five streets (Portland Row, North Strand Road, Seville Place, Amiens Street and Killarney Street) in Dublin.

The ‘The Five Lamps‘ beer came out in 2012 and it has been going strong ever since. There’s a nice strong twang to the Five Lamps beer, but it’s only 4.2% ABV.

This is ideal for drinkers like me who want something with a bit of flavour, but don’t fancy the hangover that drinking some mental 8.9% crafty Irish lager brings.

Taste: Expect a very sweet nose, first, followed by a refreshing, sweet and citrusy mouthful


11. Smithwick’s Blonde

Smithwick's Blonde

If you’re not familiar with the Smithwick’s brand, it was founded in Kilkenny in 1710 by John Smithwick and run until 1965 when it was bought by Guinness.

Smithwick’s Blonde (4.1% ABV) is a crisp and ever-so-slightly citrusy Blonde Irish Ale that’s pleasant to sip and that leaves little to no lingering taste.

Taste: This is one of the lighter Irish beer brands with a clean, citrusy flavour that’s easy to drink


12. Franciscan Well’s Friar Weisse

Franciscan Well's Friar Weiss

The Franciscan Well Brewery is one of Ireland’s longest established and most respected craft breweries. You’ll find it in Cork where it also has a class pub attached to i

The Franciscan Well Friar Weisse is a German-style unfiltered wheat beer that has a fair bit of zest to it. If you’re looking for a top Irish beer that packs a punch, give this a go.

Taste: Everything you’d expect from an unfiltered wheat beer along with a good whack of zest


Irish drinks beyond beer

irish pub songs

If the Irish beer brands aren’t doing it for you, don’t worry – there are plenty of other Irish drinks to try, like:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Chris Moore

Monday 9th of October 2023

Beamish?! Broke my heart when they stopped exporting it


Thursday 31st of August 2023

Great post, who does the art work its brilliant!

Joanne Currie

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Great info and many to look for over here in the US as inspiration for our holiday next year.

Oguzhan Temel

Sunday 28th of March 2021

Thanks for the list!

Any Irish Red Ale suggestion?


Saturday 19th of November 2022

@Oguzhan Temel, Sullivans Red Ale is one of the best of had

Lauren Armstrong

Sunday 26th of April 2020

Is there any good online companies that deliver pale ales/ craft beers?

Looking to get new ones (that can’t be got in my local offo) as part of my partners bday present. Tia


Monday 27th of April 2020

Hey Lauren,

I'm not sure to be completely honest with you! I took a ramble down to our local Aldi there last Friday and tried a beer from an Irsh brewery called Brown Bear.

The head was hopping the next morning but it was tasty!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.