jameson and chaserWith St. Patrick’s Day upon us  it means a whole slew of Irish traditions and products, both real and imagined. I can only assume that there will, somewhere on March 17, be someone pouring Bailey’s Irish Cream into a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast before he puts on his Boston Celtics jersey and plays his 20 year old copy of Buck-O-Nine’s “Irish Drinking Song” as he wanders down the street claiming to be descended from leprechauns.

For every over-enthused former frat boy though, there will be someone who has decided that he respects the Irish enough to enjoy a dram of Jameson whiskey. It’s one of the few Irish whiskeys that springs to mind when an American thinks of Irish whiskey, and it’s a good one. It’s dependable, drinkable, and reasonably priced.

Jameson has often been used in Irish coffee, and I won’t tell you that’s not a great way to drink it. If you want to enjoy it on its own however, and you aren’t a regular whiskey drinker, it is likely that you will chase it with beer. If you are staying in the Irish spirit, you’ll likely chase it with a Harp or a Guinness. If you are buying cheep beer from a dive bar, you’re chasing with PBR or Bud Light and green food coloring. If you are a beer fan, there are a lot of other options.

First, if you go to the source you can find what the whiskey experts have to say. Jameson’s Texas Brand Ambassador, Peter Bissett, has gotten to know the Texas beer scene and offered up these suggestions.

The reinvented Carbomb: Bar 1919 in San Antonio offers a unique “bomb” of Jameson infused with Apple and Cinnamon dropped into (512)’s Pecan Porter. The best part: It doesn’t curdle when you mix the shot with the beer, since there is no Baileys, and makes for a really delicious drink.

The alternative to Guinness: Getting its name from the Austin area code (512), (512) Brewing Company’s tastier alternative to a Guinness, Pecan Porter is sure to give the Irish a run for their money. Their other three year-round pale ales are also perfect chasers for a shot of Jameson.

If you’re in Dallas or Fort Worth, Craft and Growler was his suggestion for a starting point. This growler-filling station boasts over 30 taps of craft beer and Dallas-area microbrews. With plenty of Texas brews to choose from, you’ll never run out of chasers for your shot of Jameson!

Andrew Hamilton, the founder of Beer Trader USA, also had a few suggestions reflecting a more national purvey of microwbrews. “What makes a good whiskey chaser is that the beer should have as strong a flavor as the whiskey, and the notes should match. I think Irish whiskey has a little bit of bite and body, so that gives us a few options. No matter what we chase it with though, it should have a strong flavor. That’s why I prefer IPAs or dark stouts.”

“Boston and Chicago have the biggest traditions with St. Patrick’s Day in the US, and so if I were going to pick a microwbrew to match with Irish whiskey, that’s where I’d start. Boston has Third Voyage Double IPA and Chicago has the magnificent Goose Island IPA. Third Voyage is simply huge, like pouring cascade hops down your throat. In fact, it might give you the same exact experience as shooting Jameson without the buzz. Goose Island’s IPA is much closer to style, matches well in color and flavor, and even has a green label. Not everyone can get those two brews though, so here are a few other thoughts.”

“In San Diego – chase it with a Ballast Point Sculpin. It starts fruity and sweet and finishes strong and hoppy, a lot like Jameson. If you’re in Dallas, do it with a Deep Ellum IPA. That one may be the hoppiest beer on the list, short of the Third Voyage from Boston, but it’s great. In Altanta, swallow down a Sweetwater IPA. It’s a hoppy, orange/amber tinged beer that will take the edge off of a warm shot. In Tampa follow it with a Cigar City Jai Alai. I love this beer after liquor. It’s bitter, but with a lot of citrus and caramel, which to me is exactly the flavor profile I get out of Jameson. In North Carolina, I would grab an Ass Clown Orange Spiced IPA. It’s less the traditional IPA, but still has that citrus and hops profile that you’re looking for.”

“A few other suggestions would be Baltimore’s Hook & Ladder Flashpoint IPA, Denver’s O’Dell 5 Barrel IPA, or Seattle’s Pike IPA.”

If you would normally go with a Guinness, Andrew seconded the idea of 512’s Pecan Porter, but then added Lakewood Brewing Co’s Temptress from Dallas and Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea coffee-vanilla porter. “In fact”, he added, “I think that dropping a shot of Jameson into that beer might be the best idea I’ve had all day. Perhaps that can be my Irish Coffee this year.”

With that set of choices there is no reason to subject yourself to weak beer and food dye this year. Jameson neat and a good brew is probably a better idea than most you could have on March 17 this year.
Jameson Whiskey:
Beer Trader USA