The Banshees of Ingersoll: Des Moines beer picks for St. Paddy’s Day

‘Banshees of Inisherin’ (2022)/Searchlight Pictures — illustration by Emma McClatchey

Been banished by your best mate and drinking buddy? Worried you’ll spend St. Patrick’s Day with none but yer sister and miniature donkey?

Avoid a mental breakdown (and/or an Oscar nomination) and grab a pint at your neighborhood brewery, where you’ll find Iowa twists on Irish beer styles. From crisp reds to stormy stouts, these five craft breweries can supply the confidence you need to defend your honor, compose a fiddle tune or dance with your dog like no one’s watching.

Confluence Brewing Company

1235 Thomas Beck Rd, Des Moines

Blue Daba Dee Daba Dad

6.4% ABV

“Yo, listen up, here’s a story about a little barrel that made everyone so blue,” begins Confluence’s musical description of this wild stout — a twist on their Bourbon barrel-aged milk stout 50’s Dad. Brewers put it back in the barrel with some blueberries for a year, then added coffee from Des Moines brand BLK & Bold. “Now when you drink it, you’ll be anything but blue!”

Double desLites

8.5% ABV

Confluence are the masters of the milk stout (Milk Man is Iowa’s unofficial state stout, I do declare) and aren’t afraid to push the envelope a bit. This Imperial oatmeal cookie stout is the result of a double-mashed malt packed with oat, dark chocolate and caramel flavor. Toasted coconut is added to the mix, resulting in an indulgent taste reminiscent of Caramel deLites Girl Scout cookies.

Twisted Vine Brewery

112 SE 4th St, Des Moines

Twisted Vine’s bartender Tiffany Evans pours pints of beer in November 2022. — Courtney Guein/Little Village

Mint Shock-O-Lot

6.3% ABV

You could drink a green-dyed lager, or you could drink a beer that tastes green. New DSM brewery, Twisted Vine, added mint to their chocolate milk stout for a flavor combo that cannot fail, especially during Shamrock Shake season.

Court Avenue Brewing Company

309 Court Ave, Des Moines

I’m Sorry Dave

5.3% ABV

A classic Irish ale. So why the reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey? Well, CABC’s brewers say they developed the recipe “in tandem with an AI generator.” Has a 320-year-old beer style finally been cured of human error here in Des Moines? That’s not for this robo — er, human beer drinker to decide.

Fox Brewing

103 S 11th St, West Des Moines

Fox Tail

5.8% ABV

No, that’s not a red velvet cake in a glass. This traditional Irish red ale has that ruby-amber color, crisp white head, and malt-caramel finish you look for in, well, a traditional Irish red. By far the most genuine and satisfying red thing to come out of a place called Fox.

515 Brewing Company

7700 University Ave Suite C, Clive

Suburban Grind

6% ABV

Some coffee stouts put regular coffee to shame, and this is one. 515 brews this caffeinated stout with lactose and beans from Pammel Park Coffee Company, based in Winterset, Iowa. Who needs Bailey’s and coffee when you can have beer coffee?

Pitter Patter, Let’s Get At ‘Er

6% ABV

This remix on the Suburban Grind would make for a perfect dessert after a dinner of Shepherd’s Pie, stew and soda bread. “Suffused with maple and pecans, it’s like eating a pecan roll with a cup of coffee,” 515 says. Consider me sold.

Whose Pub?

Crawl around and decide which person’s place reigns supreme.

Finn’s Pub
7020 Douglas Ave A, Urbandale

Kathy’s Irish Pub
6705 Hickman Rd, Des Moines

Peggy’s Tavern
3020 Forest Ave, Des Moines

Sully’s Irish Pub
860 1st St, West Des Moines

Wellman’s Pub
2920 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines

Annie’s Irish Pub
206 3rd St, Des Moines

McCuen’s Pub
2565 Wedgewood Rd, Des Moines

Bailey’s Pub N Grub
918 E Euclid Ave, Des Moines

Cooney’s Tavern
3708 Beaver Ave, Des Moines

This article was originally published in Little Village Central Iowa issue 012.