Last St. Patrick’s Day came at the very beginning of the pandemic, and plenty of people still went out to local bars and parties to celebrate, not yet realizing the serious impact that Covid-19 would have on the world.
This year, March 17 will look much different for revelers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the Feast of St. Patrick. There are plenty of ways to have fun during an at-home celebration, or by being mindful of social distancing if going out.
Ryan Wagner, national ambassador at Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Halethorpe, Maryland, which will be open for business on the holiday with social distancing measures in place, says people need to be measured in the way we celebrate in 2021.
“The way the last 12 months have gone, I think everyone is looking forward to celebrating something,” he says. “We’ve missed a lot of birthdays and the holidays were not what we were used to. St. Patrick’s Day is a return to warmer weather and allows us to be outside a little more, and so we are eager to celebrate with people in a responsible way.”
Since St. Patrick’s Day is always such a circle date on the calendar for beer fans, Guinness has thought of numerous ways for people to utilize its dark Irish stout during the festivities.
“Everyone has gotten used to being at home and thinking up new ways to celebrate with food, drink and family, whether that’s virtually or some other way, and Guinness is ready to be a big part of that this St. Patrick’s Day,” Wagner continues. “We are working hard to make sure their favorite Guinness beers are available at whatever local store they like to pick up their beer from, but we’re also creating videos and content to ensure people know how to pour the beer correctly and enjoy it the same way you would at your favorite pub.”
After all, there’s a certain ritual that comes with ordering a pint of Guinness at the bar, and most drinkers may have their favorite bartender who knows how to tell a good story and understands the joy of a perfect pour.
Until everyone can be back at the bars and pubs safely, the videos reflect Guinness as a beer that can be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s home – and learning the correct two-part pour is just the start of a great St. Paddy’s Day celebration.
“We wanted to share with people that there is a way to recreate that ritual at home,” Wagner says. “If you’re using Guinness draft in a can or bottle, securing the right glassware is important so you can enjoy the flavors in the way we intended you to.”
The taste of Guinness can be further incorporated into the celebration by utilizing it in certain food recipes, whether it’s a beef stew, chicken pot pie or even non-Irish dishes like fish and chips or other seafood items.
“Using beer in preparing food is a wonderful thing, but many people may not recognize why that’s the case,” Wagner adds. “For me, I always think of it in terms of our iconic stouts, which are made primarily using Irish-roasted barley. That’s very similar to the process people would use to roast meat or coffee beans. That creates an amazing taste and pairing.”
Some ideas for people who want to host a small gathering to celebrate the day include wearing green (of course), playing St. Paddy’s Day-themed games or planning an outside four-leaf clover hunt.
“There’s still a big portion of our population that is understandably hesitant or experiencing anxiety when it comes to celebrating, and we respect that,” Wagner says. “Popping into the brewery [for] a to-go order of food and beer helps support local bars, and that’s important as well. Your favorite bar may be ready to celebrate this year, but if you’re not, you can still be a part of the [fun] – even if you’re not there at the location.”
Thanks to Zoom and other virtual options, plus food delivery services aplenty, it’s easy for everyone to get their favorite food and beer – and still have fun together celebrating the luck of the Irish.
“Celebrate the fact that you can sit on your couch, have a beautifully poured Guinness and your favorite meal from your favorite pub, and enjoy it with friends and family from across the world,” Wagner says.
And remember, if you do go out to celebrate, wear a mask, adhere to socially distant measures and be on the lookout for leprechauns.
Guinness Open Gate Brewery: 5001 Washington Blvd. Halethorpe, MD; 443-575-6893; www.guinnessbrewerybaltimore.com
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