When Mardi Gras falls late on the calendar — like this year — we hardly have time to stick to our Lenten vows of good behavior before St. Patrick's Day. There are a few places — and beers — in New Orleans honoring Ireland. The epicenter of the celebration is the Tracey's and Parasol's joint Irish Channel block party (Sat., March 15 and Mon., March 17). There are beer trucks at Third and Magazine streets which may have a selection of the Irish Channel's only brewery, NOLA Brewing. Duck into Parasol's if there's nothing on the street — they usually have a few craft taps.
For the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day parade on March 15, bring some tall boys of NOLA Brewing's Irish Channel Stout for the local touch, or go full Irish with cans of Guinness or O'Hara's dry Irish stout. Traditional dry Irish stouts are relatively low in alcohol (between 4 and 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, or ABV), so they can be enjoyed all day. NOLA's Irish Channel Stout weighs in at a heftier 6.8 percent ABV, so plan accordingly. Venturing out of the Irish Channel. The Irish House (1432 St Charles Ave., 504-595-6755; www.theirishhouseneworleans.com) has a great selection of Irish beer. They serve Murphy's on nitro, which I prefer to Guinness (which they also have). Also on tap is Smithwick's, an amber ale, and Harp, a basic light lager. The Irish House also has a terrific selection of American craft, British and Belgian beers in the bottle and offers several rotating craft taps.
Finn McCool's (3701 Banks St, 504-486-9080; www.finnmccools.com) offers Guinness, Smithwick's, Harp and Magners Cider year round. Its Mid-City neighbor The Holy Ground Irish Pub (3340 Canal St., 504-821-6828; www.facebook.com/theholyhroundirishpub) offers a Guinness pint with a shot of Jameson Irish whiskey. My final word of advice: stay away from green beer. For more information, visit www.stpatricksdayneworleans.com. Slainte!