The Halftime Pint: McSorley’s Irish Pale Ale

Sepp would have loved it here in the old days (credit: McSorley's Old Ale House,

One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith.

The beer: McSorley’s Irish Pale Ale, McSorley’s Brewery, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

The pub: The Football Factory at Legends, on 33rd St and 5th Ave in New York.

What you need to know: Irish Pale Ale is the lighter, maltier cousin of the more famous Irish beer, dry stout. It’s also cousin to the standard English pub bitter. Basically, it’s a standard, easy session beer that you can drink pretty easily and throughout the day.

McSorley’s is the house beer for the East Village and misogyny institution of the same name (for those not in the know, McSorley’s was so committed to acting like it was 1850’s Dublin that it didn’t allow women in until 1970). It comes in two varieties: “light,” which is the Irish Pale Ale, and “dark,” which is their dark lager.

So, About this beer: True to style, this is a seriously easy-drinking beer. It pours a deep amber color, typical of a European pale ale.  It’s not as thick as the more famous representative of the style, Smithwick’s; It has a medium mouthfeel, as well as some nice toffee aromas. The predominant flavors are biscuit, with a small hint of cut grass (from the hops) balancing the beer.

Verdict: As Dave Chappelle’s Samuel L. Jackson would say, “IT’LL GET YOU DRUNK!!!” It’s a decent enough session beer, good if it’s the only thing besides light beer, but it’s not particularly a standout. I recommend it, but not as heartily as I will some others in columns to come.


8 responses to “The Halftime Pint: McSorley’s Irish Pale Ale

  1. I really liked Belhaven Lager; I thought that came through. I go by what I drank when watching/what’s available at a pub.

    Which at Legend’s would have been limited to Bass, McSorley’s, Carlsberg or Magners.

  2. @Scouse: The McSorley’s post didn’t? I needed a pre-Super Bowl nap and some heavy red sauce Italian to make it through Sunday evening.

  3. I lived in the city almost fifteen years ago right out of college. I went to McSorley’s once. It got out of hand quickly and I remember someone in our group vomitting profusely basically in the middle of the floor. The bartender looked at us, shook his head, went to the back to get a bag of sawdust, and just sprinkled some over the puke. It stayed there the rest of the night.

  4. @Berg: I was in a group of people that was insistent on trying to go to McSorley’s on St. Patrick’s day. Needless to say, after a half-hour of waiting, we just said eff it and went north to Ryan’s.

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