Irish Band Jam
When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Downtown Flowery Branch
Each year, Ireland’s rich history is celebrated and signified with green clothing, shamrocks, traditional music and Irish drinks for St. Patrick’s Day.
In the United States, green beer and rivers dyed green can be seen and Celtic music can be heard. But Flowery Branch is taking a slightly more traditional approach to the holiday with Irish beers, music and vendors for its “Irish Band Jam” from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday on Main Street in Flowery Branch.
“The Irish are proud of their culture, and on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish,” said Alan Davenport, owner of Growlers on Main. “Being in Georgia, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Savannah really started it all. Then some bars in Atlanta began carrying on the tradition.”
Growlers on Main is one of the main supporters of the event, and the craft beer shop will feature three Irish brews for the weekend to mark St. Patrick’s Day.
“We’ll have Magner’s Irish Cider, Cherry Street Red Eye Jedi, which is an Irish red from Cherry Street Brewing in Cumming, and Left Hand Milk Stout,” Davenport said.
All three brews have characteristics of traditional Irish beers, though some of them are from local breweries instead of Ireland. Beer from Ireland usually comes in three main types and is customary because the country has been brewing it for so long.
“Usually you will have a stout like Guinness, an ale like Harp, or an Irish red, like Killian’s,” Davenport said. “The Irish are also known for their ciders.”
On any typical day, the Irish will drink any of these brews, which are made in Ireland, although some have breweries in the United States. Davenport feels while the classic beers are still popular for the holiday, the rise in craft beer popularity has made St. Patrick’s Day even more of a celebrated holiday.
“The evolution of craft beer has kind of stoked the fire in terms of how educated people are about beer and what they are willing to try,” Davenport said.
For people who are accustomed to Guinness, Killian’s and other Irish norms, Davenport mentioned a couple of special ways the Irish drink their brews.
“For St. Patrick’s Day, they like a stout, or they’ll like a snakebite, which is a stout with a cider, usually Guinness and Magner’s cider, which we have on tap this month,” Davenport said.
If someone wants to get into the Irish spirit but doesn’t want to take on a heavy stout, an Irish ale is a lighter way to start. It can be used as a way to transition into darker beers.
“I think Harp is very drinkable,” Davenport said. “It’s not a heavy beer. It’s also what they mix with Guinness to make a black and tan.”
Green’s Tavern on Hog Mountain Road behind Publix in Flowery Branch is also serving a green-colored light beer for those who don’t enjoy craft beers.
Irish drinks also come in liquor varieties and offer a number of unique combinations to get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit.
“The Irish car bomb is a popular shot,” Davenport said. “The drink is half of a shot of Bailey’s (Irish cream) and half of a shot of Jameson (whiskey), and then the shot glass is dropped into half of a pint of Guinness and drank.
“You just have to make sure you drink it before it curdles.”
The Bailey’s and Jameson combination is a popular base for many Irish drinks, including one called the “Irish Breakfast.”
“The Irish Breakfast is half a shot of Bailey’s and half a shot of Jameson drank and chased with orange juice,” Davenport said.
Bailey’s can also be mixed with coffee for an Irish Coffee or with Patron Coffee tequila for a “Mini Guinness.”
For the “Irish Band Jam,” Growlers on Main will serve up the craft beer versions of traditional Irish beer varieties. Other vendors will provide Irish foods, such as “Irish tacos,” which are corned beef and cabbage in a soft tortilla.
The Chris Moser Band, Celtic Rock and the Jonathan Ingram Band will all be performing throughout the day.
For more information, visit www.flowerybranchga.org/event/irish-band-jam/ or call Alan at Growlers on Main at 678-960-3026.