Its actually a bit strange reviewing Murphy’s Irish Red Beer for St. Patrick’s Day this year because in a way, this beer is an impostor. While it sports the Murphy’s name and the Irish Red look, its actually brewed in the Netherlands by Heineken.
Murphy’s Irish Red starts out well enough, but it goes downhill pretty quick into the realm of excessive averageness. It might make a decent change from the macro beers if you’re into that, but otherwise this beer is just plain.
The beer, while beautiful looking and perfectly clear, is more of a copper color than anything. My pour created a good sized head, but it dissipated with much haste and eventually the beer was pretty much flat looking. After the head fizzed away, there was absolutely no lacing on the glass – nothing interesting at all to look at except nice copper-colored beer.
The smell was also extreme in its averageness. I’d say that there were some more malt aromas than the typical average beer, but otherwise it was dull. Overall, it just smelled ‘beery’.
The beer tasted a little better than it smelled, but not by much. There was more of a malty flavor, but there was also a bit of a metallic taste that lingered into the aftertaste. I found myself semi-grimacing as I took each sip. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t taste like liquid aluminum or anything, but it was just a bit unpleasant.
Aside from the metallic twang, Murphy’s Irish Red is actually pretty smooth, but I think its more because its just flat. Its like saying water is smooth, ya know what I mean? Its a drinkable beer, but that’s like saying, well, you know…water is drinkable.
Wrapping up, I just don’t know what the deal is with Murphy’s Irish Red. While Murphy’s was Irish at one time, I would think that being brewed in the Netherlands by Heineken makes it a Dutch beer, no? Maybe it should be called ‘Heineken Red’ or something to that effect.
If you’re looking for an authentic Irish beer to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, I’m going to have to tell you to look elsewhere. If you are looking for a great beer no matter where it is brewed, I think I’m going to recommend the same thing! Look elsewhere. While you can certainly do worse than Murphy’s Irish Red, you can easily do better!
So tell me, what’s a good Irish Red? As I’ve mentioned, I’ve tried the O’Hara’s Stout (loved it) and I’ve been informed that they make a nice Irish Red as well but I have not been able to find any. I’ll keep looking.