Tasting Notes: St. Patrick's Day

Wine drinkers wandering around St. Patrick's Day parties may feel left out.

The Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant on the Ashland Plaza will pour draft Guinness stout over homemade Baileys Irish Cream ice cream Friday through Sunday, March 15-17.

Paddy Brannan's Irish Pub at 23 S. Second St., and O'Ryan's Irish Pub at 137 E. Main St., also will celebrate the "Pint of Pure," as the black beer is known.

Although Peter Bolton, owner of The Playwright Public House at 258 A St., stocks Guinness, Smithwick's red ale and Murphy's Irish Stout, he also scouts for local and imported wines. He selects them by their quality, price and popularity.

The pub has wine varieties from the regions that made them famous: Argentine malbec, Spanish tempranillo, French rose and New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

"That said, we do our bit to support the local growers and winemakers," says Bolton.

Dana Campbell Vineyards viognier is made from grapes grown on an Ashland hillside. RoxyAnn Winery's Honor Barn red blend and pinot gris were made in Medford. And Troon Vineyard's white and red blends, vermentino and zinfandel, are from the Applegate Valley.

The Playwright also has Irish whiskeys including Jameson, Powers, Paddy, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew, Bushmills and The Knot. The pub will offer traditional Irish fare — stew, coddle, colcannon, seafood Mornay, Celtic cod cakes — and an Irish music festival Saturday and Sunday, March 16-17.

Bolton, who grew up in Ireland, says he views St. Patrick's Day as an opportunity to celebrate the unique Irish personality and lust for life.

"Enjoying a couple of pints, some great food and music and wearing a bit o' green will be heavily encouraged," he says. "Drinking enough to turn yourself green will not."

— Janet Eastman

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