A recent trip to Ireland showed the strong growth in the craft beer movement there. Breweries like Galway Bay, Hooker, 8 Degrees, and Dungarvan are serving up interesting takes on traditional styles, while others like White Gypsy or the exciting new Brown Paper Bag Project are taking risks by taking their beer scene in entirely new directions. Nonetheless our featured beer this month is from an American brewery that takes a traditional Irish style and takes it in a direction unseen in Ireland. Conway’s Irish Ale from Great Lakes Brewing is an Irish red ale given the kind of oomph and backbone that you’ll never find in a Smithwick’s (not that there’s anything wrong with a Smithwick’s), weighing in at dangerously drinkable 6.5% abv and full of toasty flavor. We look forward to seeing something like this from one of these little Irish breweries make it to this side of the pond. Until they start shipping their product over here we’ll have to content ourselves with this great American take on their tradition. Slainte.