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Caffrey's Irish Ale

Caffrey’s Irish Ale: Nitro Bitter From Ireland

4.49 average, 464 votes
by David Lauterbach
2008 November 15

Caffrey's Irish AleI enjoy having a selection of Irish beers to choose from when the St. Patrick’s Day parade comes through my town. It is because of this that I stumbled across Caffrey’s Irish Ale a few years back while trying to stock the shelves with some variety from Ireland.

Caffrey’s comes from Belfast, North Ireland where it is brewed by the Thomas Caffrey Brewing Company. The 14.9 oz cans feature a nitrogen pocket that agitate the beer when you open it giving it that great ‘from the tap’ quality. Even if you know what the nitro ‘widget’ is, check out my Guinness review that gets up close and personal with this beer agitator.

Caffrey’s is considered a bitter, but this is not overly bitter. It has a dreamy, creamy, toffeeesque taste that is light enough to drink all day. Despite the toffee quality, I wouldn’t call this beer sweet. It has really beautiful amber/copper coloring and a thick, rich head. The head will stay with you all the way down to the bottom of the pint too, even if it’s a soaped glass. This is a fairly light beer so I can easily drink these all day long, but on St. Paddy’s I usually end up moving on to Guinness.

Now, here’s the problem with Caffrey’s… you can no longer get it in the U.S. As faithful American drinkers of this fine ale may already know, Coors Brewing Company acquired Caffrey’s in December, 2001 when they purchased U.K. based Carling Brewers who had the distribution rights. Sometime in 2002, they stopped distributing Caffrey’s in the U.S. due to poor sales. It is still available in the U.K.

If you’ve had Caffrey’s and want to see it in the U.S. again, you can call the Coors Helpline at 1-800-642-6116 and let then know, or you can sit back and do nothing about it while poor uneducated souls end up buying and drinking Coors’ other acquired (and promoted) Irish-type beer Killian’s Red.

But those who have access to it will probably agree- it’s a delicious, authentic Irish ale that is sure to please better bitter beer drinkers.

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Glenn (Mize) Mandanici

I spent a few months in Scotland, and I became so fond of the Caffrey’s that to this day it is my absolute favorite beer… No other like it in the world! And yes, I called Coors and voiced my opinion!


I too have tried the fruitless search to find Caffrey’s Irish Ale here in the states, but to no avail. I was stationed in England from ’94-’97 with the U.S. Air Force and fell in love with how smooth and refreshing it was. I not only bought it in the 4-packs at the co-ops, but also at my local in Brandon (Suffolk) on tap. This really needs to be marketed here. There is no comparison to Killian’s…..that tastes like dish water when compared to Caffrey’s in my opinion. I would DEFINITELY support the effort.

Brian Farrell

I suggest a few pints of Old Speckled Hen. It is available Cask Conditioned, Nitro Fed at the pub and widget fed cans, as well as bottles. I’ve never had Caffreys, and feel deprived.

Norman Cooksley

I have a friend who makes frequent trips to Canada and takes an extra suitcase and brings back two four packs of caffreys to me. I will join a group to ask Coors to bring back Caffreys to the US or sell it to some company who will market it here. I have news for Coors, Killians Irish Red is no comparison.

Mike & Tina

Bring caffrey’s back to U.S. or at least give people a way to import on-line . We miss it. Even on a visit to London we could not find. Would purchase if we could in SoCal..


Mike & Tina


Pub’s in the US, where I’ve had Caffrey’s in the past:

O’Neills – San Fran
Morton’s – Kansas City, KS

Beer Belly

I believe to answer the individual earlier there is numerous websites which will ship beer to the US. Caffrey’s would be one of those beers.


Hi Caffrey’s lovers

We’re from Australia and were also sad to see Caffrey’s disappear from our shelves. Today we were doing a bit of a web surf and found this article that says it’s being relaunched in the UK tomorrow (March 15, 2010). :
Hopefully it will have a flow on effect to the USA and AU and we’ll see it everywhere again. It has a beautiful new can and in AU we can order it here:
Nat and Brad


I fell in love with Caffrey’s a few months before it became unavailable, it was like mother’s milk to me. I bought every can available in my city, somewhere around 140 cans. Selfish? Maybe, but I was generous with my friends too. I’m still in mourning. Good to find your site, keep hammering on Coors!


Yes, they need to bring Caffrey’s back to the USA!! My band The Prowlers has added Caffrey’s links on our news/links page at our website… to help bring Caffrey’s back to the US.


Thanks, Chris. I’m headed to Canada next week so I’ll look for it.


I’ve been hooked since college and am lucky enough to make business trips to Ontario once in a while. I was just there a few weeks ago and it was on the shelf at LCBO. I’ve also gotten it from The Beer Store. I’m not sure the exact airplane restrictions, but I’ve only been able to bring them back 2-packs (8 cans) at a time.


We recently returned from Ireland. Couldn’t find Caffreys in Dublin; was told I could get it Belfast. None if Belfast either. Do they even still make it?? :>(


yes, those coors basts took it off the market almost 7yrs ago now. Hundred times better than their want to be star Killians. Caffreys great off the tap here at a couple of local places in NJ. Everyone call that number to get it back in the US, please!


I too am a huge fan of Caffrey’s and looking to find out if we can get this beer back in the U.S.


I’m another Scouser who used to drink this in Flannagan’s in Liverpool. I got it a few times in NYC when I first moved to the States but that was 10 years ago. I’ve left my message on the Coors website too. Hope we can get this Nectar of the Gods back! will ship to the US but it’s expensive!


Does anyone know someone who will ship a case of Caffrey’s to the US?


We first had Caffrey’s at the Whistledown Inn in N. Ireland and loved it. Since then we have had Caffrey’s from Canada and our daughter just brought us Caffreys from the U.K. The one our daughter brought we enjoyed much more than the one from Canada. Just a personal preference. Sure would love to buy that one here in the U.S.

Paolo Musso

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Jason Spence

I live in Central Illinois and a buddy of mine and I drive to Canada a couple times a year to stock up on Caffrey’s. We’ve got an agreement that we can only drink it when the other is there to enjoy it too. Those 17 hour beer runs make for a very long day, but well worth it when I hear the sound of that first Widget opening a couple days later.

Brian Fisher

I agree wholeheartedly. I was in Bradford, England a while back and they sold Caffrey’s all over the place there then. I was in London last month, and couldn’t find a single can. I know there are a couple of places in the UK that will ship it here to the US, but the shipping cost is killer!


I miss drinking Caffrey’s, I too wish I could find it here.
One of my mates said he found some in a supermarket in northern California I guess that was about 8 years ago?
Currently I’m living in Texas….wishing things could work out so I can get back to the UK again, even if only on holiday.

steven fenlon

im from liverpool england and always drank caffreys and have tried so hard to get it since moving to the usa. i stumbled on your website trying to find a place that sold it. it is the best bitter i have ever drank and back home we always went to an irish bar in liverpool called flannagans and they would serve it on draft and make a clover shape in the head of the beer, pretty cool to watch. i hope we can get this amazing beer back in the usa i did find 4 cans of it in maryland… Read more »

Bryan O Young

I just started a group called Please bring Caffrey’s back to The United States of America on facebook. I do not know how to creat a link. I guess you could search it by title. If you know of anyone that would like to join or give us some facetime that would be great

Any thoughts? Please comment!x