For St. Patrick’s Day one year (well, every year really), a few of the buddies got together and honored our favorite saint by drinking ourselves into a stupor that would make any off-the-boat Irishman proud. To stock the bar for my Irish buddies, I went to my local beer distributor and got a little of everything Irish that he had. This includes Guinness, Harp, Murphy’s and almost every beer seen here in our Erin go Beer feature. This included a case of Killian’s Red.
In the morning, when the corned beef hash was sizzling and yesterday’s cabbage had already pushed out Guinness black-crap number three, I took stock at what we had accomplished the night before. Not much of anything left except about ONE FULL CASE OF KILLIAN’S RED. Hmmm… it’s all coming back to me now…
“Killian’s? That’s nothing more than Coors with red dye number 5,” I recall hearing.
I’d be the last person on earth to defend the Adolph Coors Company, I happen to rate Coors Light as one of the better tasting waters you can buy (but as a beer, it is tasteless and sub-par). Killian’s Red is red, I’ll give them that (they may be tweaking the color to suit the name for all we really know). But Killian’s Red is not a horrible beer- as I later found from drinking the remains of the day. It’s got flavor, but not the kind of flavor I’d want hanging around in my mouth for too long. It is almost like a fruity soda.
It is packaged in nice looking “Irish-style bottle” and implies all sorts of long lasting traditions and heritage, starting with the fact that it is born of the original recipe in 1864- but I don’t know, I can’t see the board of director’s at Coors sitting there saying “If George made this in his bathtub 137 years ago with no additives or shelf-life preservatives, well then holy slainte, we should make it that way too.”
I’d really say that the biggest problem that Killian’s faces is the fact that really good imported Irish beers exist here in the states and are readily available. This was proven in my own fridge… other, better beers were sitting next to it, so people drank those. Coors Brewing knows this too, which is why they resort to the packaging and marketing they do- nowhere on the bottle does it say that it is brewed by Coors (they list it as Unibev, Ltd. which is a subsidiary of Coors created to market and distribute beers like Killian’s, Blue Moon, Saranac and a few others).
I’m not saying don’t try this… plenty of people like Coors & Coors Light for some reason, so you may also like this niche variation. I drank it, but only after there was nothing else… proof that I may be an alcoholic- or that you can’t O.D. on red dye number five.
As someone who bartends in an Irish-American pub, we refused to carry Killian’s because in our opinions it was false advertising. As already stated, O’ Haras is superior not only to Killians, but to the almighty Guinness as well.
I say this as someone who has had both, in Ireland. I never knew that I enjoyed reds until I had O’ Haras red.
Killians is not an Irish beer in any way, No Irish person has ever even heard of it unless they go to the US and decide to order one.
Personally on St Patricks Day I will make sure I have a good supply of O’ Haras Stout and some O’Haras red, brewed by the carlow brewing company. Far superior to anything Arthur Guinness can produce.