The obvious first choice of Guinness does have a lot going for it. Somehow, Guinness only contains 198 calories per imperial pint (20 fl oz UK), fewer than an equal-sized serving of skimmed milk or orange juice and most other non-light beers. However, imported Guinness tastes nothing like Guinness in Ireland, which makes me very sad when I drink it. Plus, there is the matter of being able to consume enough of it. In spite of not containing that many calories, it is a very filling drink, but it does have a slightly higher than average abv, at 7%. I am on the fence about Guinness.
In general, I am not a fan of lager. On a warm summer day, a nice cold Harp can be refreshing, but there are other summertime beers that I enjoy much more, mostly of the Mexican variety (hello Modelo...). Also, when I drink lager, I end up going to the restroom about every five minutes, which pretty much negates the meager 5% abv that Harp has to offer. Harp is officially out.
I tried Smithwick's a few times in Ireland and England, and largely I found it to be more on the bitter side than I prefer for an ale, but that could be only in comparison to the smooth and delicious Guinness that was available at the time. However, I haven't tried it as an import yet. It only clocks in at 4.5% abv, which makes it officially out. Sorry Smithwick's, maybe another time.
This is a cream ale that is brewed by Smithwick's, and it is reportedly even more bitter. And the abv is 4.3%, the lowest abv on the list, making this one right out.
God, do I love a good red ale. I am drooling over this photo right now. It doesn't help that I am also starving. I would kill for a glass or Murphy's and a giant pile of mashed potatoes, with a side of soda bread right now.
I just made the horrifying discovery that there is no Wikipedia entry for Murphy's. I don't know what to dooooooo... It does only have an abv of 5%. This site I found rated Irish red ales, and the following was the highest rated beer:
It's got a higher abv than Murphy's, at 5.9%, which certainly makes it more appealing. I am very curious to try this one, but it may be very difficult to acquire. We shall see.
Of course, there is always the alternative: