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Coming soon: Shamrock'n Rye


Jonathan Schwalbenitz and Joe Felix at Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp

Arriving at Murphy's and O'Toole's: Shamrock'n Rye, an extremely limited-edition beer from Sierra Nevada, created in part by Jonathan Schwalbenitz, bartender at Murphy's, and Joe Felix, bar manager at O'Toole's.

Last year, the pair participated in Beer Camp, a two day, invitation only, intensive beer-making workshop for industry professionals at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California. They were the first two delegates ever invited from Hawaii. The lesson here: the luck of the Irish gets one invited to Beer Camp.

After initially flirting with making a scotch ale or black IPA, the group decided to brew an Irish red ale with a hint of rye, which they named, appropriately, Shamrock'n Rye.

So, the big question … What does it taste like?

“We don’t know yet,” says Schwalbenitz.

At this point, they have only tasted the unfermented wort, so they have just an idea of what the beer will eventually become. When pressed to give a comparison of the beer to existing beers, they said it tastes like the marriage of a Killian’s Irish Red and a pale ale, with a smoother, creamier finish and a spicy character due to the rye.

Nothing fancy. Just a classic, refreshing, drinkable beer.

“We were tired of getting hit over the head with a hammer,” says Schwalbenitz, referring to a recent trend of boundary-testing, high-alcohol, highly-hopped, esoterically-flavored beers. Seriously, does anyone really need to drink a beer out of squirrel carcass? (I mean, besides me, because that sounds amazing.)

“The Sierra Nevada employees were really excited when they found out what we were making," says Felix. “They said, ‘You’re making a beer we can actually drink.’”

The pair are planning a Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover at Murphy’s and O’Toole’s on Monday, April 15th to launch the beer into the wild. Murphy's and O'Toole's will each feature five different Sierra Nevada beers—Knightro Irish Stout, Summerfest, French Saison to name a few—in addition to Shamrock'n Rye. The bars are scheduled to get four kegs of Shamrock'n Rye, though one might pop up at Anna’s, Irish Rose, or Kelley O’Neil’s.

Once those kegs run out?

That’s it. Gone. Never to be seen again.

Shamrock'n Rye release and Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover at Murphy's and O'Toole's, Monday April 15
Murphy's Bar and Grill, 2 Merchant St., 531-0422, murphyshawaii.com
O'Toole's, 902 Nuuanu Ave., 536-4138, otoolesirishpub.com


Shamrock'n Rye will also be in the lineup at Real a Gastropub's Sierra Nevada Tap Takeover on April 23, coinciding with Real's one year anniversary.

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