Irish Red Ale. Though the term is rarely heard in Ireland, in other parts of the world it is commonly used to describe a style of reddish-amber or brown ale that has its roots in Ireland. This style of beer is characterized by its color and by its malt profile, which typically includes a caramel or toffee-like sweetness. Irish red ale also traditionally contains roasted malts that provide a dry finish with only a hint of bitterness. Although this style of beer has been brewed and enjoyed in Ireland for many years, it was Coors who popularized the name Irish red ale in the early nineties. At that time, the American public became very interested in specialty beers and a Coors brand called Killian’s Irish Red, which had been brewed since 1981 became one of the top selling specialty beer brands in the United States. Coors supported the popularity of this brand with a marketing campaign that highlighted the beer’s Irish heritage and distinctive color. First brewed by the Killian family’s Lett’s Brewery in County Wexford, Ireland, the original beer was called “Enniscorthy Ruby Ale.” In the 1950s Lett’s Brewery closed and rights to market beer under the George Killian brand were sold to Pelforth Brewery in France and later acquired by Coors, who immediately released George Killian’s Irish Red Ale. As it happens, the beer is actually a lager. In Ireland one will find the popular Smithwicks, brewed by Diageo, though there is no reference here to red ale. Many American craft brewers have picked up the Irish red ale mantle, brewing lightly malty easy-drinking beers tinged red by roasted grains. The style is now a mainstay of many American brewpubs.