Beer Info FAQ

Is Smithwick's and Kilkenny the Same Beer?

Smithwick's and Kilkenny are both well-known Irish beers that have gained popularity worldwide. While they share some similarities, they are not the same beer. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of Smithwick's and Kilkenny, highlighting their similarities and differences, and providing insights into their brewing processes and flavor profiles.


Smithwick's and Kilkenny are both Irish red ales that belong to the same beer style category. They are known for their rich amber color, malty sweetness, and smooth finish. These beers are often enjoyed for their balanced flavors and easy-drinking nature. However, there are distinct features that set them apart from each other.


Smithwick's is a historic Irish beer with roots dating back to the 14th century. It is brewed by the Smithwick's Brewery in Kilkenny, Ireland. This beer is characterized by its deep ruby color, medium body, and a combination of caramel and toasted malt flavors. Smithwick's has a subtle hop bitterness that complements its malty sweetness, resulting in a well-rounded and flavorful beer.


Kilkenny, on the other hand, is a beer that originated from the Smithwick's Brewery but has developed its own unique identity. It is often described as a smoother and creamier version of Smithwick's. Kilkenny has a similar amber color and malt-forward profile, but it offers a creamier mouthfeel and a slightly sweeter taste. This beer is known for its velvety texture and rich, biscuity flavors.

Brewing Process

Both Smithwick's and Kilkenny are brewed using traditional methods that have been passed down through generations. The brewing process involves mashing malted barley, boiling the wort, adding hops for bitterness and aroma, fermenting the beer with yeast, and conditioning it to achieve the desired flavors and carbonation levels. While the exact recipes and techniques may differ, both beers adhere to the high standards of Irish brewing traditions.

Flavor Comparison

When it comes to flavor, Smithwick's and Kilkenny offer distinct experiences. Smithwick's showcases a balance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness, with notes of caramel, toffee, and toasted grains. Kilkenny, on the other hand, leans more towards a creamy and smooth flavor profile, with hints of biscuit, caramel, and a touch of sweetness. Both beers are highly enjoyable, but the choice between them ultimately comes down to personal preference.


In conclusion, Smithwick's and Kilkenny are two distinct Irish beers that share similarities in terms of style and brewing heritage. While Smithwick's is known for its deep ruby color and balanced flavors, Kilkenny offers a creamier mouthfeel and a slightly sweeter taste. Both beers are excellent choices for those seeking a flavorful and easy-drinking Irish ale.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I substitute Smithwick's with Kilkenny in a recipe? A: Yes, you can substitute Smithwick's with Kilkenny in recipes that call for an Irish red ale. However, keep in mind that the flavor profile may vary slightly, so adjust the recipe accordingly.

Q: Are Smithwick's and Kilkenny available outside of Ireland? A: Yes, both Smithwick's and Kilkenny are exported and can be found in many countries around the world. They are often available in specialty beer stores and Irish pubs.

Q: Which beer is more popular in Ireland, Smithwick's or Kilkenny? A: Both Smithwick's and Kilkenny have a strong presence in Ireland, and their popularity may vary depending on the region. It ultimately comes down to individual preferences.

Q: Can I visit the Smithwick's Brewery in Kilkenny? A: Yes, the Smithwick's Brewery in Kilkenny offers tours where you can learn about the brewing process and enjoy a tasting of their beers, including Smithwick's and Kilkenny.

Q: Are Smithwick's and Kilkenny gluten-free? A: No, Smithwick's and Kilkenny are not gluten-free beers as they are brewed using barley, which contains gluten. Individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease should avoid these beers.

Remember to always drink responsibly and enjoy these Irish beers in moderation.