There's an old song with a clever rhyme that goes, "Oh why, oh why, Ohio?"
And "why" is a question often asked at this time of year in Dublin, Ohio, which is having its Irish festival this weekend. Its motto is "like Ireland, except smaller."
Well, not just smaller, as it turns out. It's a bit less like an Irish festival in the real Dublin would be: While there are plenty of suds to quaff, no Irish beer is permitted. No Guinness. No Harp. Nada.
According to the Columbus Dispatch newspaper, festival-goers can (try to) enjoy an Italian Peroni or a Czech Pilsner Urquell, but a contract with Coors Brewing Co. — a sponsor of the event — has prevented the serving of traditional Irish brews.
Of course, when it comes to a pint, few Irishmen will take things lying down. So, after a bit of protest, Coors began permitting the sale of "Dublin Irish Stout" — which the company brews in Colorado — last year.
Needless to say, the would-be Dubliners quickly exhausted the supply of "Guinness-Like," so this weekend, all beer stands at the festival will sell it, along with other Coors brands and the Czech and Italian imports that the company distributes.
Michael McGroarty, recording secretary for the Ancient Order of Hibernians — which has 300 members in Columbus — told the Dispatch he was happy just to have a stout available, even if it comes from the Rocky Mountains rather than the Emerald Isle.
George Killian's Irish Red is another of the Coors-distributed brands that has been permitted across the line, but "Killian's isn't a true Irish beer," McGroarty said.
Customers of the Claddagh Pub stand at the festival told the newspaper they have always been puzzled that they can't buy Irish-style beer to go with the corned beef and cabbage, said Craig McConville, general manager.
"It's definitely been a gripe over the years," McConville said.
The song, by the way, was as a lament, siug by Ohioans who had made the grave mistake of leaving the Buckeye State and who longed to return.
Now, as to why it's called the Buckeye State — well, look it up yourselves. I'm having a pint of Guinness...