Just Say No... to Green Beer

Posted by Carla Gesell-Streeter on Mar 17, 2023 at 1:42 PM

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Or, as I like to call it, one of the two holidays from other countries that we Americans have turned into days for drunken debauchery.*

According to my Ancestry DNA results, I'm 4% Irish. Of course, they also point out that it really means that it could be anywhere from 0-9% Irish, and my heritage could be from the Channel Islands, Faroe Islands, France, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, or Scotland. So who knows?

But, as someone who is nominally Irish, I have one wish... For the love of everything Sláinte, could we please stop drinking green beer on Saint Patrick's Day?

Say No to Green Beer

The phenomenon of green beer is not a new trend. Professor Thomas H. Curtin is generally credited as being the "creator" of green beer in 1914 in New York. The story goes that he noticed all the green decorations at his clubhouse and decided that the beer should be green too. Since the beer that was mostly being drunk was a lighter yellow, rather than adding a green coloring to the beer, he simply added a blue dye to it. Specifically, he added laundry bluing to the beer. If you are not familiar with laundry bluing, it is "a colloidal suspension of a very fine blue iron powder and water." Great for making your whites whiter but not exactly something you want in your beer. Take that people who think clarifying beer with isinglass (made from the swim bladders of fish) is weird.

Nowadays, green beer is created by adding green food coloring to pale yellow fizzy beer usually from a macro brewery. Sometimes the coloring is added to the keg and sometimes it's added to the glass by the bartender before filling it with beer. This can result in green "milk moustache" if the bartender gets too zealous with the green food coloring.

Instead of green beer, try drinking an Irish beer or beer style. The most famous Irish brewery is Guinness, located in Dublin. Their dry Irish stout is their flagship beer and is known worldwide. Usually served on nitro, it has a creamy head and mouthfeel. Though its dark color can make some macro beer drinkers think it's a heavy or higher alcoholic beer, it's actually a thinner stout, and the ABV is 4.2% which is the same as Bud Light. There are only 125 calories in 12 ounces (just remember that the traditional Guinness pint glass is an imperial pint, which is 20 ounces).


If you can't bring yourself to drink a stout, Guinness also makes Harp (an Irish lager), Smithwick's (an Irish red), and Kaliber (a non-alcoholic lager). American versions of Irish styles include Great Lakes' Conway's Irish Ale, Thirsty Dog's Irish Setter Red, and Listermann's Pot O' Gold Shamrock Shake Stout which is a golden oatmeal Irish cream stout with coffee, cacao, chocolate, and lactose.

So, as you go out to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day this year, just say no to green beer and have an Irish beer instead!

Sláinte! Cheers to better beer (and beverages)!

*Tom and I have been known to go to a Mexican restaurant on March 17th and then to an Irish pub on May 5th, which is definitely not Mexican Independence Day.