St. Patrick’s Day—a day where every Irish pub in town is filled to the brim with drunken laughs, bagpipes, and green beer. This clover-coloured beverage has been a symbol of the holiday for nearly 100 years. There’s irony in how the term “green beer” has turned into something positive. It hasn’t always been the case.
Historically, “green beer” was a term to describe premature beer—a beverage that would get you sick but not necessarily after a “fun” night out. This was an issue in the 1800’s as fermentation was an expensive process. It got to the point where beer companies explicitly marketed their products as “old beer” to reassure their customers that the only headache they’d get is from 10 pints and a hangover.
As Irish as this holiday is, this festive drink did not originate from Ireland. Founded by Dr. Thomas Curtin in the Bronx in 1914, this coroner’s physician and eye surgeon was responsible for introducing a food-coloured drink to the festivities of St. Patrick’s Day in America. Why? There’s a myth that Dr. Curtin was inspired by the Irish tradition of “downing a shamrock” where green shamrocks are simply put into beer on this special day. The green beer tradition never really made its way to Ireland, but adding blue food-colouring (yes, blue + yellow beer = green) has been a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day for over 100 years in North America.
On March 17, find yourself a cold glass of green (or is it blue?) beer, and drink responsibly.
*Link Magazine does not condone excessive drinking, be responsible