Why Do We Drink Green Beer On St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick’s day is known for drinking green beer, way too much Guinness, partying with friends, and singing along to Irish music even though you don’t know the words. We know that we drink copious amounts of alcohol and many pints of green beer on St. Patty’s Day, but have you ever wondered why?
By Mairyn Chorney on Mar. 16, 2017
Did you know St. Patrick’s Day is actually a religious celebration and not just an excuse to get belligerently drunk??! I definitely knew that…like for sure, I knew that…
Who was Saint Patrick?
The Cole’s Notes version: Saint Patrick was born in Britain when it was ruled by the Romans, sometime in the 5th century. At the age of 16, he was captured by Irish pirates to work as a slave in Ireland. He lived there for six years until he mustered up the courage to try to escape. He snuck off, stowed away on a ship and walked through the forest of Great Britain for 28 days before he found his freedom. I’m no expert but I would say that escaping from pirates at the age of 22 is a pretty good origin story. After becoming a priest later on in his life, he went back to Ireland to teach Christianity because why wouldn’t you go back to the place where you were once enslaved? He left such an impression there that it only took a few hundred years after his death for St. Patrick to become the patron saint of Ireland. It is said that he died on March 17th, 461 A.D.
The St. Paddy’s Day Tradition in Ireland
In Ireland there are LOTS of St. Patrick’s Day traditions. These include church services, parades, festivals, and wearing green clothing. Originally, the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue; it changed to green in the 1600s when people began wearing shamrocks (which by the way only have three leaves, not four) and green ribbons on St. Patrick’s Day.
Why Do We Drink Green Beer on St. Patty’s Day?
Well, green beer isn’t actually a traditional Irish way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. So why do we drink green beer on St. Paddy’s day!? Well, that has historical relevance too; a not so well-known fact is that they used to call beer that wasn’t fermented long enough, “Green Beer” because it caused stomach issues or as they called it in 1904 “biliousness”.
It is thought that actual green beer got it’s start in the early 1900’s in New York. A newspaper article from 1914 describes a New York social club serving green beer at a celebratory St. Patrick’s Day dinner. In the article, the drink is attributed to Dr. Curtin, a coroner’s physician who achieved the green beer effect by putting a drop of “wash blue” dye in his beer.
Are you a Craft Beer lunatic *cough*, sorry fanatic saying “But Green Beer is the WORST!”?
Okay okay, we get that you don’t want anyone tainting your beer. But ask yourself this… what in this world isn’t dyed? Your clothes are, your friend’s hair is (and maybe yours too), your food is dyed, you can get dyed flowers, even our skin is dyed (for those of you with tattoos)–People just like colour!
Would you rather spend the month of March bitching about green beer and making yourself look stupid over something as silly as a little food colouring? Or would you rather get on with life, and enjoy a beer with a friend while you EDUCATE THEM on the value of drinking Craft beer?
Still not convinced? In most cases, food colouring doesn’t actually change the flavour of your beer. Trust us, we tried it.
St. Patrick’s Day Tradition in North America
In Western Culture St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by wearing green and drinking a f*#! ton of green beer; and hanging out with good friends of course.
Why? It’s because St. Patrick’s Day falls during Lent, where there usually are rules against consuming alcohol. These restrictions were lifted for March 17th so people could celebrate. And by celebrate, I mean get wasted because isn’t that what the Irish do best? This is what started the holiday’s tradition of consuming alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day.
And why not?! If you really want to be a grouch about green beer and faux Irish getups, ask your self, “What’s the big deal?”. Most Westernized holidays and celebrations are technically founded on fragmented of truths anyway (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc); the important thing about St. Patty’s day is that it’s a reason to celebrate–celebrate friends, fun, culture, and most importantly of all, BEER!
Now that you know what St. Patrick’s Day is all about, get out there and enjoy your night with a green beer, a cheers to Saint Patrick, and give thanks that we get to celebrate this awesome (and green) holiday!
PS — if you’re curious about whether it’s written “St. Paddy’s Day” vs “St. Patty’s Day”, it’s technically “St. Paddy’s Day”; and while some people are extremely passionate about it, here at JustBeer we’re not grammar police, so much as we are socially-savvy, search-engine friendly, beer geeks who like to use all the versions of St. Patt/ddy/trick’s day!