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What Is Green Beer?

Article Highlights

  • Green beer is made by adding artificial food coloring to standard lager or ale beer
  • Its history goes back centuries to Ireland when citizens used natural dyes such as grass straws or flowers to give the beer a light shade of green
  • It is popularly associated with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world
  • Benefits include being festive, fun, cool, and easy to make at home or find at bars and restaurants
  • Disadvantages include it having a different taste than traditional styles as well as potential staining of clothing if spilled

Ah, the allure of green beer! St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be the same without it. But what, exactly, is it? What is all the fuss about?

The history and background of green beer, its benefits and disadvantages, and some recipes for your own homemade brew are just a few of the things we will discuss here today. Check it out!

What Is Green Beer?

Green beer is made by adding artificial food coloring to standard lager or ale beer. It has a light yellow-green color, more yellow than green, though not as bright as some would like to think.

The color is caused by an enzymatic reaction that takes place during brewing and fermentation. To make true green beer you must use a dye specifically made to interact with alcohol.

Common food coloring like that found in most grocery stores won’t suffice because it doesn’t have the same reactions with alcohol as does true dye meant for alcoholic beverages.

History of Green Beer

The history of green beer goes back centuries to Ireland when citizens used natural dyes such as grass straws or flowers to give the beer a light shade of green. This process was used mainly by monks in monasteries who didn’t have access to more advanced dyes such as those available now.

Modern-day use of green beer came into being after the temperance movement in America in 1880s when there was an increase in demand for lighter beers and brewers began adding dyes (notably, blueberry juice) to make their beers appear lighter than they were.

This practice eventually led to the commercial production of green beer which is the kind most people are familiar with today!

Popular Use Of Green Beer

Green beer has become popular for many reasons but mostly due to its association with St Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world where people gather to celebrate Irish culture and heritage with drinks that include this special hue.

On top of that, many bars take advantage of seasonal or holiday sales periods by serving up graciously tinted suds! Green beer is also served at sporting events like hockey games or golf tournaments – any time an event wants to spread good cheer (or just get people drinking!).

It also makes appearances at other types of parties: birthday parties, weddings…you name it!

Benefits And Disadvantages Of Green Beer


  • It’s festive and fun!
  • It looks cool and stands out
  • It’s easy to make at home or find at bars and restaurants near you


  • It tastes different than traditional styles
  • The dye can stain your clothing if spilled (not so great if you’re wearing your Sunday best!)

Recipes To Make Your Own Green Beer

Making green beer at home has never been easier – all you need are:

  • A light-colored lager or ale – A few drops of food coloring (check labels for compatible dyes) – A shaker cup or bottle for mixing (optional)


  1. Pour your preferred amount into a glass or shaker cup.
  2. Add two drops of food coloring into the glass/cup with your beverage; mix well until blended throughout the liquid (use a spoon if needed).
  3. Enjoy responsibly!

Celebrating St Patrick’s Day With Green Beer

No one celebrates St Patrick’s Day quite like Ireland – but wherever you are in the world, celebrating this holiday can be even more special when shared alongside friends over a pint (or two!) of vibrant emerald green beer!

Whether you’re hosting an Irish pub crawl, throwing a party for family and friends at home or sipping on your favorite ales separately – raising your glasses together over pints will turn any celebration into something extraordinary!

So don’t forget about adding this festive brew into your holiday plans next time March 17th rolls around…just remember: drink responsibly!


Green beer remains a popular part of celebrating holidays worldwide – from its rich history steeped in Irish culture on St Patrick’s Day celebrations all over Ireland, Europe and North America – even down under here in Australia where pubs often serve it up during summertime barbecues on beaches across our beautiful nation!

From famous festivals including Oktoberfest held annually in Germany each autumn; through summertime barbecues, sporting events & more – don’t forget about the emerald elixir that puts smiles on faces everywhere!

So get yourself ready this spring & fill those glasses up…don’t forget: no matter how tasty it looks – always drink responsibly and celebrate accordingly.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, homebrewer and beer taster. I’m also the editor of Beer100. I love travelling the world and trying out new handcraft beer and different beer styles. I’m not an expert in brewing beer, but I know a few things about beer, which I share on this blog. If you need help or have a question, please comment below.

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