While it might not be at the forefront of your mind as the bartender pours you another fermented wheat beverage this St.Patrick’s Day, here at Friday we like to ask questions. So why green beer?
Weirdly enough, green beer doesn’t originate in Ireland, its first record was in New York. Dr. Thomas Curtin was an Irish American physician who made green beer for a St.Patrick’s Day party at the Schenerer Club of Morrisania located in the Bronx in 1914. While other records show green beer was consumed before this date, including a headline from the Spokane Press in 1910 that read “Green Beer Be Jabbers!”, Curtin gets most of the street cred.
While your green beer today is made with classic lager and a few drops of green or blue food colouring, Dr.Curtin made it a little differently back then. The substance used was called wash blue – an iron powder solution embedded with a dye that was used to make white clothes bright again. Unfortunately the beer still had acetaldehyde in it not only giving it a terrible taste, but making the beer connoisseurs sick (and not in the way you’d think). Nowadays your biggest worry is going home with a green tongue and a headache in the morning.
Green beer is now widely accepted as a symbol of St.Patricks Day, so much so that beer sales go up by 174% on this holiday! For your connivence, here's three Calgary bars with St.Patrick's Day specials you won't want to miss.
Lennox Irish Pub
5909 Signal Hill Centre SW
Serving $6 Green 2515 Lager all day and a "Lucky Hour" featuring $4 highballs, Irish Food features and discount Guinness pints.
213 10 Ave SW
Enjoy your beer while playing air hockey and hoops. Greta is serving up $3 Guinness and green beer between 3 pm and 6 pm.
Ship & Anchor Pub
534 17th Ave SW
Ship & Anchor is dusting off the St.Patrick's decorations for the first time since 2019. To celebrate they will have live music starting a 12 pm featuring bands such as Red Hot Hayseeds and the Nova Scotiables.
So what are you still reading this for? Go get a pint, tell them Team Friday sent you.