When we started planning St. Patrick’s Day displays and gifts for you this year, the first thing that crossed our path was green beer. We thought we’d gather some fun notions around that subject to get your Irish-American blood pumping!
Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the first place?
It was originally a Catholic holiday set aside to honor an Irish Saint, named Patrick. Turns out Patrick wasn’t really Irish at all – he was born in Brittain and eventually ended up in Ireland doing so much good work that he was granted sainthood after his death. In the Catholic tradition, St. Patrick’s day falls during Lent and is the one day drinking is allowed, which may be at least partly the reason we ALL (christian and non) like to drink to excess on that day. If you’d care to learn more about the Saint himself, check out this video…
Is green beer really Irish?
Green beer originated in America. Legend has it that green beer was invented by a New York physician in the early 1900s for a big St. Paddy’s day celebration. The doc was vague about his recipe, but he did share that he used BLUE to achieve the deep green color. Today, green beer is a St. Patrick’s Day staple in many areas of the world, but NOT in Ireland. The true Irish beer-lover tends to drink very dark beer that wouldn’t color well and most wouldn’t be caught dead drinking a green one anyway. That’s not to say green beer is bad – it’s just American & not at all Irish.
Where do I get green beer?
We’ve yet to find a commercial green beer, but some beers are sold in green bottles. Brewers have bottled in glass for centuries and they realized quickly that beer bottled in clear glass got skunky if left in the sun. Turns out the sun’s UV rays can alter the chemistry of your beer. Dark brown bottles protect best, but demand for brown glass rose around World War II, so some brewers turned to green. Truth is, green glass doesn’t protect much better than clear, but some brewers have kept it for tradition’s sake.
Some beers are better suited to going green than others. The best choice is a light beer – a pilsner, pale ale or light lager. Your typical domestics (like Bud, Miller and Coors) are going to give you the best green and they’re a little lower in alcohol content giving you more time to party! Darker beers and stouts are going to take a TON of color to reach a state of green, which might change the flavor – so, something like a Guinness is probably best drunk as is.
Make your own green beer: You will need green food coloring, a light beer, and a glass (preferably a big ole beer stein). Add 3-5 drops of food coloring to your glass, then pour on the beer and enjoy!
Go out for green beer:
- Oklahoma City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade & festival is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 this year. The parade starts around 10am at Reno & Hudson and winds east towards the Bricktown Ballpark – the festival runs in Bricktown until 5pm.
- O’Connell’s Irish Pub and Grille in Norman is a great place to get a little Irish flare any time of year, and they’re especially loved for their annual St. Paddy’s celebration.
- Saints in the Plaza District is another great place to celebrate. They don’t show a food menu on their web site, but they appear to be affiliated with The Krow’s Nest which is known for excellent BBQ. Saints has a ton of different Irish cocktail options and features lots of local music throughout the year.
Hate Beer? Try whiskey instead!
If you hate beer, you might try celebrating with whiskey – Jameson being one of the best known Irish Whiskeys. Folks also love their Bailey’s Irish Cream and an Irish coffee gives you the best of both – it’s just coffee, spiked with Bailey’s and Jameson and topped off with whipped cream. Yum!
Wherever your St. Patrick’s Day partying takes you, we hope you’ll stop by and say hello. We have some fun pitcher and cocktail-to-go sets, along with mixers, glass & barware, and, as always, all of the beer, wine and spirits you need to make your holiday celebration complete!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from your friends at Camelot Wine & Spirits!!