Category Archives: Beer

Happy St. Pat’s Day, But Why Green Beer?

Happy St. Pat’s Day, But Why Green Beer?

St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated annually on March 17th, is a day where people around the world don their best green attire, attend parades, and consume green beer. But have you ever wondered why we drink green beer on this day?

The origins of St. Patrick’s Day can be traced back to the early 17th century when the day was declared a religious holiday in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. Over time, the holiday evolved into a celebration of Irish culture and heritage, with green being the traditional color associated with Ireland.

Green beer, on the other hand, is a more recent addition to the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. It is believed that the tradition of drinking green beer started in the United States in the early 20th century. At the time, the country was experiencing a surge in Irish immigration, and St. Patrick’s Day became an important day for Irish-Americans to celebrate their heritage.

One popular theory behind the origin of green beer is that it was started by a New York City bartender named Dr. Thomas Curtin. In 1914, he reportedly added a few drops of green food coloring to beer as a way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The idea caught on, and soon other bars began to follow suit.

Another theory is that green beer became popular during Prohibition in the United States. During this time, it was illegal to sell alcohol, but people still found ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with clandestine gatherings. Green beer became a way to add some color and fun to these underground parties.

Regardless of its origins, green beer has become a staple of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world. Many bars and restaurants serve green beer on this day, and some even hold contests to see who can drink the most.

If you’re wondering how green beer is made, the answer is simple: food coloring. A few drops of green food coloring are added to a light-colored beer such as pilsner or lager. The resulting drink is a bright green color that is sure to catch the eye.

However, it’s worth noting that not everyone is a fan of green beer. Some people find the idea of coloring their beer unappealing, while others are concerned about the health effects of consuming food coloring.

If you’re looking for a more traditional way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you might consider trying an Irish stout such as Guinness. This rich, dark beer has been brewed in Ireland for over 250 years and is a favorite of many beer lovers around the world.

In the end, whether you choose to drink green beer or opt for a more traditional brew, the most important thing is to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones on this festive day. St. Patrick’s Day is a time to celebrate Irish culture and heritage, and there’s no better way to do that than by raising a glass and saying “Sláinte!”

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Posted by on March 17, 2023 in Beer


How Beer Became the Official Drink of St. Patrick’s Day

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day – a day filled with green, shamrocks, and, of course, beer! This holiday is all about celebrating the Irish heritage and culture, and one of the most popular ways to do so is by raising a glass of beer. Whether you’re Irish or not, there’s just something about St. Patrick’s Day that makes us want to indulge in a pint or two.

The tradition of drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day is one that goes back centuries. In Ireland, it was common for people to attend church in the morning and then head to the local pub to celebrate the holiday with friends and family. There, they would raise a glass of their favorite Irish brew and enjoy the music and festivities. This tradition has continued to this day, and Irish pubs all over the world are packed with people looking to celebrate the holiday with a pint of beer.

Speaking of Irish beer, there are plenty of great options to choose from. Guinness, Murphy’s, Smithwick’s, and Harp are just a few of the most popular brands, and each one has its own unique flavor and character. Many of these beers are brewed using traditional methods and recipes, and they’re a great way to experience the taste of Ireland.

Of course, not everyone is a fan of traditional Irish beer, and that’s okay too! St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate, and if you prefer a different type of beer, that’s perfectly fine. Many bars and breweries now offer special St. Patrick’s Day beers, including green beer, which has become a popular option in recent years.

While drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day is a fun and festive tradition, it’s important to do so responsibly. Alcohol can impair judgment and coordination, and drinking too much can lead to accidents and other problems. If you plan on drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, make sure to do so in moderation, and never drink and drive.

One thing that’s great about the tradition of drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day is that it brings people together. Whether you’re celebrating with friends, family, or even strangers at a local pub, there’s a sense of camaraderie and community that comes with raising a glass and toasting to the holiday. It’s a time to let loose, have some fun, and enjoy the company of those around you.

In conclusion, the tradition of drinking beer on St. Patrick’s Day is one that has stood the test of time. Whether you’re a fan of traditional Irish beer or prefer something different, there’s no denying the appeal of raising a glass to celebrate the holiday. Just remember to do so responsibly, and enjoy the day with friends, family, and anyone else who wants to join in on the fun. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Posted by on March 13, 2023 in Beer


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Lent and Beer, A Match Made in Heaven

Lent and Beer, A Match Made in Heaven

Lent, the period of fasting, prayer, and penance observed by Christians, has a rich history that goes back centuries. One of the lesser-known aspects of this tradition is the role that beer has played in Lenten observances.

Beer, as we know it today, has been around for thousands of years. It was a staple of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, and it played a significant role in many cultures, including medieval Europe. During the Middle Ages, beer was an essential part of the daily diet of Europeans, and it was often safer to drink than water, which was often contaminated.

In many parts of Europe, Lent is associated with fasting and abstinence. The Catholic Church traditionally forbids the consumption of meat on Fridays during Lent, and in some countries, such as Ireland, meat is also forbidden on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. However, there has been some debate over the centuries about whether or not beer is an acceptable beverage during Lent.

One argument against beer during Lent is that it is a form of luxury that contradicts the spirit of self-denial that is at the heart of the Lenten observance. Some theologians have argued that beer is a food and should be treated as such, while others have pointed out that it contains alcohol, which is a form of intoxication and therefore violates the spirit of sobriety that is also important during Lent.

Despite these objections, beer has remained a popular part of Lenten observances in many parts of Europe. In fact, some monasteries have a long tradition of brewing their own beer, and the monks who live there often drink beer during Lent. One of the most famous examples of this is the Trappist brewery in Westvleteren, Belgium, which produces some of the world’s most sought-after beers. The monks who live there are known for their strict adherence to the principles of the Benedictine Rule, which emphasizes prayer, work, and hospitality. They believe that beer is a gift from God and that it should be enjoyed in moderation, as part of a balanced diet.

Beer has also played a role in some of the celebrations that take place during Lent. In Germany and Austria, for example, there is a tradition of holding beer festivals during Lent, known as Starkbierzeit or “strong beer season.” These festivals celebrate the strong, dark beers that are brewed specifically for Lent, and they often feature music, dancing, and other forms of entertainment.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during Lent, is a major celebration that often involves drinking beer, particularly the country’s famous stout. While St. Patrick’s Day is not technically part of the Lenten observance, it is still a significant part of the religious and cultural traditions of Ireland, and beer has played a role in those traditions for centuries.

In conclusion, while there has been some debate over the centuries about the role of beer in Lenten observances, it is clear that beer has played a significant role in the religious and cultural traditions of many parts of Europe. From the monasteries that brew their own beer to the beer festivals that celebrate the strong, dark beers of Lent, beer has been a part of these traditions for centuries. Whether or not one chooses to include beer in their Lenten observance is a personal choice, but it is clear that for many people, beer is an important part of their religious and cultural heritage.

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Posted by on March 8, 2023 in Beer


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Air Travel and Great Beer is Taking Flight


Photo credit: Cathay Pacific

The summer travel season will be upon us again soon and for many that means air travel. Anyone brave enough to face the line at TSA deserves more than just a tiny bag of pretzels and a half cup of soda. They deserve a cold, refreshing beer. But, though airlines often tout the quality of their food (in first class, of course) and wine selection, quality beer is often jettisoned in favor of low flavor national brands.

A quick online search of the major American airlines will provide a look at what is offered in the friendly skies. And, though things are looking better for the craft beer lover than it did several years ago, the choice is still sparse. Take American airlines for instance, a recent flight found four mass produced brews and just two craft brews – Sam Adams Boston Lager and New Belgium Voodoo  Ranger Lager. With the most craft beers is JetBlue. Fliers on that airline can choose from Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Brooklyn Lager, Sam Adams Oktoberfest and Lagunitas Pale Ale. Delta has taken to providing a regional craft beer on some of their flights.

There’s another problem frequent flyers who happen to enjoy good beer have to deal with; the difference in taste. Yes, beer tastes different when you are over six miles up in the sky. The reason for this is the very low humidity and pressurization in the airplane’s cabin.

The very dry air also dries out your sinuses and causes your taste buds to temporarily become less sensitive to salty and sweet flavors. The loss of your ability to sense sweetness tends to cause bitter flavors to become more pronounced.

The altitude also reduces the carbonation in beer. Less atmospheric pressure equates to less carbon dioxide bubbles. Lower carbonation, like dryer air, leads to degradation of flavor.  Beer that feels flat tends to lose a great deal of its mouthfeel and along with that its appeal. The right amount of carbonation in beer leads to its refreshing, crisp flavor. Flat beer tastes dull and lifeless.

One airline, albeit not an American airline, has tried to overcome the short-comings of beer at altitude. Cathay Pacific, a Hong Kong-based airline, has created Betsy, a beer specifically formulated to taste great even at 35,000 feet.

The brew is served on the airline’s flights between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom using ingredients from both countries. Ingredients like dragon’s eye fruit lend sweetness and textural enhancements while honey amps up the sweetness a bit more to fight the bitterness brought out by the dry pressurized air of an airliner’s cabin. The addition of British Fuggles hops rounds out the flavor with a pleasing earthiness.

Other airlines have made forays into making beer better while flying. Danish brewers Mikkeller have teamed up with Scandinavian Air to create a beer that is enjoyable in the air. And Dutch airline KLM struck deal with Heineken to serve draft beer in first class. For this the brewery and airline had to work together to create a new to send beer to the tap since pressurized CO2 is far too dangerous to use on an airplane.

So, as you head out on your travels this year, you may want to check with the airline to see if you can expect to enjoy your flight a bit more or just more of the same ol’ thing.

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Posted by on April 25, 2019 in Beer


Go Ahead, Give It a Poke


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Though they were not the originators of beer, the German people embraced the drink with a passion akin to obsession. Because of their love of the stuff, beer and Germany are inextricably intertwined in the collective consciousness of the entire world. Traditions sprang up around the consumption of beer, some commonplace like bier gartens and bier fests and as esoteric as using bierstacheln.

Wait, bierstacheln?

Bierstacheln, or beer spikes, are red hot metal pokers – pubs and taverns often used loggerheads, a common tool for 19th century shipbuilders – to rapidly warm beer that was too cold. In the process, the sugars in the beer became caramelized and carbonation was decreased leaving a sweeter, smoother beer. The spikes were also used to warm up other drinks such as toddies and a unique beer cocktail known as a flip that contained beer, rum, sugar and sometimes egg and cream. Disturbingly, the spikes were reportedly used to cauterize wounds, too.

According to German beer website,, “Beer spikes were invented by blacksmiths in the Middle Ages. If their after-work beer was too cold for them, they briefly dipped a glowing poker into it. So they could quickly bring their beer to drinking temperature after hard work.”

The best beers to use bierstacheln with are bock beers. First brewed in the northern German town of Einbeck in the 14th century, bock beer quickly became a favorite in the southern German city of Munich. Because of the differing accent of southern German speech, the origin city of Einbeck was pronounced “ein bock” a phrase that referred to a billy goat. As the heavy, malty and highly alcoholic lager grew in popularity the name stuck and brewers often included a goat on the label as a bit of visual humor.

Bock beer gave rise to several variations; dopplebock, literally double bock, is a stronger version of bock at 7% to 12%; maibock is a lighter, yet still strong version; eisbock is a version that is froen to remove some of the water and raise the alcohol content; and finally weizenbock is a wheat version of the brew.

For the purpose of beer poking, the darker versions of bock are the best as are stouts, browns and porters.

The practice of beer poking – some American breweries call it gustungling, but I could not find a translation for the word – has become something of a novelty in the U.S., particularly at breweries in the colder climates of the country.

Minnesota seems to be the epicenter of American beer poking with both Fitger’s Brewhouse and Lake Superior Brewing poking their beers for several years now. But, it was Strange Land Brewery in Austin, Tx. that made headlines when it held a beer poking in 2017.

While sticking a hot poker in your beer may not sound like something you might want to try here in the warm climate of Florida. The novelty of how it might bring new flavors from beer is appealing. Just be sure to not attempt this technique after too many beers or you may end up cauterizing yourself wound or not.


Minnesota has been ground zero for the phenomenon. Fitger’s Brewhouse and Lake Superior Brewing have been giving bocks the brûlée treatment at their joint Bockfest for some years, and just last month, Northbound Smokehouse offered patrons the chance to warm up their Eisbock with red-hot Rebar.

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Posted by on April 18, 2019 in Beer