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Green Beer and Keeping it Real

St Patrick’s Day is a day in America where everyone becomes Irish. It can be argued that St. Patrick's Day is celebrated here in the U.S. more than it is in Ireland. In the U.S. it is quite common to enjoy a pint, or several pints, of green beer on St. Patrick's Day. Why? Ireland is sometimes known as the Emerald Isle because it is richly green. Beyond that there is an old tradition known as “drown the shamrock” where a shamrock leaf is dropped into a shot of whiskey. It was believed that the 3 leaves of the shamrock represented the holy trinity. Some say that gave the whiskey a green tint but it is more likely due to the light reflecting off the shamrock.

So where did green beer come into play? In Ireland, green beer is a term for 'unfinished beer'. On a busy day, such as St. Patrick’s Day, it was common to run out of the finished casks in the cellars and the unfinished “green” casks would be tapped to keep the celebrations going. This translated to the idea of putting green food coloring in beer; very much a New York and Boston tradition for St. Patrick's Day. Really, it is not an Irish tradition. So if you want a green beer at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, go to one of our breweries and ask a brewer to pull a taste out of the fermenter. That’s literally what green beer is. I am sure, however, that you will prefer the finished stuff on tap. We will keep it real for you and avoid the additions of food coloring to your beer. Cheers!

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