St. Patrick’s Day means green: green clothes, green décor and, of course, green beer. All it takes to make a brew as emerald as the Isle herself is a couple drops of food coloring, right? That wasn’t the case 101 years ago when the idea for the hued brew was cooked up in New York City (not Ireland!). That year, the toastmaster of a Bronx social club’s St. Paddy’s celebration added a drop of “wash blue” to the beer.
“Wash blue” is an iron powder solution embedded with a dye that was once used to make dingy whites bright again. Combined with lager – presumably, at a potency level low enough not to sicken you – it makes for a festive drink, plus we can presume that one’s teeth will be their brightest!
Around 4.2 billion pints of green beer will be consumed this year in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
SOURCE: Smithsonianmag.com 3/16/15