Look At The Beer In Your Hand. Is It Green? Shame On You!

It dawned on me about a week ago, that Saint Patrick’s day was going to come and go without a related post by yours truly.  At first I felt sad, after all I like Saint Patrick’s day, my kids and I have a pretty nice tradition of celebrating it, and with its adoption of American as one of our sacred drinking holidays, it just screams, “blog post”.

But no, nothing was on the docket this year and to be honest, considering I have about two event posts I “owe” people and a couple of other ideas rattling around in my head, I was pretty comfortable in letting SPs slip by with nary an acknowledgement.

But the other night, this hit my twitter feed.

tweet 1

Let it pass Ed.  Let it pass.  Just a whisper in the drone of Twitter.  The world will not end if you do not respond.

tweet 2

DAMN IT!!  I said let it pass!  God, now you look like some Saint Patrick’s day dick.  Ok, well you are.  But now you look it to all your followers, you know, the tens of them!  Don’t panic, I’m sure just like many of your tweets it will go unresponded too.

tweet 3

Ah shit.  Really?  Ok, Ed be polite, just back away slowly.

tweet 4

That’s good.

tweet 5

*Facepalm* Ok, you see in 1740 the number one crop in Ireland was potatoes which at that time was the sole food source for one third of the population.  However, that year potato blight wiped out….forget it, I only have 140 characters.

tweet 6

And that was the end.  To be fair, I think the other person was having a bit of sport with me, and to be honest I wasn’t really that bent over the exchange, but I have to state that my open salvo was sincere, to hijack a line from Alton Brown, “green beer…..like stuffing…..is evil.”

I mean if you want to spend your hard earned money on an American adjunct lager with green food dye in it, that’s your right.  For just about everything else in the world, although I might think you mad, I’d certainly leave you alone to enjoy your glass of holiday misrepresentation.  Unfortunately, as I wrote in a blog post last year, I’m a self professed Saint Patrick’s day snob, and constantly find myself railing against all the horrible trappings that Americans have draped onto the holiday.  So I’m sorry, but green beer is crap.


Well for one, it’s not Irish.  An early account of green beer shows up in the Thursday, March 26th, 1914 edition of St Petersburg (FL), The Evening Independent, where it is reported that the annual Schnerer Club (NY) Saint Patrick’s Day celebration included green beer.  The article goes on to say that the beer was the discovery of one Dr Curtain who states that the effect was achieved by “about one drop of wash blue in a certain volume of beer”.

Which tells you two things.  First, Dr Curtain wasn’t much of a business man, as he failed to patent or trademark this process in anyway basically forfeiting any future monetary income he might have garnered from his “invention”.  He compounded the issue by telling everyone exactly how to make it (although the article makes it sound like he was being secretive about the process, as if anyone couldn’t put one drop of dye in a glass and fill it up with beer until it’s the desired color).  Although in his defense he probably thought no one would ever be interested in drinking green beer again when they woke up the next morning with a terrible hangover and a green slime on their teeth and tongue that wouldn’t wear off for 4 to 5 days.

Second, a Doctor?  Really?  I mean I know medicine wasn’t “all that” in 1914, but who the heck would think dying beer with wash blue would be a safe thing?  Wasn’t their food coloring back then?  Really, if the beer didn’t give you a raging noggin knocker the next morning, your brain trying to cope with whatever industrial chemicals are in laundry grade dye certainly would.

Ok, going off topic a bit.  Regardless of whether your beer gets its emerald hue from a food grade coloring or something from your Grateful Dead loving Aunt’s tie dye basket, it simply has no history in Irish culture – especially the beer culture.  I mean, if Saint Patrick was the patron Saint of Uganda, which as far as I know has no good beer to speak of, then by all means color a glass for the Emerald African Country (disclaimer: I don’t think that’s really Uganda’s nickname but I’m running with it) and have at it.  But really, Ireland has some GREAT beers, and I see you in the crowd shaking your heads and foaming at the mouth like you just gargled a nonic glass full of Draino because you all tried Guinness when you were 16, having just stopped drinking Kool Aid the year before (which actually should have been the LAST time you were seen drinking something green), and were scarred for life when you found out that, unlike the stuff you were stealing out of  your dad’s fridge, it actually had a little flavor to it.

Fine, there’s Smithwick’s Irish Ale, O’hara’s Irish Pale, Murphy’s Irish Red and good ol’ Harp to fall back on.  All of which are excellent replacements for the glass of holiday deception in your hand.  Want to try a taste of the dark again, but gun shy of Guinness?  To be honest, I prefer Murphy’s Stout, although Beamish, and O’Hara’s will do in a pinch.  Heck, I wouldn’t even say no to a Irish-style, American craft beer.  There are breweries out there that make good ones, and none of them are green.

And let’s not forget the most important thing, all these alternatives look better in your hand making you, by default, look better.  Face it, nothing says Saint Patrick’s day amateur like a big mug of green beer.  It says that you don’t care, that you have no sense of cultural awareness, and that in truth, you probably aren’t even Irish (even though that button assures me that you are, and that I should kiss you because of it), and if you are indeed Irish, then your ancestors disown you.  I’m being truthful here.  We all had a meeting.  You’re an Englishman now.

But being Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day is not important, looking like one is.  And no good Irish men would be caught with anything green in his glass.  Let me demonstrate.  Look at the following picture.

But we see you as this.

This is how we see you.  Not pretty, huh?  Now look  what happens when I Photoshop the green beer out of that picture.

You believe you are coming across like this.

Notice the difference?  Now you look distinguished, well mannered, and dare I say, gentlemanly?

So say no to green beer, if not for adherence to Ireland’s fine brewing culture then at least for the simple reason that no one looks good drinking it.

Yeah, well you ain't her.
Yeah, well you ain’t her.

Confessions of a Saint Patrick’s Day Snob

…I was McJedi Mind Tricked

It’s March, which means Saint Patrick’s day is around the corner, with all the hoopla that has become associated with it here in America. They say confession is good for the soul.  So here we go….

For almost anything in life, I don’t judge other people for what they enjoy doing.  If you’re into it, it’s your life, and as long as you’re a contributing member of society, I feel  you have the right to what ever you want to in your free time.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I might raise a Spock eyebrow in a “really?” type manner, but it’s not overly critical, or judgmental, because I know that people do it to me as well for things that I enjoy doing.  But sadly that mantra is impossible for me to maintain when it comes to Saint Patrick’s day.

You see when it comes to Saint Patrick’s Day, my attitude was shaped by a man who lived with a college friend of mine back in the early 80s.  This man, Brian, was an Irish national who worked for Phillip Morris and I spend much of my college time in his presence, learning about his country, soaking in his love for his culture, and yes, even sometimes slipping into his brogue when we spent to much time together.

I spent many a Saint Patrick’s in his presence, watching him celebrate the day the way he thought it should be celebrated, enjoying traditional music throughout the day,  enjoying a hearty meal, catching a parade if you wanted.  He made sure to always have a bottle of Jameson open in case friends came to visit, and more importantly, he always brought one when he was the visitor.

But during these celebrations I didn’t realize that a form of cultural programming was occurring that now deters me from joining others in the yearly rituals that have become associated with how we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day today here in America.  Somewhere along the way Brian planted the equivalent of a post hypnotic suggestion or the Irish equivalent of the ol’ McJedi Mind Trick, that lingers to this day, that if I could sum it up simply would be….

Don't be  this guy.
Don’t be this guy.

You seem to be enjoying yourself as you drunkenly shout “ERIN GO BRA-LESS” around the bar, as if hoping there’s an Erin in the room who is just drunk enought to take you up on your offer.

Don’t get me wrong, you all look like you’re having a great time, dressed up in green from head to toe, all decked out in the best collection of plastic, party shop bobbles that $16.95 will get you.  You seem to be enjoying yourself as you drunkenly shout “ERIN GO BRA-LESS” around the bar, as if hoping there’s an Erin in the room who is just drunk enough to take you up on your offer.

And I’m not going to lie (I’m lying), there have been occasions that I truly wished I could join in.  Oh how I’ve tried.  But sooner or later I end up sitting next to a person for whom Saint Patrick’s day is nothing more than a green flag to start a session of all day green beer binge drinking, who probably couldn’t find Ireland on the map the other 364 days out of the year.   It’s then that my “programming” kicks in and I just have to leave.

It’s me, not you (unless you’re drinking green beer, then it is definitely you). Brian was to strong of an influence in this aspect of my life.  The force was strong with that one.

Powerof the dark side

I just can’t break his programming, and because of that I just can’t join you in your merriment.

No, I’ll be celebrating as normal, with a crock pot of Guinness, lamb stew simmering as everything from traditional (The Chieftans) to non-traditional (Drop Kick Murphy’s) music plays throughout my house.  The family will be together, Guinness and Murphy’s will be enjoyed, and at the end of the day I’ll be sitting comfortably on the couch as I watch The Quiet Man.

Have fun….

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