Green Beer

5 from 50 votes

Making your own Green Beer is a festive way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — or any occasion where the color green needs to shine! Don’t let the color fool you like a leprechaun — these emerald beers taste just like regular beer. Here are the best beers to use and the right way to add food coloring to beer.

Two green beers sit with a can of blonde ale beer, almonds and a gold beaded necklace.

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Green beer recipe

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at home, but don’t want to miss out on all the bar fun? You can make green beer at home!

All you need is your favorite light beer and a little bit of food coloring and you’ll be on your way to a festive St. Patrick’s Day party.

And the proper pouring technique! It’s all about having good form when you are serving beer.

Keep reading for the best way to make shamrock-colored beers with the best, brightest, most brilliant green color.

More St. Patrick’s Day recipes: Black Velvet DrinkIrish MuleIrish Coffee

Why you’ll love this recipe

Celebrating St. Paddy’s day is more fun with green beer, isn’t it? You’re going to love how easy it is.

  • It’s is a festive drink for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.
  • You can easily make it at home with food coloring. It won’t alter the taste!
  • Use your favorite beer (with a few exceptions), so you know it will taste good!

You could also enjoy green beer in honor of a sports team who dons an emerald hue! In fact, the students of Miami University in Ohio celebrate Green Beer Day the Thursday before spring break each year.

Mardi Gras and Christmas could also work for green beer. (Grinch beer, anyone?)

A close up of two glasses of green beer alongside gold beaded necklaces on a white surface.

What is green beer?

Green beer is a common type of beverage on bar menus during the month of March, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.

This colorful drink is often made with green food coloring and a light colored beer, usually a cheap commercial brew.

Some breweries have experimented with green ingredients like spiriting and spinach to yield green results.

Tools & glassware

For green beer, you will want to serve it up in any type of clear beer glass.

A pint glass is most common, but these can-shaped glasses that I used are just as fun (they hold about 12 ounces).

You could also go for beer steins (AKA beer mugs) or a goblet (AKA a chalice glass). Here are some favorite beer glasses:

If you don’t want to use glass, these clear plastic cups would work just fine.

A can of Sycamore Southern Girl Blonde Ale sits next to a container of green food coloring.

Ingredients

You only need two ingredients to make green beer at home!

Best beer for green beer

The best beer for green beer is one that’s light in color. These lighter beers work really well:

  • Hefeweizen
  • lager
  • blonde ale
  • pale ale
  • wheat beer

You could use a commercially-made, regular beer like Budweiser, Corona or Heineken to make this festive green drink. But if your city has a local craft beer scene, I encourage you to support them. (I used a blonde ale from my local brewery, Sycamore Brewing.)

Though the kind of beer does matter, what it really comes down to is the color of the beer. The lighter the color, the better, since we’re mixing it with green dye.

As beer comes in different shades of yellow, amber, brown and orange, the color can affect how the food color will take. The more pale and yellow the ale, the brighter the green color will be. The more orange/brown, the darker the green will be.

This will also work with non-alcoholic beer, sparkling lemonade, cider and hard seltzer — as long as they are light or clear in color.

You could certainly try this method with darker beers such as porters and stouts (like Guinness). You won’t really see the green hue, though a little bit might come through in the foamy, frothy head on top.

A green beer sits with almonds and a gold beaded necklace.

Food coloring

Food coloring is what is used to make green beer green. Though food color doesn’t typically alter the taste of the beer, natural food dyes might add a subtle flavor.

The first time I tested this recipe, I toyed with both green food coloring and a mixture of blue and yellow food coloring.

This method also works with any liquid food coloring. You can make red beer, blue beer or even purple beer — have fun! (But keep in mind that beer is yellow, so the color of your beer might impact the color.)

An overhead view of green beer in a glass.

Variations and substitutions

Non-alcoholic green beer: You can use non-alcoholic beer (such as Athletic Brewing Company), sparkling cider, kombucha or sparkling lemonade — as long as it is light in color.

Dark green beer: Instead of green food dye, use one drop of blue and one drop of yellow food coloring to deepen the emerald hue.

Lime green beer: For a bright green-colored beer, Use this bright green food coloring instead of regular green food coloring.

Green Guinness: Guinness is such a dark beer that it doesn’t show the food coloring well. However, you can still color the foam on top of your pint of Guinness if you like. Add several extra drops of food coloring to the bottom of the glass.

Two glasses of green beer.

How to make green beer

I tried several methods for dyeing the beer, and this was the winner.

You might think you should drop the food coloring right into the bottle or can, but no! Or maybe you think you could add it to the glass once poured, but also no!

There is a better way, let me show you!

A drop of green food coloring falls into a glass.

Simply add a drop of food color to the bottom of your glass, then pour in a can or bottle of light-colored beer.

If you’re using a keg, do it the same way: Add food color to the glass first, then pour on top.

A can of Sycamore beer is poured into a glass on top of green food coloring.

It will immediately begin to turn the liquid green — in addition, the foamy layer on top (called the “head”).

Beer begins to turn green as it is poured into a glass with green food coloring.

It’s best to pour a beer into a glass at a 45-degree angle, so that the liquid is hitting the side of the glass. Once the beer is about ¾-full, tilt the glass right side up as you continue to pour.

(I didn’t have a helper the day I took these photos, so forgive my form here, bartenders!)

Tips & tricks

Use just one or two drops of green food coloring. One is plenty — trust me! If an extra drop gets in there, it’s fine but the color will be darker.

Be sure to use a beer that has a light color, such as a blonde ale or Hefeweizen. Stay away from dark beers like stouts and porters.

Serve these green beers with other St. Patrick’s Day dishes. You could try green foods like colcannon mash or sweet recipes like Baileys chocolate chip cookies.

A can-shaped glass of green beer sits in front of another glass and gold bead necklaces.

FAQ

What is a green beer?

Green beer is beer that has either been pigmented with green food coloring or brewed with green ingredients, like spinach or spirulina, that alters the color of the beer.

Why do people drink green beer?

Green beer is a common beverage enjoyed in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, an Irish holiday. Green is one of the colors on the Irish flag, and Ireland is often called the Emerald Isle.

Does green beer taste different?

Green food coloring does not typically alter the taste of the beer it is added to. However, a natural food dye might have a distinct flavor, albeit a subtle one.

More green drinks

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A can-shaped glass of green beer sits in front of another glass and gold bead necklaces.

Green Beer

Yield: 12 ounces
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Celebrate the luck of the Irish with a green beer on St. Patrick's Day! It's easy to make at home with food coloring.
5 from 50 votes
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ingredients

  • 12 ounces beer light-colored (see notes)
  • 1-2 drops green food coloring or mix 1 drop yellow plus 1 drop blue

instructions

  • Add a drop of food color to the bottom of your glass. (Two is okay but one is best for the lightest, brightest color.)
  • Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle. Then pour the beer over top of the food coloring. It will immediately begin to turn the liquid green.
  • Once the beer is about ¾-full, tilt the glass right side up as you continue to pour.

notes

Be sure to use a beer that has a light color, such as:
  • Hefeweizen
  • lager
  • blonde ale
  • pale ale
  • wheat beer
You may try this method with porters and stouts (like Guinness). You won’t see ad bright of a green hue, though a little bit might come through in the foamy, frothy head on top.
Use just one drop of food color. It’s plenty — trust me! If an extra drop gets in there, it’s fine but the color will be darker.
If you prefer a darker color, you can use 1 drop of blue and 1 drop of yellow food coloring.

recommended products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

nutrition information

Yield: 12 ounces

amount per serving:

Serving: 12ounces Calories: 12kcal Carbohydrates: 1g Protein: 0.1g Sodium: 1mg Potassium: 8mg Calcium: 1mg Iron: 0.01mg
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!
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