St. Patrick's Day Green Beer Recipe

Bright green beer for St. Patrick's Day in stemmed beer glasses

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 1 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 1 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 drink
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
153 Calories
0g Fat
13g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 14mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 96mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Is your St. Patrick’s Day incomplete without a pint of green beer? If you have been enjoying an emerald-colored beer at the bar year after year and now want to make it at home, it may surprise you how easy it actually is.

Green beer is a novelty that American drinkers have latched onto and it has quickly become the drink to have each and every St. Patrick’s Day. There is something appealing about turning everything green on the Irish holiday and beer just happens to be one of the most popular items to play with. There is no trick to making green beer and it requires no special bartending skills. It is, quite simply, a light-colored beer that has a drop of green food coloring added to it. The flavor does not change, only the color.

Rumor has it, a doctor created green beer as we know it. Dr. Thomas Curtin, a coroner's physician and eye surgeon, first colored beer for a St. Patrick's Day party at the Schnerer Club of Morrisania in the Bronx in 1914.

There is even a Green Beer Day if you need another reason to drink green beer. Green Beer Day is a day-long party where celebrants drink beer dyed green. The tradition started at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and was first celebrated in 1952. It is celebrated annually on the Thursday before spring break. Students begin to drink in the early morning on Green Beer Day; bars in Oxford open at about 5 a.m. 

It should be noted that if you want to drink like a real Irishman and celebrate the Emerald Isle’s heritage, nothing is more appropriate than a pint of Guinness or a shot of Irish whiskey.

"You can't have St. Patty's Day without green beer! I love using an Irish pale ale or pilsner, like Harp. You can even make a cider version using Magners! Just be sure to use liquid food color and not gel, since it won't mix as well." —Laurel Randolph

green beer/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 12 ounces beer

  • 1 drop green food coloring

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for green beer recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Add 1 drop of green food coloring to a clear glass.

    Drop of green food coloring in a stemmed beer glass

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Pour the beer into the glass. Serve immediately

    Beer being poured into the glass with the green food coloring

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack


Liquid food coloring works best for this recipe. Avoid gel and paste food colorings since they won't readily mix into the cold beer.

Choosing the Right Beer

Any beer will work when making green beer, however, some produce a brighter green color than others:

  • To get the greenest of beers, begin with a light-colored brew. This includes any of the popular American lagers like Budweiser, Miller, Busch, or Coors. Those are favorite beers and, given the novelty aspect of green beer, may be the best choice.
  • However, do not forget about all of the great pale-colored craft beers, the amazing German pilsners, and any of the other higher quality beers that are available today. The beer market is vast, and there are many more choices than those from the giant breweries.
  • If you would like to play around with a darker beer, you will find an interesting effect. Stouts and other dark beers have a rich color that is not transparent enough to allow the green food coloring to give that signature emerald green beer look. However, the body of the beer will turn darker and have a slight evergreen hue in the right light. The coolest part is the ​foam will pick up the food coloring, and though it may not last long, take on that green color.