Dear Ace, St. Patrick’s Day is Friday and I’m on the hunt for some green beer. Where’s it at?—Seamus O’Drinkerson
Hate to be the lead in your pot o’ gold, Seamus, but St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t always the celebration of drunkenness it is today. In Ireland it’s a day of reverence for patron Saint Patrick, and originally had stern religious significance. The holiday was first celebrated in the United States in 1737 with a parade through Boston. Around 1738, green food coloring was invented and bad beer got a little worse. Calling over to the Corner, O’Neill’s Irish Pub manager Ashley Mauter told Ace that the coloring their bartenders add on St. Patrick’s Day has no effect on flavor (that would be, Ace conjectures, because the average American light beer has no flavor, anyway).
Green beer is just another brilliant Amer-ican get-rich-quick scheme, like the 24-hour drive-thru or any of Rob Schneider’s movies. Sure, green is the color of spring, the shamrock and all things Irish, but in America, green happens to be the color of money, y’all. That’s why green beer on St. Paddy’s is like pastel M&Ms at Easter or green and red everything at Christmastime. We see a once-holy day of religious observance, wrap it in cellophane and upchuck it into Wal-mart for you to enjoy. And what’s more American than an excuse to get drunk?
As badass as we’d like to think we are, we’re actually lagging in worldwide per capita beer consumption, despite Ace’s heroic efforts to reverse that trend. According to the global beverage research company Canadean, our 2004 average of 79 liters per capita earned us a worldwide ranking of 12. Compare that to Ireland’s average of 135 liters per capita. We’re not even in the same dimension!
If you do choose to indulge on Friday, Ace believes there’s only one color you should consider: black. Even if it, too, has been sucked up by the corporate machine, Ireland’s national beer has been and forever will be Guinness. As the boys say, “It’s [expletive deleted] brilliant!”
O.K., maybe you can’t shake your green beer fix. In that case, O’Neill’s Irish Pub will be waiting for you—bright and early. They’ll be opening an hour early that day, at 10am, and Mauter says that clear through until closing time, 2am, the place will be “packed” with Leprachauns of every nationality, color and creed.