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Tag Archives: Ireland

Green beer’s dubious beginnings

Green-BeerGreen beer has become a staple of many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations all across the United States. But, who came up with the original idea and why would someone take a perfectly good beer and turn it a most unnatural shade of green? By most accounts, the story of green beer goes back to New York City 102 years ago.

In the mostly Irish neighborhoods of the New York City borough the Bronx, a coroner and toastmaster by the name Dr. Thomas Hayes Curtin – himself an Irish immigrant — debuted his invention at a social club during a St. Patrick’s Day feast. Guests at the feast were astonished and delighted at the wondrous beer before them.

“No, it wasn’t a green glass, but real beer in a regular colorless glass,” wrote syndicated columnist, Charles Henry Adams in his column New York Day by Day, March 26, 1914. “But the amber hue was gone from the brew and a deep green was there instead.”

When pressed for the detail of how he had created the deep green brew, Adams reported that Curtin was reserved in his response. He would only say that the effect was achieved by adding a single drop of “wash blue” – an iron-based wash additive used to whiten clothes – to a certain volume of beer. He did not divulge the exact amount of beer he added the toxic substance to change it green but it was presumably a large enough volume to dilute the poisonous effects of wash blue.

But, another newspaper, the Spokane Press, also made mention of a green beer in 1910. Under a headline proclaiming, “Green Beer Be Jabbers!” (be jabbers is apparently an excited swear) the newspaper relates an account of a local bar pouring green beer. But, the beer did not get its color artificially.

“It is a regular beer,” the paper reported. “Apparently it has not been colored locally. It tastes like beer and looks like paint, or rather like the deep green waves in mid-ocean with the sun striking them through.”

The article went on to say that the bartender was the only person that knew how the beer had turned green and he was not revealing the secret.

“All day he has been drawing from one of the regular taps,” the article said. “And no one has seen him dump in any arsenic.”

A comforting thought, that.

The idea of serving green beer itself may have come from an old Irish tradition called “drowning the shamrock.” Men were said to have dropped a shamrock into their whiskey after parades and special events. The custom was meant to bring good luck to the imbiber because of the holy meaning ascribed to shamrocks.

Legend has it that St. Patrick himself used the abundant shamrock as a prop to explain the concept of the holy trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost — to King Laoghaire of Ireland in the early days of the Catholic church. The holiday now celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day began as a holy fest day to honor Patrick’s death on March 17, 461. Because the feast day falls in the middle of Lent when Catholics are supposed to practice abstinence from meat and alcohol, the church lifted the restrictions giving rise to over-consumption since Lent had several weeks left.

Whether green beer began in New York or Spokane, one thing is certain, there will be plenty of green beer flowing from taps next week for St. Patrick’s Day. Though now beer is tinted green with food coloring rather than poison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in Beer, Beer history

 

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Harp Lager to tap golfer as spokesperson

harplagerlogoBeer and golf go together like baseball and hot dogs. That is why pro golfer Graeme McDowell is lending his name and celebrity to one of Ireland’s favorite lagers, Harp. Over the years McDowell, who grew up just a few miles from the Harp brewery, has developed a real love affair with beer and when he was approached by Diageo Beer Company to be their spokesperson for Harp he jumped at it.

Read all about the partnership in the offical press release below:

DUBLIN, Ire. (Nov. 17, 2016) – Boiled down to their most basic terms, golf and beer seem like pretty simple concepts. One is all about hops, yeast, barley and water, while the other can be thought of as simply grass, a club, a ball, and a hole. What isn’t so obvious is the huge amount of hard work, dedication and precision that goes into each craft. A shared passion for these principles, as well as for quality beer-making, are what help draw together a beer like Harp Lager and an athlete like Graeme McDowell. Officially announced by the Irish beer today, the golfer and beer aficionado – who spent his early years just a short distance from the brewery – will tap into his love for the craft of brewing in an effort to put one of his long-time favorite beers back in the spotlight in the U.S.

McDowell knows a thing or two about golf. He’s won 13 tournaments in various parts of the world, including a big win at the 2010 U.S. Open, and has played on four European Ryder Cup teams. But he also knows a great deal about beer, especially Harp, and what it takes to produce quality – day after day, pint after pint. While many golfers are involved in winemaking when they’re not on the course, McDowell is now poised to blaze a trail alongside Harp within the beer category, while encouraging responsible drinking at the proverbial “19th hole.”

“Golf has taken me all around the world, which has also grown my beer knowledge, but it all started for me in Ireland, where I first got to know Harp,” said Graeme McDowell in acknowledgement of the new partnership. “I’ve always been a fan of great beer, and Harp and I have more in common than just being products of Ireland. We’re both trying to achieve a level of excellence that some might say isn’t even possible. I’m really excited to join up with them to do some exciting things in the near future.”

To begin the partnership, McDowell will appear in digital videos and social content for Harp, be featured on point of sale materials in both on and off-premise locations and also participate in press events in support of the beer.

Harp Lager was first brewed in 1960 by Guinness under the guidance of German master brewer, Dr. Herman Muender. The golden, clear lager has a dry and malty front with a crisp and hoppy finish, with an ABV of 4.5% and 21 IBUs.

“Graeme is so passionate about beer that he really understands why we go through such lengths in our brewing process, why we’re so particular about the ingredients we use and why we sometimes seem obsessed about how we present the Harp legacy to our fans,” said Dan Buttling, SVP Marketing, Diageo Beer Company. “He grew up down the road from the Harp Brewery and has brewed beer himself, so he’s as all in on the brand as we are.”

It’s par for the course to drink responsibly; please remember to do so when enjoying a Harp in the clubhouse or at home.

 

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2016 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Proven: Guinness DOES Taste Different Outside of Ireland

A friend forwarded this link to me yesterday. The story seems to claim that Guinness is not only brewed outside of Ireland, it also talks about an intrepid group of researchers who documented the fact that the beloved stout DOES taste different outside of Ireland.  

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/03/16/6283655-how-to-build-a-better-irish-beer

Furthermore, they published their findings in the March 2011 issue of The Journal of Food Science. Here is the article abstract:

This study aimed to test the much-pronounced but poorly supported theory that “Guinness does not travel well.” A total of 4 researchers from 4 different countries of origin traveled around the world for 12 mo to collect data on the enjoyment of Guinness and related factors. The main outcome was measured on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) from 0 (enjoyed it not at all) to 100 (enjoyed it very much). A total of 103 tastings were recorded (42 in Ireland, 61 elsewhere) in 71 different pubs spread over 33 cities and 14 countries. The enjoyment of Guinness consumed in Ireland was rated higher (74 mm VAS) than outside Ireland (57 mm; P < 0.001). This difference remained statistically significant after adjusting for researcher, pub ambience, Guinness appearance, and the sensory measures mouthfeel, flavor, and aftertaste. This study is the first to provide scientific evidence that Guinness does not travel well and that the enjoyment of Guinness (for our group of nonexpert tasters) was higher when in Ireland. Results, however, are subject to further verification because of limitations in the study design.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Beer, Beer Styles

 

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