We tried five different methods of making green beer for St. Patrick’s Day. See which ones we liked—and which one we couldn’t stand.

By Emily VanSchmus
Updated March 14, 2019

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day means two things: Wearing green so you don't get pinched, and mixing a festive green drink. This year we’re on a mission to find the best at-home green beer recipe. We added five different forms of green coloring to five pints of cold beer. Some were excellent, a few were only OK, and one we’ll never make again.

Related: 8 St. Patrick's Day Desserts You Have to Try

The first thing we found is that it’s easiest to start with a light beer. Although it’s certainly possible to make green Guinness, you’ll need a lot less dye if you use a lighter beer. So  that’s what we used for each of our test beers. Green food dye is an obvious choice, but we wanted to find out how to make green beer without food coloring, too. See what we added to each beer and start making your St. Patty’s Day plans now!

Related: Lucky Charms Recipes Better Than a Pot of Gold

Food Coloring

The most obvious choice for making green beer is plain ol’ food coloring. Because we started with light beer, we only needed a few drops per glass. The darker the beer, the more food dye you’ll need—potentially risking turning your teeth green as you drink. We didn’t add much dye, so this batch tasted like a regular beer and is definitely party-approved.

Buy it: Culinary Green Food Color, $6.98

Rock Candy

This version was definitely our favorite. We poured the beer into the glass then stirred it with a green rock candy stick. It started turning green as fast as the rock candy dissolved. Rock candy is dyed sugar, so it didn’t change the flavor of our beer at all. Set out a bucket of rock candy sticks on the drink bar at your St. Patrick’s Day shindig and let guests stir in their own.

Buy it: Rock Candy Swizzle Sticks, $13.45

Matcha Green Tea

This method wasn’t the best thing we’ve ever tasted, but it wasn’t horrible either. We added matcha green tea powder to the beer. There was a definite health food taste, but we didn’t spit it out. This one was fun to try, but we won’t be serving it to party guests anytime soon.

Buy it: Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder, $9.45

Sour Apple Skittles

We were surprised by how well this one worked. We added about 15 green Skittles to the bottom of our glass and started pouring. The beer turned green immediately! The beer quickly dissolves the green candy coating of the Skittles then starts to absorb some of the sour apple flavor, which gave the beer a cider-like taste that was actually pretty enjoyable. This was definitely the brightest green of all the beers, so you probably only need three to five Skittles to get a light green effect.

And we have to be honest: We fished out all the green skittles from the regular rainbow bag to create this drink. It might be possible to find an all-green package, but the leftover Skittles do make a great party snack.

Buy it: Skittles Original Candy Bag, $10.07

Wheatgrass

We can't say we had high hopes for this one, but this method definitely did not work. We added about a teaspoon of wheatgrass powder to the bottom of the glass then poured in the beer. For some reason, the mixture of the wheatgrass powder and the beer created so much foam that it was hard to even mix the powder into the beer. And once we scooped out enough foam to try the drink, it had a bitter, chalky taste more like dirt than a drink you’d want to serve at a party. We definitely won’t be making this again.

Buy it: Organic Wheatgrass Powder, $11.49


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