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 January 06, 2021
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Celebrating St. Patrick's Day means two things: Wearing green so you don't get pinched, and sipping on a festive green drink. And since we'll be celebrating the holiday at home this year to comply with social distancing guidelines, we’re on a mission to find the best at-home green beer recipe.

There are several green beer variations out there—of course, the easiest method is just to add a few drops of green food coloring to your drink, but we wanted to know if there was a better (and tastier) option. So we tried five methods by adding 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.

Learn the best way to make green beer at home—it's easier than you think!

DIY green beer with various mix-ins
Credit: Brie Passano

How to Make Green Beer

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. We used a light beer for each of our test beers, so we recommend using the same if you're after similar results. See what we added to each beer and start making your at-home St. Patty’s Day plans now!

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pouring beer into glass with food coloring

1 Green Food Coloring

The most obvious choice for making green beer is plain ol’ food coloring. Making your own green beer with food coloring certainly is easy! 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.

Buy It: Green Food Color ($3, Target)

stirring green rock candy into beer

2 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.

Buy It: Green Rock Candy ($13 for a 12-pack, Oriental Trading Co.)

pouring beer into glass with matcha green tea

3 Matcha Green Tea

This green beer recipe 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 making it again anytime soon.

Buy It: Matcha Green Tea Powder Mix ($10, Target)

using skittles to make green beer

4 Sour Apple Skittles

We were surprised by how well this green beer recipe 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. It might be possible to find an all-green bag of Skittles, but since we didn't need very many we just fished out the green ones from a rainbow package and ate the rest as a snack.

Buy It: Skittles Sharing Size ($3, Walmart)

mug of green beer colored with wheatgrass

5 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. We definitely won’t be making this green beer again.

Buy It: Organic Super Greens Powder ($12, Target)

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