Legend Has It That Green Beer Was Invented In The Bronx On St Patrick’s Day in 1914!


As legend has it, green beer was invented in Melrose on 163rd Street near 3rd Avenue over 100 years ago on St Patrick’s Day just as our borough of the Bronx was born according to an article The Daily Meal by Editor, Joanna Fantozzi.

If the legend is true, then it is quite fitting as the Bronx is the unofficial Irish Capital of New York City!

Here’s the article from The Daily Meal:

Green Beer Turns 100 This St Paddy’s Day

For the days and weeks leading up to St. Paddy’s Day, the green beer will flow in bars, pubs, and restaurants across the country. But did you know that the pint of shamrock-colored brew was not invented recently as a touristy gimmick? According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, green beer is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and was invented by an Irish New York City coroner, of all people.

Dr. Thomas Hayes Curtin, a Bronx physician and coroner who hailed from Ireland, allegedly invented the beverage, and unveiled it on St. Patrick’s Day in 1914 at a Bronx social club on E.163rd St. near 3rd Ave.

“No, it wasn’t a green glass, but real beer in a regular colorless glass,” read a written account from that historic day. “But the amber hue was gone from the brew and a deep green was there instead.”

So what’s the secret of green beer? Dr. Curtin is said to have used a drop of wash blue (a blue iron-based dye used in laundry by early 20th century housewives). Luckily for our stomachs, beer is now made green with just simple food coloring.

This story sounded a bit too good to be true, so we did some digging around. Apparently, Dr. Thomas H. Curtin was a well-known surgeon in the Bronx, but no word on if he invented green beer. Regardless, lift a green pint this weekend and toast the legacy of the man who brought you good old-fashioned shamrock-colored debauchery.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi.

Make sure you go over to the original article for a bunch of great St Patrick’s day links!

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.