Make green beer without artificial colors

Forget green eggs and ham, fellow greenies. Party like a real saint this St. Patrick’s Day by not only throwing back a pint or two, but by making your beer green, eco style. You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy this holiday, and there are many reasons to celebrate not eating those nasty food dyes.

Did you know the original St. Patrick’s Day celebration color was blue? Lucky for us, it’s now green, which is a much easier color to make without artificial dyes. Food dyes that are still legal in the U.S. and Canada are banned in may other parts of the world and have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, behavioral problems (especially in children), asthma and other serious conditions.

Try some of these easy au natural green beer ideas this year:

A shot of fresh or powdered wheatgrass juice will not only turn your ale into a nice shade of green, but it’s chock full of minerals and vitamins, which may make your hangover less likely to linger the next morning. For a 16 ounce pint of beer, add 1 tablespoon of wheat grass juice to the glass, pour in the beer and stir.

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that has been a popular staple among health foodies for decades. It has more antioxidant power than chocolate and may be the most nutrient-dense food in the world. Some people love the taste, others find it’s a little sushi-seaweed like.

There are home-brewing methods for making spirulina beer, but you’d need to get a jump on that well before the holiday. Still, you can add ¼ to ½ a teaspoon to a beer and watch it turn green. Like with wheatgrass, the high levels of B vitamins may also prevent some of the next-day regrets.

Several companies now make natural and organic food coloring and dyes using only plant extracts. Check your local health food store or search online for all natural food-based dyes.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jillettinger

Photo: Eustaquio Santimano