Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Are you wearing green?

St. Patrick's Day began as a religious holiday honoring the late St.Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and probably the most famous of the Catholic saints. It is believed that he died on March 17 around 460 A.D. Over time, the holiday has morphed from a religious one to a more secular one.

The day is filled with celebrations and activities all around the world and parades are held on or near the actual date. Many cities even dye waterways and fountains green in honor of the day.

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. This stems from an Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity of the Catholic teachings. It's also a symbol of the rebirth of Spring and has been a symbol of Irish nationalism. Many Irish wore shamrocks as a sign of their patriotism.

You don't need to be of Irish descent or be a Catholic to enjoy the festivities and many people don't even know the history of the day. It's a good excuse to party and drink green beer and pinch those who neglected to wear green. Though the pinching practice and green beer seem to be uniquely American traditions.

Though if you're looking for a different take on 'green' beer, try these companies:

New Belgium
, maker of the ever-popular "Fat Tire" beer and many other Belgian-style beers, it's in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and in 1998 it became the first U.S. brewery to source its energy from wind power.

Sierra Nevada in California, they've installed four 250-kilowatt co-generation fuel cell power units to supply electric power and heat to the brewery. This produces most of the brewery's electrical demand, and the co-generation boilers will harvest the waste heat and produce steam for boiling the beer and other heating needs. Additionally in 2006, Sierra Nevada kept 33,738 tons of materials --97.8 percent of their total waste, out of the landfill by recycling.

Brooklyn Brewery which, in 2003, became the first company in New York City to switch to 100 percent wind-generated electricity.

Great Lakes Brewing Co., is in Cleveland, Ohio and you can climb on board their beer delivery truck and shuttle bus (called "The Fatty Wagon") that runs on straight restaurant vegetable oil! They've cut their trash removal fees in half by recycling the usual stuff, plus brewer's barley. They print newsletters, menus, beverage napkins and promotional items on 100 percent recycled paper. In addition, all packaging (i.e., 4-packs, 6-packs, 12-packs and the unbleached "eco-carton", which holds a case of beer) consists of recycled content.

(Source: Sierra Club, The Green Life)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


writtenwyrdd said...

I wear a uniform for work so I'm not wearing green. Pinch me if you dare, bwahahaha!

The only reason I ever really cared was the great St. Patty's day beer fest we used to have when I lived in San Francisco. All that green beer! (This was a few years back, however.)

BernardL said...

I don't believe St. Patrick would be very happy with the way some folks celebrate his remembrance. :)

Those were some neat facts on the brewers, VL.

Virginia Lady said...

I've never actually had the nerve to pinch anyone. Always thought they might punch me back. :-)

Thanks, Bernard. Trivia about beer and brewers are always a useful thing to know. ;-)

Charles Gramlich said...

Oops, no greenon today. I didn't even think. Have a happy one!

Scott said...


I got pinched today for not wearing green..I told the person :

a) My eyes are green,
b) I have green in my raven tattoo, and
c) my people (the Norse) set up shop in Ireland anyway, so you should wear our colors, LOL!

I hope your St. Paddy's Day was a good one!

Virginia Lady said...

Thanks Scott, perhaps they had been drinking already and couldn't see? :-)