Stopping by my local bodega, I grab a single can of Guinness Draught Stout and a single can of Monster Energy Nitro. Once home, a pint glass in hand, I pour approximately 8 ounces of the Slimer-green taurine bomb before carefully floating 8 ounces of dark-ruby-red-colored beer on top of it. They stay separated — improbably — an orange-ish Kármán line dividing light and dark.

I admire the oddly beautiful liquid dichotomy before taking a hearty chug.

The creamy head hits my upper lip, heralding the familiar flavors of roasty malt, chocolate, and espresso. But look out — a rush of fizzy, citric acid, and sugar burst through.

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I have just sampled my first “Gonster,” a concoction that, over the last month, keeps going viral on the most meme-heavy corners of the internet. Who created this Frankenstein drink? Is it some kind of inside joke — something to troll fervent Guinness and/or Monster fans? Or are people actually making them non-ironically? And why are so many people sharing them online?

Is it possibly because… the drink is surprisingly good?

Are You OK, Babe?

Sometimes called the “Billie Irish,” the improbable mix of energy drink and stout started appearing more and more frequently on social media this spring, though its true origins remain as murky as a failed attempt to execute its signature Guinness float.

As far as I can tell, this year’s earliest significant social media post on the subject matter came on St. Patrick’s Day in an Instagram reel from a U.K. convenience store. In the brief video, proprietor Amit Patel makes three different Monster and Guinness concoctions. Despite receiving over 45,000 likes to date, most of the comments have been negative.

“No one who likes monster likes Guiness, no one who likes guiness likes monster (sic),” wrote one commenter.

“I’m not even Irish and this causes me physical pain to watch,” wrote another.

“This is a war crime,” another concluded.


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A post shared by Amit Patel (@golocalsandiacre)

Regardless of the hate, extremely online people seemed to like the concept. The video soon spread to Facebook groups, like an unofficial Guinness Community which counts over 363,000 members.

The Gonster, as many started calling it, didn’t truly begin to go viral until April 25. On that Thursday, journalist Yasmine Summan posted about it on X/Twitter, garnering 9.6 million views. Popular beer meme account Dont Drink Beer posted the exact same image on the platform, racking up 1.3 million views while noting, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“Somebody posted this on Reddit and Twitter and now it’s going viral. But this is nothing new. This is a local Florida thing. I thought we made it up years ago but I guess now it’s a thing.”

The virality extended even further the next day, when podcaster Frankie Francis likewise posted the same image with the caption “Are you ok babe? You’ve hardly touched your Gonster…” Francis’s post would get shared on Reddit and other meme sites and it remains the meme most frequently re-posted at the time of writing.

(As to where the original image everyone was meme-ing came from, I haven’t been able to figure that out, even with the aid of Google’s Reverse Image Search.)

By May 7, yet another Twitter user racked up nearly 8 million views when he made his own Gonster. At this point, the two-part pint had transcended mere novelty, morphing into a full-blown internet sensation. It had been immortalized in furry anime form, caused people to cast aspersions toward goths and emos, and been taste tested in countless videos (many people liked it!).

And yet, I was surprised to discover that the Gonster/Billie Irish dates back much further than this recent trend.

Tell You What…

It’s hard to pinpoint a Gonster Zero for who first made the drink, but plenty of people online want the valor (without necessarily offering any proof).

“Somebody posted this on Reddit and Twitter and now it’s going viral. But this is nothing new,” posted Facebook user Morgan LaFae while sharing the same image that took social media by storm in late April. “This is a local Florida thing. I thought we made it up years ago but I guess now it’s a thing.”

The 'Gonster' is a combination of Guinness and Monster Energy that's recently gone viral on social media.
Credit: Gabrielle Johnson

I’m not sure that’s the case, however.

Patel claims he has been making various Guinness and Monster combinations since 2021, though he never named them.

“I did it purely because of my love of both drinks …. just did it out of curiosity,” he says. Patel now makes the Gonster on every St. Patrick’s Day. “I never thought it would spiral like it has!”

As early as 2020, however, well-followed Irish TikToker Daragh Curran began posting his own Guinness and Monster mash-ups. One of the earliest was to celebrate his 100,000th follower, and it garnered over 1 million views. (Today he has over 400,000 followers.)

Curran started his TikTok account earlier in 2020, then going by the screen name @theguinnessguru, and mainly posting his thoughts on his favorite beer. Eventually he started trying out crazier and crazier Black and Tan combinations, his first being a Guinness and WKD Blue, a U.K.-based alcopop. He would try Guinness and Smirnoff Ice (“Not bad!”), Guinness and Irn Bru (“Tell you what…”), and, of course, Guinness and Red Bull (“Safely say that’s by far the worst one we’ve had, lads.”). He next tried his first Guinness and Monster, in September 2020, and thought it was only marginally better.

After a few other attempts — Guinness and Capri Sun, Guinness and Fanta — Curran returned to Monster, mixing Guinness and the energy drink’s Pipeline Punch. He actually liked that one and would continue to make more and more Gonster variants over the next several months as his online following grew. By late 2020, quite a few other Irish and U.K.-based TikTokers began copying him, though none seemed to use the Gonster or Billie Irish nomenclature just yet.

A Gonster Summer

We may never know who was the first to make Gonster, a.k.a. the Billie Irish, nor who was the first to coin the names — and I’m not sure that matters or is the point. Like rum and Coke or gin and tonic, certain flavor combinations naturally find each other and it’s certainly possible the Gonster could have been independently discovered, and named, in Ireland, Florida, or at Patel’s convenience store in a small 9,000-person English village.

What matters more is that, after a few false starts over the last few years, the drink finally entered the internet firmament this spring and is now headed toward the mainstream this summer. In fact, could this possibly become the vaunted “drink of the summer”?

If that occurs, unlike previous “drinks of the summer,” 2024’s will not be one that has been Astroturfed on the internet by liquor brands (see: Aperol Spritz), publicists (see: the Espresso Martini), or celebrities (see: the Negroni Sbagliato). It will be a drink of the summer that was started organically and that people are now making because they actually enjoy it.

Or maybe they, too, just want to go viral online.