Yep, Independence Day is upon us. And as the smell of smoke bombs and smoked pork fills the air – like most of you – I like to reflect on those who came before us who made this country a great place to live, to work, to travel, to play and to drink Good Damn Beer!
Beer was as much a matter of freedom to our founders as anything else prior to the birth of our nation. That’s right. Tea wasn’t the only thing being heavily taxed by the British. Paying too much for beer was pissing people off and it prompted statesmen like Samuel Adams and George Washington to take action. Terms such as ‘Drink Local’ and ‘Home Brew’ aren’t new concepts, as much as modern day craft beer drinkers would like to take credit for them; those terms were being touted by revolutionaries 250 years ago. Did you know that George Washington is widely believed to have been a home brewer? It’s true. In support of the British boycotts, both he and Adams created acts encouraging Americans to drink American made beer, which at the time was almost exclusively local.
Thankfully, that great spirit born by America’s original brewers and beer nerds has been passed down to the craft brewers of today. The beer of the people, by the people and for the people is still the mantra of the day – U-S-A!! U-S-A!! Damn straight.
So, this and every Independence Day I encourage all you bald-eagle-loving patriots to carry on the free-drinking spirit given to us all by our founders. Load up your coolers. Secure your proper glassware. And make sure you have a bottle opener, because you’re going to need one to drink real American beer.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Boston Beer Co. – Despite their size there is absolutely no shame in drinking Samuel Adams Beer, in fact I’m proud to do so, and Boston Lager is the consummate All-American brew. Founder Jim Koch’s brewing roots go back to the mid-19th century and is credited by many to have sparked and lead the American Craft Beer revolution. What’s more, Koch could have sold out to the macro beer industry years ago but instead has been one of the Craft Beer industry’s biggest advocates supporting and encouraging the continued growth of Craft Beer.
Yuengling Traditional Lager, D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. – Yuengling may not be the most readily available to many people but everyone knows it’s America’s Oldest Brewery. That deserves a lot of respect; Yuengling survived fires, prohibition and wars all the while remaining a family owned brewery. The story and style bring you back to the colonial era of our founding fathers which makes it a perfect brew to pull from the icy depths of your cooler on a hot 4th of July.
Anchor Steam, Anchor Brewing Co. – Anchor Brewing Co. has been around a hell of a lot longer than people think, dating back nearly 150 years in San Francisco. Going through many challenges throughout the years including a brief closing in 1959, Anchor Brewing stands stronger than ever. Although Anchor Steam was first brewed in 1896, the modern version emerged in 1971 before micro and craft terms were coined. You can make a case that one of America’s oldest breweries was also one of the fathers of the Craft Beer revolution.
American, Pittsburgh Brewing Co. – If you’re old school and like a cooler full of canned macro beer on The 4th but are disillusioned by the fact no American owned macros exist anymore, fear not. PBC’s American is made for you. The can screams America, made in America, owned by Americans and made with American ingredients. It’s worth noting that Pittsburgh Brewing Co. has been around for over 150 years and was the contract brewer for the first batches of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, solidifying its importance in the craft beer history books.
BREW FREE! OR DIE IPA, 21st Amendment Brewery – Some consider the first amendment the greatest, some the second, I personally have always favored the 21st, the repealing of the 18th and most ridiculous amendment or better known as prohibition. After all who wants to live in a country that has outlawed beer, the very essence of America?!! I have a feeling 21st Amendment Brewery would agree. I love the concept of their brewery, all their brews are named after significant American events in history. BREW FREE! OR DIE IPA represents America’s favorite craft style and core American right. Holding one of these in your hand you can’t help to feel empowered with American Pride. My only suggestion to 21st Amendment is to create a beer commemorating Independence Day, other than that they’re spot on.
There are many other great American craft beers you can choose from, but whatever you choose to put in your cooler to help you celebrate Independence Day, a beer that is truly American made is the most appropriate option – you know, craft beer. Personally, I always have a local option on hand so that I can lend support to my local breweries. I feel it’s the American way and the most efective way of helping progress the American craft beer movement.