COLUMN WRITTEN BY MATT BRASCH
For Digital First Media
The Fourth of July is when we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. And just like our forefathers made the fundamental decision to separate from the King, we are also faced with an important decision — which beer to drink that demonstrates our patriotism.
There was a time — not so long ago — when selecting a “patriotic” beer on the Fourth of July was as simple as grabbing a red, white and blue can or bottle of Budweiser, the “King of Beers.” However, the 2008 purchase of Anheuser-Busch by Belgian beer giant InBev left a question in many Budweiser fan’s minds — is Budweiser still “American?” While this question can be argued strongly either way, for those who are looking for a patriotic substitute, the U.S. craft beer revolution has provided us with a plethora of beers that will serve your needs on the Fourth.
Patriotism through history: In 1976, D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery was placed on the national and Pennsylvania registers as America’s Oldest Brewery. Yuengling began as “The Eagle Brewery” in Pottsville, Pennsylvania in 1829 and is celebrating 186 years of operation in 2015, according to information at www.yuengling.com. Through the Civil War, two World Wars and Prohibition, Yuengling has not only survived, but has grown to become America’s largest craft brewer, as reported by the Brewers Association in March, 2015 at www.brewersassociation.org. So based on its history alone, enjoying a Yuengling Traditional Lager or a Lord Chesterfield Ale would definitely show your American pride.
Patriotism through a patriot: The Sam Adams brand of beers by the Boston Beer Company includes a picture of a defiant revolutionary holding a tankard aloft, and at times the label has included the phrase “Brewer, Patriot.” When Jim Koch began the company in 1984, “He chose that name because Samuel Adams was a Boston firebrand, a revolutionary thinker who fought for independence. Most importantly, Samuel Adams was also a brewer who had inherited a brewing tradition from his father,” according to www.samueladams.com. With more than 60 varieties of beer brewed each year, demonstrating your patriotism with a Sam Adams beer on the Fourth can be a great solution for fans of multiple styles.
Patriotism through the red, white and blue: Still want to show your patriotism by color? There are a few red, white and blue beers out there. Pabst Blue Ribbon has seen a rise in popularity since 2002 and still remains American owned and operated. Its red, white and blue labeled cans and bottles scream “American beer!” and its history webpage — at http://pabstblueribbon.com — reminds the skeptical consumer that the company has been in operation for more than 170 years.
Looking for a bit more hops in your patriotic beer? “Dales Pale Ale” from Oskar Blue’s Brewery comes in a red, white and blue can and the brewery recommends pairing it with an “All American Hamburger” at http://brew.oskarblues.com.
Patriotism through symbolism: Independence Day also celebrates our victory over Great Britain, so why not have a Victory Brewing Co. beer for your picnic or BBQ? Victory has many styles to choose from, including their “Hop Devil India Pale Ale,” which uses American hops and is a wonderful compliment to a Fourth of July celebration. Chris Steltz, editor of the popular “Beer Geek Nation” video blog, said in an email, “For me, nothing goes better at a Fourth of July picnic then a bottle of Victory Helios. Helios is a bright, clean refreshing saison with a Belgian yeast finish that takes it to the next level and makes it a perfect pairing for pretty much any food you are grilling up.” You can find additional beer suggestions for the Fourth of July (or any day) on his website, www.beergeeknation.com.
Thanks to the craft beer revolution, our options to celebrate the American revolution have become seemingly endless. However you celebrate the Fourth of July — with a patriot, with the colors of Old Glory, or with an historic American brew — there can be no wrong choice. Cheers to the red, white, and blue, and cheers to brew!
Columnist Matt Brasch is a Souderton Area High School graduate and a beer enthusiast. For more, check his blog at http://thebrewholder.com.