Nick Carr on July 2, 2015 1 Comment The Best Beers to Celebrate July 4th The 4th of July. Ah, that day when the grill gets brushed off; the TV gets repositioned for a coming game; some head, blanket and cooler in hand, to their favorite picnic spot; parades rollick; fireworks color the warm evening skies; and… libation is sought. Before you head out that door seeking fuel for the celebrations take a moment and consider what you hunt. What beers are going to be the biggest hit to celebrate America’s Independence? Consider this subtle and maybe not so subtle table set before you. You’re celebrating our county’s independence; even the beer (and your money) can speak. What makes a beer ripe for a 4th of July celebration? A first, a name, a charitable cause; all have a place. *Note: I made a couple rules for myself here. For a beer to make the list it had to: Have a name or linage that inspires the American Spirit Have a score of 70 or higher on BeerAdvocate.com 1. Summer Wheat from Yuengling Brewing Company Where else to start the list but with America’s oldest brewery? Originally named Eagle Brewery it was first opened in 1829 by German immigrant David G. Yuengling. Their Summer Wheat is a perfect beer for summer celebrations; combining the requisite banana, clove, and bubblegum aromas and flavors with the low ABV and a crisp, satisfying finish. This basically begs for a session. Enjoy it while you can, as this popular seasonal only comes around once a year. Style: Hefeweizen 4th of July pairing: tacos, brats ABV: 4.6% IBU: ? Hops: Hallertau Availability: Limited BA rating: 81 2. Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company This is one of my favorites from Anchor Brewing. A beer that resides in the grey area between a pale ale and full blown IPA, Liberty was first brewed in 1975 to commemorate the bicentennial of Paul Revere’s famous “midnight ride” to Lexington, MA to warn both John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were coming their way. As Paul Reveres’ shouts heralded the British so this beer put up the call that started the craft beer revolution. Style: American Pale Ale July 4th pairings: Barbecued chicken, summer salad ABV: 5.9% IBU: ? Hops: Cascade Availability: Year Round BA rating: 87 3. The Veteran from Veteran Beer Company This company was founded in 2012 by veterans with the one mission to hire and support veterans. Every employee is a veteran, many of whom are disabled from sustaining an injury while on duty. They continue to hire more every day. They brew an amber lager and a blonde ale; both of which have taken awards in local competitions. Style: Amber Lager July 4th pairings: Jalapeno jack cheese hamburger ABV: 5.0% IBU: ~23 Hops: ? Availability: Year Round BA rating: 77 4. Blonde Bomber from Veteran Beer Company Style: Blonde Ale July 4th pairings: Chicken salad ABV: 5.0% IBU: ? Hops: ? Availability: Year Round BA rating: 77 5. Samuel Adams Boston Lager from Boston Beer Company A list of patriotic beers wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t put the beer that helped lead a revolution of American craft beer. Named in tribute to a founding father of the United States, at only 4.9% ABV, Samuel Adams Boston Lager is a great pick for those that want a full-bodied beer for their sessionable 4th of July celebrations. It is the first beer Jim Koch brewed when he founded the company and it remains their most popular beer. Light, yet very flavorful this is the doorway through which many find their way to craft beer. Any friends need to be shown the light? Style: Vienna Lager July 4th pairings: Barbequed Brisket, Burgers ABV: 4.9% IBU: 30 Hops: Hallertau and Tettnang Availability: Year Round BA rating: 84 6. Homefront IPA This is the annual release of the Hops for Heroes charity campaign, which was created in 2011 by Fremont Brewing Company and Center of the Universe Brewing Company. All proceeds from Homefront IPA go to a chosen military charity. This year the proceeds will go to Soldiers’ Angels, a charity providing aid and comfort to active duty men and women, their families, and military veterans. Ten different breweries are taking part this year. Though the same recipe is used breweries there are slight variations on ABV, IBUs, and specialty grains; but every Homefront IPA, no matter the brewery, is brewed with orange zest and aged on Louisville Slugger solid maple baseball bats. The breweries taking part are: Fremont Brewing Company Center of the Universe Brewing Company Cigar City Brewing Company Left Hand Brewing Company Palmetto Brewing Company Perennial Brewing Company Revolution Brewing Company Stone Brewing Company 21st Amendment Brewing Company Maui Brewing Company Style: American IPA 4th of July pairing: Freedom ABV: Varies IBU: Varies Availability: Memorial Day – until its gone 7. Rise from Revolution Brewing Company Looking for something a little more robust? Rise to the 4th of July occasion with Rise American Stout from Revolution Brewing. It not only won a 2012 World Beer Cup Gold medal, but is highly regarded in the beer world as one of the best representations of the style. It features a medium body and complex notes of coffee and chocolate, with enough hops to make even a discerning hop head take a second look. Style: American Stout 4th of July pairing: Pork tenderloin, cheesecake ABV: 7.2% IBU: 55 Hops: Warrior, Chinook & Cascade Availability: limited 22 oz. BA Rating: 89 Ales of the Revolution from Yards Brewing Company Your one-stop-shop for every beer drinker at your July 4th party. Yards’ Ales of the Revolution gives you three distinct ales to choose from, each commemorating one of our founding fathers. 8. Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale The first “Revolution Ale” on this list features a recipe that was recreated from one of Thomas Jefferson’s own brewing recipes, made from ingredients that Jefferson’s wife grew on his estate. Tavern Ale features honey, rye, and wheat to create a complex and heady golden ale. Kick back and enjoy this strong golden ale, just like Thomas Jefferson did centuries ago at Monticello. Style: Strong Golden Ale 4th of July pairing: Pork chops with sage butter ABV: 8.0% IBU: 28 Hops: ? Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 85 9. George Washington’s Tavern Porter A recreation of George Washington’s favorite recipe, this porter dates back to the mid 1700’s when it was brewed to satisfy the officer’s under Washington himself. It was because of his deep reverence for Philadelphia porters, that he perfected his recipe over time. Yards Brewing has since recreated it, using the same ingredients used by George Washington. Made from molasses to lay a caramel road through this smoothly complex ale. Style: American Porter 4th of July pairing: Burger with gruyere cheese ABV: 7.0% IBU: 34 Hops: ? Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 86 10. Poor Richards Tavern Spruce Looking for something a little different, something with some unique ingredients, something to talk about with friends as the meat simmers and spits on the grill? This may be the perfect beer for you. Taken from Ben Franklin’s own personal recipe, this Great American Beer Festival Bronze winning ale uses molasses, and yup you guessed it, local organically-grown spruce tips to create a clean fresh-feeling ale. The sweet molasses and citrusy after-taste make this a fantastic beer for a summer BBQ. Style: Indigenous Ale 4th of July pairing: Roasted pork tenderloin with rosemary ABV: 5.0% IBU: 13 Hops: ? Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 86 11. American Pale Ale from Stoudts Brewing Company All it takes is a look at the can or beer bottle label to know this one belongs in your Independence Day celebrations. Stars and Stripes are strong on this label. An American pale ale brewed with Warrior and Cascade hops to give a clean bitterness and that all-American citrus hop aroma. Hop heads will surely enjoy the firework show with one of these in their hands. Style: American Pale Ale 4th of July pairing: Grilled Beef ABV: 5.1% IBU: 40 Hops: Warrior & Cascade Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 83 Dog Tag’s Brewing Company Another veteran owned company. On each can of beer is a story of a fallen member of our armed forces. They work with the Gold Star families to make these stories known… and celebrated. They also donate a portion of their revenue to military based charities chosen by these families. Raise a glass that tells a story- to the Fallen Brave. 12. Dog Tag Lager Style: Pale Lager 4th of July pairing: Barbecued pork ribs ABV: 5.5% IBU: 39 Hops: ? Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 81 13. Dog Tag IPA Style: American IPA 4th of July pairing: Mango salsa grilled salmon ABV: 7.1% IBU: 70 Hops: ? Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 82 14. Brew Free or Die IPA from 21st Amendment Brewing Company Rollicking, tongue-in-cheek can art and plenty of American spirit elevates this IPA to a “bigness” worthy of any celebration. It is brewed with 3 “C hops” (Columbus, Cascade, and Centennial) giving both a strong citrus aroma and assertive bitterness. This well balanced, golden IPA is one of the best selling beers from 21st Amendment Brewery, and a great choice for celebrating America’s birthday. Style: American IPA 4th of July pairing: Burger with sharp cheddar cheese ABV: 7.0% IBU: 70 Hops: Columbus, Cascade & Centennial Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 87 15. Anthem Golden Ale from Union Brewing Company First brewed in 2014 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s inspired and inspiring Start Spangled Banner, this cream ale keeps it light. Made with only American ingredients, Anthem Golden Ale is a classic example of a truly American style. This one is perfect for those looking for the lighter side of American craft beer. Style: Cream Ale 4th of July pairing: bratwurst ABV: 5.0% IBU: 35 Hops: Columbus & Mosaic Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 84 16. YuleSmith Summer from Alesmith Hunting something big, brash, and bitter; something your friends will shake their head at and commit on in awed whispers? Alesmith has you covered with their Summer YuleSmith Double IPA. For that party that can’t go anywhere but up get your hands on this summer yule celebration. A double IPA with enough citrus, malt, and American hop bitterness to unapologetically speak to your deep-seated American pride. Style: Imperial/Double IPA 4th of July pairing: Spicy Grilled Chicken ABV: 8.5% IBU: 105 Hops: ? Availability: Limited BA Rating: 94 17. Stonington Glory from Cottrell Brewing Company A Pilsner for hot summer days, Stonington Glory, was brewed to celebrate the victory at the 1814 Battle of Stonington during the War of 1812, often referred to as the second war of independence. The battle, incredibly, saw a British fleet of some 160 guns turned by only two American cannons. So, raise a glass to lady luck and American resolve. Style: Czech Pilsner 4th of July pairing: Spicy chicken wings, Strawberries ABV: 4.8 IBU: ? Hops: Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 78 18. Founding Fathers Brewery This is said to be a brewery creating a stop-gap between the big macro breweries and craft beer. A something in between, if you will. Which is great for any macro beer drinkers out there that want to try something, slightly crafter, or you just want your hard earned money to go to a worthy cause this 4th of July. Fifty percent of their profits go to supporting military families and, unlike most of the big macrobrews, this one remains completely American owned. They make three styles of lager; Amber, Pale, and Light; I’d go with the pale. Style: Pale Lager 4th of July pairing: Spicy Sausage ABV: ? IBU: ? Hops: ? Availability: Year Round BA Rating: 74 Putting a little thought into what will fuel your Independence Day celebrations can make them that much more memorable. Try something new, introduce a buddy to a new style, support those that make this day possible, or pickup that old patriotic favorite. Cheers, Happy Celebrating!!