Today is National Beer Day – and it’s not just another excuse to knock back a few pints. In 1933 the Cullen-Harrison Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt which legalized the sale of beer. The official end of all alcoholic prohibition in the US would be signed in December of the same year. This day marks the first step toward ending Prohibition by legalizing beer, allowing people to buy and drink beer in public. It’s practically a civic duty to enjoy beer on this day.
What’s appealing this year, is how mixing beer with spirits is becoming more accepted, mostly due to the fact that because more craft beer is enjoyed – and given its fresher and more complex tastes, it can pair up as a cocktail ingredient, according to this Examiner. Now, a tasty twist on a favorite brew is a refreshing drink. Here’s a few suggestion that can be served in a pilsner glass or in a beer pitcher if celebrating with friends. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Drambuie and Monkey Shoulder all offer a rich, honeyed mix of herbs and spices that can stand up to beer.
Sailor Jerry Throw Shade – Credit: Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
2 parts Sailor Jerry Rum
Juice of half a lime
1.5 parts simple syrup
8 mint leaves
Muddle simple syrup & mint.
Add Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and shake over ice.
Serve in beer mug or pint glass on the rocks.
Top with Amber Lager.
Garnish w/ lime and mint.
The Backyard Bouie – Credit: Drambuie
1 part Drambuie
2 parts Grapefruit Juice
4 Mint Leaves
3 parts Weissbier
Lightly shake Drambuie, grapefruit juice and mint leaves together.
Add beer to the shaker before straining over ice.
Garnish with a mint sprig.
Monkey Shoulder Ginger Brewsky – Credit: Monkey Shoulder
1 part Monkey Shoulder
¾ part Ginger syrup
¾ part Fresh lemon juice
Add all ingredients other than beer to shaker.
Shake well with ice.
Strain into glass and top with beer.
Of course, two of the newest brews on the block (from one of the oldest brewers: Anheuser Busch), include the Best Damn Cherry Cola and Best Damn Root Beer that just seem to go hand-in-glove with cocktail ingredients. For this Examiner’s upcoming book on cocktails and garnishes, I developed this cocktail:
I’m Nutty for You
Blends smoky, earthy, herbaceous flavors; cherries, caramel and honey notes
2 jiggers Best Damn Cherry Cola
½ to 1 jigger Vanilla-infused lapsang souchong tea simple syrup
1 jigger gin
1 jigger Averna (herbal, caramel)
2-3 shakes Fee Brothers Black Walnut bitters
Handmade or artisanal (i.e. “real”) Maraschino cherry garnish – with speared Cracker Jacks
*This cocktail offers a special secret prize, too!
To celebrate, Let’s Grab a Beer* created a “Brewnited States” Beer heatmap showing beer styles that are exceptionally popular across the USA, based on IRI data. The study showed:
America Loves Lager – it’s the nation’s most popular beer style. Nationwide, there’s a lot of love for classic American lagers, making lager the most popular beer style in America. Most Midwesterners and Southerners overwhelming choose lager as their beer of choice. In fact, lagers represent more than 80% of all beer sold by volume.
New York: European Lager – New York shows off its cosmopolitan heritage with a fondness for European lagers, which are extraordinarily popular in The Empire State.
Colorado: Wheat – Colorado residents are sweet on wheat beers. With Colorado’s proud heritage of wheat production, it should come as no surprise locals pour “prairie gold.” Wheat beer is remarkably more popular in Colorado than the rest of the country.
Southwest Border States (CA, NV, NM): Mexican Lagers – On the Southwest border, they serve up the cerveza! Not surprisingly, Mexican lagers are extremely popular in this part of the country, bordering Mexico.
Alaska: Dark Beer – Alaskans don’t see sun in winter and enjoy midnight sun all summer, but like their beer dark year-round. Dark beers are unusually popular in the last frontier.
To better celebrate National Beer Day, there’s no place like Brooklyn Brewery – practically like going to church for a true beer lover. The leading authority and well-respected Brewmaster there is Garrett Oliver who was the first to receive the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional award. He also wrote the Foreword to Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City. (This Examiner is a contributing author to this seminal book.)
Here are the Brewery’s five recommendations to mark this special beer day:
BROOKLYN BREW SHOP – PROHIBITION ALE
@BklynBrewShop | 5.5% ABV
Despite the law, there were still several people who continued to brew throughout Prohibition. This National Beer Day, the brewery honors those who never stopped making and never stopped drinking beer. Prohibition Ale, was inspired by an older lady who they claim taught them how to carbonate beer using raisins! She was one of the troopers who brewed beer with her husband during Prohibition. This classic amber ale is lightly malty and has a medium body.
21st Amendment Brewery – Brew Free or Die!
@21stAmendment | 7.0% ABV
This San Francisco-based brewery is in fact named after the very amendment that repealed Prohibition in 1933. Bitter, with notes of grapefruit, citrus and pine, this delicious brew is a great way to celebrate. Check out other beers from 21st Amendment in the brewery’s 2 O’Clock Tasting.
Great Lakes Brewing – Prohibition Pils
@GLBC_Cleveland | 5.1% ABV
This crisp golden pilsner is packed with noble hops and available exclusively at the Great Lakes Brew Pub across from the West Side Market in Cleveland.
Speakeasy – Prohibition Ale
@SpeakeasyBeer | 6.1% ABV
What better way to drink to the end of beer prohibition than with Speakeasy’s flagship Prohibition Ale? What they have described as a beer that immortalizes the “spirit of those who persevered when America’s taps ran dry,” this mahogany colored pour that smells of caramel malts is a sure way to celebrate.
Russian River Brewing Company – Blind Pig IPA
Not too many know that speakeasy and blind pig are actually synonyms for drinking establishments kept open during Prohibition. This is a hoppy, citrusy and piney IPA to drink to those who still frequented their underground, secret bars in order to continue enjoying their favorite brews.
While the weather is not all that beer-garden friendly right now, there are plenty of beer garden watering holes with roofs and cold-weather accommodations.
Berg’n in Brooklyn
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Queens
La Birreria rooftop at Eataly in Manhattan
*The “Let’s Grab a Beer” campaign promotes all beer styles (no brands) This was a study of beer sales across all beer brands – the entire beer category. They also conducted a national survey, which found:
Tina Fey is the celebrity Americans would most like to have a beer with, narrowly beating out Jimmy Fallon this year. (Why choose? Why can’t the dream duo raise a few pints together? After all, this is a beer “fantasy” drinking buddy.)
The majority of working Americans 21+ and nearly 3 out of 4 Millennials (72%), would like their work to close early on National Beer Day. (Really?! Just guessing, but that’s probably the wish for most every day!)