The 4th of July is upon us! This holiday designated for hamburgers and hot dogs, fireworks, and your Uncle Larry singing “Proud to be an American,” is the traditional way for many Americans to unwind and let loose. According to America’s Beer Distributors, the 4th of July is America’s number-1-beer-drinking-holiday. Furthermore, it was estimated that over $1 billion was spent on beer for the 4th in 2017. Sadly, the true meaning of the holiday has been lost on some. The 4th marks our independence from the tyrannical British Empire of the 18th century. This July 4th, 242 years ago, the 13 colonies united to rebel against their captors, and drafted a document declaring America’s independence from Great Britain (except for the Royal Wedding Clause).
Therefore, this 4th of July I propose we keep this rebellious spirit alive, in honor of our forefathers! We must rebel from the bland, and declare our independence from the ordinary. I’ve chosen three unruly brews for my 4th of July celebration to continue this rogue attitude:
Yards Brewing Co. – Sons of Ben, Belgian Pale Ale:
What’s more American than a Belgian-style pale ale? Probably many things, but that’s not the point. I’ve chosen this dry-hopped, 100% pale malt ale, because it honors arguably one of the most (in)famous drafters of the Declaration of Independence, yes the same man that proposed the turkey for our national bird: Benjamin Franklin. This pale ale has a prevailing hop presence, brewed with both Cascade and Amarillo hops. It’s an easy-drinker, with grapefruit and orange notes coming in at 5.0% abv. This beer is perfect for grilling dogs, while Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” blares in the background. Let’s not forget, Yards hails from the City of Brotherly Love, the meeting place of the Continental Congress, and our country’s first capital.
Full Pint Brewing Co. – Rye Rebellion, Imperial Rye Stout aged in Wigle Bourbon Barrels:
Coming straight out of Pittsburgh, our next beer has rebellion right in the name. Full Pint’s Rye Rebellion is a dark, viscous stout, pouring more like motor oil than beer. Brewed with four different types of rye and aged in Pittsburgh’s Wigle Whiskey Bourbon barrels, the rebellious spirit grows stronger and more complex. Wigle takes its name from the rye farmer and distiller Phillip Wigle. Wigle had the chutzpah to stand up against unjust whiskey taxation and to help spark the Whiskey Rebellion. Wigle’s stand against the U.S. Government had earned him a death sentence. Yet, as American troops readied Wigle’s noose, a pardon from newly elected George Washington spared this patriot’s life. This beer with its intense cocoa, vanilla and bourbon flavors, would be best saved for desert and best shared amongst family, as it weighs in at 11.0% abv.
Dogfish Head Brewery – Liquid Truth Serum, India Pale Ale
Dogfish Head Brewery’s history epitomizes total rebellion and independence in the beer world. From day one, Sam Calagione’s mission with Dogfish was to make “Off-Centered Ales,”
as the brewery’s slogan denotes. Controversially, Calagione quickly brushed aside the Reinheitsgebot, the 1516 Bavarian law stating that beer must be made only from barley, hops, yeast and water. As he added new ingredients to beer, such as pureed apricot and raisins, the more the beer world became divided, those in favor of preserving the law, and those in favor of experimentation with brewing. In the end, Dogfish Head became the shining beacon of the radicals in the craft beer community, and because of them, your grapefruit, watermelon and cactus beers harmoniously share shelf space with more traditional styles.
Now, Liquid Truth Serum is by no means Dogfish Head’s most off centered or whacky beer. In reality, it is rather tame compared to prior releases. Yet, the team at Dogfish Head live to innovate. Instead of introducing hops during the boil, usually when hoppy and bitter notes are imparted, the multiple hop forms (whole leaf, pellet, powdered and liquid), are added after the boil. Then and only then are the 65 IBUs introduced to the slightly hazy, 7.0 % abv brew. The citrusy, crisp IPA, now available in 16 oz. cans, suits the several “hold my beer moments,” bound to occur at your family gathering.
This Independence Day, amid the fireworks and potato salad, remember the rebellious spirit of those almost 250 years ago. Without their desire for liberty, none of our celebrations would be imaginable. Remember those rebels like Phillip Wigle, who faced death, and Sam Calagione, who faced heavy criticism for standing up to the establishment and honoring their craft.