I recently noticed a Scottish beer from Innis and Gunn that commemorates American Independence Day. Apparently these Scots felt inspired to give a bit of a nod to American craft brewing by creating this oak aged brew.
Thinking about it a bit more, I figured that there should be at least some American beers on the market that have overtly patriotic marketing behind them that may be good options for a 4th of July cookout. Just perusing my local bottle shop, I didn’t come across any others that were brewed specifically to commemorate the holiday, but did find a good handful whose marketing had a patriotic or historic theme.
Showing up to a cookout with any of these beers will allow you to proudly raise a pint to good old America with an ‘America’ themed brew. Keep in mind that this is only a short list of the ones that came to mind or that I’ve seen recently, I’m sure there is a lot more out there. If you feel I’ve missed something obvious, let me know in the comments.
Beers are ordered in increasing level of arbitrary and completely subjective patriotism.
7. Sam Adam’s Boston Lager – Currently being packaged in 6-packs with a flag banner theme.
6. Stoudt’s American Pale Ale - This pale ale is from a Pennsylvania brewery that in my experience always makes tasty brew. This beer, available year round, has a flag motif prominently displayed right in the center of the label and packaging.
5. Rogue’s American Amber Ale - Again, a prominently displayed flag theme, this time with a working man raising a fist in solidarity with his patriotic drinking brethren (and sistren?).
4. 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die IPA – The packaging of this beer features a very lively looking Mount Rushmore… stone carved founding fathers ready to rise up and kick some ass!
3. 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon – This offering from the 21A has the Statue of Liberty pictured treating the Golden Gate Bridge like a park bench… I’m noticing a theme here with giant inanimate parts of Americana coming to life…
2. TIE between Anchor Brewing’s Liberty Ale and 21st Amendment’s Back in Black – Both of these beers commemorate the same event in American history, Paul Revere’s ride to warn fellow colonists of the arrival of British troops. The 21A beer doesn’t refer to the AC-DC album, but instead to their twist on a British IPA by hopping it ‘American-style’ and adding dark malts to make it a Black IPA. If forced to name one of these as the more patriotic of the two, I may give the edge to Liberty Ale just for their historical perspective. Liberty Ale was first brewed back in 1975, a year before the country’s bicentennial, and the first modern IPA brewed post-Prohibition. In a bit of synergy, 21A is named after the Amendment that ended that dark time in American history. Now that I think about it, a Liberty Ale/Back in Black would make the ultimate hoppy patriotic black and tan.
1. My choice for ‘Most Patriotic Beer Marketing” goes to Lagerhead’s Tyranny Pale Ale. Between the Redcoat in the center of the label, the stacks of cannon balls, gun powder and crossed muskets, with a rattlesnake (bringing to mind the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag) looming over it all, this label and it’s name just screams patriotism. I’d imagine that after finishing enough of these, while looking at the packaging the whole time, one might feel inspired to march against British oppressors… or at least blow stuff up (remember, be safe, drink responsibly and don’t light explosives while under the influence!).
While Tyranny may have taken top honors, 21A still heads my list for most patriotic marketing by a brewery, and have impressive and interesting designs for all of their beers. In addition to those included here, they also have patriotic themes on additional beers that commemorate more recent events in American history (Fireside Chat, Bitter American, and Allies Win the War!). So, enjoy, be safe and be proud to be American (or not… you know, if you’re not).