Red, White, and Beer
Celebrate Craft Beer Independence with These Patriotic Brews
Independence. It’s something that we often take for granted unless the calendar falls on July 4th, and even then this patriotic holiday often celebrates fireworks and cookouts more than independence and freedom. One place that independence is never taken for granted however is in the craft beer world. Craft brewers large and small all share one thing in common: their independence from being ruled by someone in a far-away castle.
Craft brewers are, at their core, fiercely independent. It’s what makes craft beer so unique and so special. While you should support your local brewer every day of the year, the summer and more specifically our Independence day, make for a perfect time to try a few of your favorite craft beers and even try a few you haven’t had before.
Check out our choices for patriotic craft beers below, and remember that independence isn’t something to be taken lightly, just like craft beer.
Stoudts Brewing Company
It’s hard to find a more American beer than an American Pale Ale, but Stoudts Brewing found a way to do just that, they put their refreshing APA into a red, white, and blue-labeled bottle with a vintage-inspired flag right on the front. If that’s not celebrating independence, I don’t know what is.
This hoppy session ale features a crisp, medium body with a light amber color. The hop kick comes to us thanks to Warrior and Cascade hops, giving the beer enough bitterness to be refreshing while hanging on to a vibrant citrus aroma.
Grab a few of these 5.1% ABV beauties for your 4th of July festivities as well as for anything else you do throughout the year, as Stoudts APA is thankfully a year-round beer.
Victory Brewing Company
Founded in Downingtown, Pennsylvania in 1996, Victory Brewing is a welcome constant in a world of constant change in the craft beer world. Both HopDevil and Festbier were part of the initial lineup of beers offered by Victory, are still available today. Along with these two staples of their lineup, Victory Brewing offers a variety of beers both seasonally and year round.
Most notably for the warmer weather from Victory are their lighter-bodied refreshing beers including the always popular Summer Love, a 5.2% ABV golden ale that features whole flower hops paired with imported 2-row German malt. Another great summertime offering from Victory is their Cage Radler. Radlers are beers that mix fruit juice and lager beer to give you something that’s refreshing without being overly sweet. Cage Radler comes in at 3% ABV and features the light, dry taste you expect from a lager while adding in the tartness and refreshing nature of fresh lemon.
What’s more American than being the best at something? Recently the World Beer Cup was held and Pennsylvania’s very own Straub Brewery walked away from the worldwide event with a bronze medal for their Kolsch.
What better time to celebrate their win than during July when we’re celebrating the independence that helped them be in business since 1872.
Their award-winning Kolsch is available starting in the spring and typicall hangs around through some of the summer months, too. This 5% ABV beer is crisp, malty, and has just a hint of fruitiness on the finish.
Their Kolsch shouldn’t cast a shadow on their always available Lager and Amber. These beers, both available in summer-friendly cans, are quite possibly the perfect beer for a hot day of yardwork or cooking out. It doesn’t get much more independent than this.
Much like most other breweries, there’s a great story behind the start of Bell’s Brewery. Started 30 years ago in Kalamazoo, Michigan by Larry Bell, the brewery began as a passion project that quickly became a great example of the American dream. Fast-forward from the early 80’s back to today and Bell’s Brewery makes some of the best craft beer around.
Take for example their Oberon American Wheat Ale. The brewers at Bell’s took a beer style that was popular for generations in Europe and gave it an American kick that helps solidify the American Wheat Ale as our very own. This 5.8% ABV beer features spicy hop character with mild fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt to the brew givers this beer a smooth mouthfeel while staying refreshing. While there’s a lot of spicy tastes in this beer, it’s all from the brewing process and the four basic ingredients that make beer great: water, malt, hops, and yeast.
Bell’s Brewery was the first craft brewery east of the Rockies, and 30 years after opening their doors, is a staple of the craft beer world, helping to keep craft beer Independent and strong.
What started as a family farm in Gettysburg, PA is today a surprisingly amazing farm-to-table cider producer that has as big of a focus on family today as they did when they turned their first apples into cider.
Hailing from a place that independence isn’t only valued, but was fiercely fought to obtain, Jack’s Cider makes crisp, refreshing hard ciders that don’t rely on being overly sweet to be delicious.
Their most popular ciders are definitely the Jack’s Cider and their Helen’s Blend. While Jack’s is nice and dry, Helen’s Blend is off-dry, giving it a taste that’s universally loved.
Smuttynose Brewing Company
It’s hard to find a better example of our independence than New England during the Revolutionary War. It was from this collection of states that the revolution truly began and our independence was fought for and ultimately won.
Smuttynose Brewing calls New England and specifically Hampton New Hampshire home. As with the other breweries in our list Smuttynose Brewing is fiercely independent and makes some pretty amazing beers.
While Smuttynose Brewing produces great beer both seasonally and year round, it’s their most popular beers that keep us coming back from more. Take for example their Finestkind IPA. This 6.9% ABV beer comes in at just over 73 IBUs, giving it enough bitterness to make it stand out as a quality bitter IPA while staying surprisingly refreshing.
Dogfish Head Brewery
1995 was a special year for craft beer. It was this year that Sam Calagione opened the doors to Dogfish Head Brewery, originally located in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. From the single storefront in the small beach town Sam was able to grow Dogfish Head into one of the largest craft breweries in the United States today.
When it comes to solid, consistent craft beer it’s hard to beat Dogfish Head. Their 60 Minute IPA is a staple of craft beer and more often than not is the entry point for many people not only into the world of IPAs, but to the world of craft beer as a whole. 60 Minute IPA comes in at 6% ABV and 60 IBUs, and is continually hopped over the entire 60-minute boil process.
While 60 Minute may be their best-selling beer, Dogfish Head is known for exercising their independence by producing some of the weirdest and wildest craft beers available today. With ingredients ranging from the mild peaches, grapes, and pumpkin to the wild like wattleseed, amaranth, rooibos tea, and even some myrica gale, Dogfish Head is definitely not afraid to experiment.
Without our veterans we wouldn’t have very much independence to speak of at all. This may be why the craft beer world is filled with veterans both owning breweries and working for them. This is just as true locally as it is nationally, and one of the best examples of this is the fine folks at Voodoo Brewery. Originally founded by Matthew Allyn, a USAF veteran, and run by an Army vet, the company actually recently became one of the smallest employee-owned businesses in the country.
Voodoo Brewery touts an extremely impressive lineup of beers ranging from their outstanding barrel-aged beers to their impressive year-round lineup. Hoodoo IPA is one of Voodoo Brewery’s most impressive beers, and for good reason. This 7.3% IPA features seven different varieties of hops and while the beer is impressively bitter, it still features notes of maltiness and even a slight fruity candy finish.
Tröegs Independent Brewing
Finishing out our list is a brewery that believes so much in being independent that they included it in the brewery’s name. Tröegs Independent Brewing is based out of Hershey, Pennsylvania and makes a lineup of beers that stands out in an industry that can be tough to impress.
The warmer months are the perfect time to enjoy a Tröegs beer, as their nearly perfect Sunshine Pils makes its appearance. This 4.5% ABV beer is light in body but big on flavor and character.
Whether you’re porch-sitting, grass cutting, or just kicking back and relaxing, Tröegs Sunshine Pils is exactly what this summer needs.
All of these beers and more are available in and around the Pittsburgh area from Vecenie Distributing.