My friends over at Brokelyn published “The definitive ranking of summer 2014′s special edition beer cans” this week, which listed the Bud AmeriCan, Miller Lite 70s can, Gennessee flag can, Miller High Life red-white-and-blue can and the Narragansett 1975 Quint can as the top five aluminum consumable American summer beers.
In retaliation, I propose my own ranking, one forgoing the cheap can qualifier and embracing the craft and/or refreshingly crafted glass-produced, not mass-produced top five independent and family-owned patriotic beers you can drink today, period. It is, after all, Independence Day.
5. Victory Summer Love – Golden Ale
This golden ale was commissioned by Visit Philadelphia to capture the essence and history of the Victory city, one of the first settlements in the fine U.S. The bottle label features a baseball inside of a sizzling sun, the flavor is refreshing and lemony and the composition is full of American whole flower hops. Were it not for the German malts, this combination of the American pastime, American pastures and American taste reminiscent of lemonade from your childhood lemonade stand would render this an all-American beer.
What says wet hot American summer more than a (presumably) suburban mom in a (presumably) suburban pool? Embrace your lazy side and sip this lightly hopped simply brew of domestic and continental character perfect for a poolside, grillside or fireside.
Although the Boston Beer Company pushes the boundaries of “craft” brewing and personally doesn’t do much for me anyhow, come on, The Patriot. Sam Summer’s lemon peel and Grains of Paradise make this American wheat ale a big, tangy mouthful of Boston pride, which is probably as patriotic as you can get in New England without crunching a mouthful of Plymouth Rock. Rumor has it there are actual pilgrims’ tears of happiness in this one. Or was it sweat?
2. Yuengling Summer Wheat – Traditional Weizen Beer
Look at that eagle! Old Baldy may be nearing extinction here in the U.S., but Yuengling keeps the American dream alive on a plethora of bottle and cans designs with this guy. Here he is looking mighty fine on the Summer Wheat, a hazy heffe released in Spring as the third edition in a series of Yuengling seasonals. Did I mention the trump card that this is America’s first brewery? Don’t be a commi. Drink a damn Yuengling.
1. AleSmith Yule Smith Summer Holiday Ale
Summer seasonals typically limit their availability to March through July, but this 22oz double IPA from AleSmith is available only in July and August. Released specifically for the Fourth of July holiday, the Yule Smith Summer is strong (ABV 8.5%), bitter (105 IBUs) and assertive as the first settlers. In AleSmith’s words, it’s “an unaplogetically bold expression of fresh American hops.” What could be more American than that? Check for availability on this one, it’s a rare find.
There you have it. A palatable list, and frankly, vibrant journey through some great beers of our nation made, with love, right here in the U. S. of A. Get drinking, America. Happy Independence Day.