10 beers you should be drinking on New Beer’s Eve

It’s April 6th, the eve of prohibition’s end some 80 years ago otherwise known as New Beer’s Eve.

Thanks to President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Cullen-Harrison Act into law on March 23, 1933 — easily the best thing he ever did — beer was once again up for sale in the United States, effective by April 7, 1933. On the evening of April 6, people lined up outside breweries and taverns, waiting for midnight when they would be able to legally purchase beer for the first time in over 13 years. Since then, the night of April 6 has been referred to as “New Beer’s Eve” and April 7th is known as “National Beer Day.”

Statistics show that Americans spend roughly $96 billion on beer annually and consume about 20.6 gallons a year per capita. Humorously, the latter number isn’t enough to get us higher than 13th in the world in terms of beer intake. Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Ireland and Canada — yes, even Canada — claim that fame by considerable margins.

So what kind of beer should you have in hand? Something patriotic of course — and there is no shortage of these on the mainstream or the craft brew scene.

1) Founders Porter — 6.5%

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What better way to begin a patriotic list than with the Founders! This chocolaty, pitch-black beauty of a porter was love at first sip. Fortunately, that first sip was a draft, which enhanced the experience tremendously. If you crave a creamy, flavorful and complex porter this could be for you. It’s consistently ranked among the best porters.

2) Pabst Blue Ribbon — 4.74%

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The red, white and blue artwork and the simplicity of old age get Pabst onto this list. Little known, perhaps, is that Pabst turned into a cheese company when Prohibition set in, only to revert to its former self after selling the cheese-making business to Kraft. The PBR website has a nice infographical timeline if you’d like to learn more about the history of this 170 year-old brewer.

3) Prohibition Ale — 6.1%

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers produced a good one in the Prohibition Ale, in name, taste and artwork. Hoppy and malty with caramel notes, this American Pale Ale’s bold taste is sure to satisfy.

4) Worthy’s Dark Muse Imperial Stout — 10.1%

Worthy's Dark Muse Imperial Stout

In my first beer related article with Rare, the featured image was, unbeknownst to myself, courtesy of Worthy Brewing out in Oregon. I had never heard of Worthy before. One of the brewmasters contacted me personally through the comments section and Twitter. After some back and forth, the folks at Worthy were nice enough to send me a care package to my own home. The contents are pictured below:

One of the beers stood out in particular and if you read the site’s description of it you’ll understand why it fits the theme of the list.

Introducing Worthy’s Dark Muse, our hearty, creamy and voluptuous Imperial Stout. This is a beer for the thinker. The ponderer. It’s made to be sipped, cradled and inhaled, slowly, methodically, and deliberately. It’s meant to satisfy that yearning for answers, for cutting through the clutter, for breaking things down, and for connecting the dots.

To do any of that, you’re probably going to need the proper lubricant. Something that lights a fire. Something — channeling Walt Whitman here — that unscrews the locks from the doors, or better yet, something that unscrews the doors themselves from their jambs.

Yearning for answers, cutting through the clutter, breaking things down, connecting the dots and Walt Whitman. Seems pretty American to me. It also packs a wallop. This is an imperial stout to be reckoned with.

5) 21st Amendment’s Brew Free! Or Die — 7.0%

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Brew Free! Or Die IPA — channeling Gen. John Stark’s “Live Free or Die, “Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” and named after the amendment that repealed Prohibition —  features six different kinds of hops and a variety of different fruity notes. It goes down easy for an IPA, but won’t leave you unsatisfied.

6) Rogue American Amber Ale — 5.6%

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I’ve never met a Rogue I didn’t like. The American Amber, while not Rogue’s best, still has a lot to brag about. Plus, you can get it in a growler. The little brown jug, our growler’s distant cousin, was actually the name of a song that grew in popularity during Prohibition times for obvious reasons.

This beer smells the part, looks the part and tastes the part. The scent is that of a woodland on a spring afternoon; the body has the characteristic crispness of an amber.

7) D.C. Brau’s The Public — 6.0%

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Considering that D.C. is the nation’s capital and the this beer is named after you, “The Public,” this American Pale Ale style is a fine choice for our list. “Assertive bitterness,” Vienna maltiness and a citrus burst make for unique combination.

According to the D.C. Brau website, “The Public” is the brewery’s most “popular” offering. I see what you did there, D.C. Brau.

8) Rouge’s the Beard Beer — 5.6%

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Why the Beard Beer? Because it’s wild, because I can’t get through a list without including Rogue twice, because it’s got a great story and because beards are awesome — countless American heroes have sported the beard with pride.

The wildness is in the style, as Beard Beer is classified as a Wild American Ale. Hints of sweet, hints of sour and hints of witbier make this drinkable hodgepodge worth trying. Beard Beer is brewed with a yeast created from Brewmaster John Maier’s Beard. If you find that off-putting, you should know that brewers have been using wild yeasts for centuries, yeasts just as “dirty” or “gross,” in theory, as this one.

9) Delirium Tremens — 8.5%

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Although Delirium Tremens is a hefty Belgian Pale Ale, it makes the cut because it reminds us of the kinds of the arguments you’d find in favor of Prohibition.

A quick refresher: Delirium tremens is an acute episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol. It commonly affects people who have had an alcohol habit or alcoholism for more than 10 years. Many in favor of prohibition argued, in slippery slope terms, that the legalization of alcohol in society would lead to widespread issues with the DT’s. The Ken Burns’s documentary features some of stock footage of people “suffering” from the DT’s.

Also of note, “Seeing pink elephants” is a euphemism for delerium tremens, hence the logo on the bottle.

This is a quality beer too. It’s golden body and generous foamy head, coupled with a delightful tangy, tartness, form a formidable brew.

10) Yuengling Traditional Lager — 4.4%

It’s the oldest brewery in the States, guys, ergo it’s a must mention. Originally founded in 1829 as Eagle Brewing, the company would change the name to Yuengling but kept the Eagle as the logo. During the Prohibition, Yuengling survived by producing “near beers” or drinks with a 0.5% ABV called the “Yuengling Special”, “Yuengling Por-Tor”, and  the “Yuengling Juvo”. After Prohibition ended, Yuengling sent a truckload of “Winner Beer” to FDR as thanks.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: What’s special about this beer is that there’s nothing special about it. Cheap, drinkable, anything but spectacular, always reliable and a reminder of good times gone by.


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