Friday, June 22, 2018


Most of us take safe, clean drinking water for granted now, but that wasn't the case in colonial era America.  People often got sick from consuming unsanitary water which could be especially problematic when it came to provisioning an army marching through the wilderness.  So military leaders often supplied their forces with beer and hard cider as a way to keep their men hydrated without exposing them to illnesses caused by tainted water supplies.  In fact, George Washington while serving as a Major in the Virginia Militia during the French and Indian War came up with his own beer brew recipe to provide his troops.

Budweiser has released a limited batch recreation of this beer crafted by George Washington from a recipe discovered in this iconic American figure's personal journal which is archived with the Digital Public Library of America.  FREEDOM RESERVE RED LAGER will be available at liquor and grocery stores around the country now through September while supplies last. A portion of proceeds will benefit the nonprofit organization Folds of Honor, which provides educational scholarships to military families.

Here is the recipe from George Washington's journal that Budweiser brewed up to create FREEDOM RESERVE RED LAGER:

Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste — Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 Gall. into a Cooler put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler. Strain the Beer on it while boiling hot let this stand til it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold cover it over with a Blanket. Let it work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask. leave the Bung open til it is almost done working — Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.

Meant to serve the needs of soldiers on the move in the mid-1700's this modern take on the recipe isn't bad but also won't be the best beer you'll ever drink. FREEDOM RESERVE RED LAGER is actually a decent beer to enjoy on a summer day while barbequing in the backyard. That is how I tasted tested it and enjoyed the experience. It has a rich caramel malt taste with a hint of molasses yet has a light smooth texture to the beverage.  Probably more enjoyable to history buffs then beer connoisseurs, FREEDOM RESERVE RED LAGER is still worth picking up if you are looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary to try out. You can find out where it is being sold near you by using a zip code search tool at

This is actually a re-release of the beer. Long Island, New York-based Blue Point Brewing Company produced the beer two years ago. Anheuser-Busch, which acquired the brewery, decided to expand the beer's availability beyond Blue Point's local sales taking it nationwide through Budweiser's national distribution network.  Facing increased competition from local and regional craft beer breweries, Anheuser-Busch has been purchasing a number of these breweries to provide alternative revenue and is selecting some of the products from them, as well as partnering with other brands like Jim Bean, to be sold nationally branded as the Budweiser Reserve Beer Collection.  This will all be limited time, limited batch releases meant to bolster interest in the Budweiser brand and attract the attention of people who prefer craft beers to a traditional Bud or Bud Light.

Next up will be the release of a Kentucky bourbon barrel-aged brew in partnership with Jim Beam coming out this fall. Called Budweiser RESERVE COPPER LAGER, it is being touted for having a toasted oak aroma with a nutty taste with hints of caramel rye and vanilla. I'll have to keep an eye out for that!

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