Coffee, Beer, And Pizza Are America’s Most Tweeted Foods

Americans love tweeting about what they eat, and what they tweet about has a lot to do with where they live in the United States. A new study examining tweets about food and physical activity found clear links between socioeconomic status and people’s likelihood to tweet about healthier foods.

Such environmental connections fit with past studies looking at how people in lower-income areas often struggle to get access to healthy options, which can be prohibitively expensive. This new study provides 80 million tweets’ worth of data to support that hypothesis, and the specific foods that attract the most Twitter attention could help shape future public health initiatives to improve people’s diets.

Researchers at the University of Utah Health Sciences looked at a random sample of one percent of geotagged tweets from April 2015 to March 2016, representing 80 million tweets from about 60,000 users. They matched the geotags to 2010 census data to see which parts about the country were tweeting about which kind of foods, and how tweets about food and health were linked with tweets about general well-being.

“We found that economic disadvantage was linked to fewer happy tweets and also fewer healthy food tweets,” lead researcher Quynh Nguyen told Vocativ. People living in low-income neighborhoods or areas with many large households were generally less likely to tweet about healthy foods, while people living in areas with lots of fast food restaurants were more likely to tweet about fast food.

There aren’t many nutritional staples among the most tweeted foods. Coffee, beer, and pizza lead a list that also includes wine, BBQ, ice cream, tacos, sushi, burgers, cake, chocolate, steak, donuts, and bacon, the internet darling of foodstuffs. The only top foods that the researchers considered “healthy” were chicken – which very definitely doesn’t have to be healthy, depending on the preparation – eggs, and salad.

People generally weren’t tweeting about fast food as often as they were foods in general. Starbucks did come in fourth on the list, but the next chain to show up is Chipotle, way down at the 21st slot. That Chipotle is the second most mentioned fast food place despite being behind a couple dozen other chains in terms of sales suggests not all restaurants are considered equally tweet-worthy.

The fact that Chipotle had a major E. Coli outbreak last year may skew those numbers, though other explanations are also possibly part of the story. Way more people are going to McDonald’s than Chipotle, but perhaps they don’t feel compelled to tell their followers about it nearly as often, or perhaps people who go to Chipotle are more likely to be on Twitter than McDonald’s customers.That speaks to a basic issue with the study, one that Nguyen is the first to acknowledge.

“With Twitter, it’s an imperfect data source because not everybody uses Twitter,” she said. Only about 20 percent of the U.S. adult population is on Twitter, and some are a lot more active than others. “It’s differently distributed across demographic groups, so younger groups tend to use Twitter more. And also, people don’t report everything they do and eat, so we’re only getting what they’re willing to share, the image they present.”

That last point might explain why so much of the list is dominated by treats, as people are less likely to tweet about a random Wednesday meal than they are a special occasion steak or chocolate cake.

All that makes for a lot of noise in the data, although Nguyen said she and her fellow researchers are optimistic that the sheer scale of 80 million tweets is enough to overcome that and provide useful data. She said the goal here isn’t to provide definitive answers to questions of health, but rather to offer new ways to look at American health trends that other methods can’t turn up.

“You have a really hard time getting good data for the U.S.,” she said. Previous attempts to find this sort of data have relied on household surveys or in-person interviews, but those are necessarily limited to individual cities or counties. “That’s what we wanted to get with this research: a new data resource.”

Starbucks Introduces a New Drink That Combines Coffee and Beer

The Pumpkin Spice Latte (now with Pumpkin Spice Whip) has some competition. The Espresso Cloud™ IPA has joined Starbucks Evenings menus nationwide as the chain’s first technical cocktail. It riffs on a shakerato (the classic Italian drink where espresso gets shaken till frothy) by borrowing the foam, which is laced with orange and vanilla, to create the head of the beer. The sweetened, citrus-y espresso is then served alongside, in a shot glass, although Starbucks suggests dumping it on top of the IPA, boilermaker style, to presumably create the “espresso cloud” contained in the name.

Here’s R&D team member Justin Burns-Beach explaining how he came up with the innovative idea, to help give it that real Capitol Hill–artisan Seattle feel:

[youtube id=”7CIspaZMIIE” width=”600″ height=”350″]

As much sarcasm as the drink might provoke, it is at least more creative than the chain’s past beverages, like, say, a Refresher that substitutes coconut milk for the water. Still, Starbucks advertises that this beer-and-shot idea was “a yearlong assignment” for its R&D team (plenty of time to trademark the name), so it’s asking that customers appreciate the drink as “a truly interactive and unique beverage experience,” rather than throwing the espresso back like a well shot of Wild Turkey.

5 Ways Beer Is Good For You

If you enjoy a beer at the end of the day, it may do more than just relax you after a long day at work. Researchers are finding that there are many ways beer can be beneficial — when it’s consumed in moderation, of course. These health and social benefits of beer may surprise you.

Beer is brain food

Researchers found a compound in hops called xanthohumol might help to fight free radical damage in the brain and also slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The idea, according to the study published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry , is that xanthohumol might guard brain cells from damage, preventing or slowing down diseases associated with the brain degeneration.

Beer makes you happy and friendly

Again, moderation is the key to this benefit. Researchers studied what consuming enough beer to raise your blood alcohol to .4 grams per liter (amount of beer consumed varied by each person’s weight) did to people’s emotions. Half of the people in the study were given alcoholic beer, and half were given non-alcoholic beer, according to Science Daily .

Those given the beer with alcohol were more likely to recognize happy faces more quickly, want to be with others in a happy social situation, and “has a surprising effect on sexual perception,” according to researchers from the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland.

The subjects (30 men and 30 women) took a range of tasks, including a face recognition test, an empathy test and a sexual arousal test. What researchers learned is that all the tasks were easier after drinking about half a liter of beer, especially for those who were more socially inhibited to begin with.

Beer is rehydrating

Philadelphia’s Fishtown Beer Runner’s Club ends its group runs at a local bar with a beer. While that may seem like it might cancel out the good a run does, science says differently, according to Drink Philly . A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition compared how well beer rehydrated someone after exercise to how well water did. The conclusion? If you’re healthy, beer in moderate amounts will hydrate as effectively as water.

Beer provides iron

Beer is rich in iron, and dark beer has more of the mineral than light beer, according to Science Daily . Iron helps carry oxygen from your lungs to muscles and organs. Without it, you will feel more tired and cranky. Researchers from University of Valladolid in Spain looked at 40 brands of beer and found that dark beer has more free iron than light or non-alcoholic beers.

Beer aids in digestion

This one may come as a surprise since drinking too much beer can leave you feel bloated, but beer may make it easier to digest food, according to Everyday Health . University of Vienna researchers found that the bitter acids in beer trigger the release of gastric acid in the stomach, and that acid is important for food digestion. It also curbs the growth of bad gut bacteria.

Of course, the detriments of drinking too much alcohol far outweigh the benefits of moderate drinking. If you’re going to drink beer for its benefits, do so lightly.

Thirsty Thursday: New Beers Actually Worth Drinking This Fall That Aren’t Pumpkin

We have a long-standing dislike for pumpkin beers. Well, the good news for pumpkin haters is the majority of drinkers are starting to agree, as seen by a huge cut in production of the spiced mess of a drink. This free shelf space means more real estate for the beers we do want to drink. Don’t know what to hunt out this season? Here are 8 new beers to drink this fall, and there isn’t a pumpkin among them.

Deschutes Hopzeit Autumn IPA

This is a bit of a weird one. Deschutes, brewers of such fine beers as The Abyss, Black Butte Porter, and Fresh Squeezed IPA, have given us a new autumnal style. They took the sweet, malty goodness of a traditional Märzen and combined it with the hoppiness of an IPA. The result is Hopzeit Autumn IPA. And you know what? We kinda dig it. It packs that toffee backbone and brings in just enough pine and grapefruit to make it unique.

Hi-Wire Pink Drink

If you need a refreshing taste of summer to remind you of beach days, Hi-Wire brewing has just the thing. Pink Drink is a tart wheat ale that’s brewed with raspberries and lemongrass. Yes, it’s pink. Yes, it’s delicious. Long a taproom favorite, the colorful brew was just canned for the first time and we’d recommend getting it.

The Alchemist Harvest Ale

Since opening their new facility, The Alchemist has amped up the variety of beers you can purchase if you visit. (You used to only be able to Heady Topper at the old facility.) If you hurry up, you can snag their latest, Harvest Ale. The beer highlights the Vermont barley used in its creation. Those malts are complimented by German hops that impart an earthiness to the brew. It just tastes like fall.

Sixpoint Tesla

Tesla is Sixpoint’s new hoppy lager, and like the man it’s named after, it’s pretty smart. Crisp, clean lagers hopped with American varieties are usually a mess, but Sixpoint pulls off a beautiful balancing act, allowing the juicy hops to shine without taking away from the refreshingly crisp lager profile. Oh, and at 7.1% ABV, this isn’t your easy-drinking lager you knock back a 6-pack of.

Flat12 Bierworks Pinko!Russian Imperial Stout

These cans were released in late summer but deserve a place on this list. First, because a RIS isn’t exactly a summertime brew. Second, because these cans are awesome. Flat12 Bierworks, out of Jefferson, Indiana, packaged their Russian Imperial Stout, Pinko!, in 8 oz. cans. Listen, some nights we’ll go with a tallboy of a heavy stout when we want to get a little nuts, but normally an 8-ouncer would be ideal. If you can still track down some cans, do so.

Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Stone is releasing a handful of fan favorites that haven’t been seen in a while. Cue: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale. Easily one of the most interesting beers the brewery has ever released, the Belgian-Style Strong Ale was originally released in 2002 as the first in what would become an 11-part vertical. Each year the beer was released again and, if you were diligent, you could then drink them all in 2012 to see how they differed. It was fun, but that fun ended a few years back. Now you can taste what all the hoopla was about with a special release of the prized beverage.

Good People Urban Farmer

There’s never a wrong time for a good saison. Sure they were originally intended to quench the thirst of hardworking farm hands during hot summer days, but the earthy brew also helps usher in a holiday season full of amped up spice. This fall make your saison of choice the latest offering from the good people at Good People. Urban Farmer blends notes of grapefruit and pineapple with the classic orange zest and yeast traditionally at the forefront of a good saison.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest

Last year, Sierra Nevada knocked it out of the park with their Oktoberfest beer. It was, simply put, the best American-made Oktoberfest we’ve ever had. This year, despite changing up the German brewery they collaborated with, they’ve done it again. This time they worked with Mahrs Bräu, a Bamberg-based brewery that has been around in one form or another since the 1600s. This year’s batch has a nice spiciness to it that plays well with the classic malt-forward body of a traditional Oktoberfest. Prost!

Thirsty Thursday: Brewery Uses George Washington’s 260-Year-Old Recipe To Create A New Beer

While much has changed since George Washington was in the White House — wooden dentures and powdered wigs are not so trendy now — some things remain the same. Beer, for example — people still love it, and it still pairs well with a healthy political debate. Here’s where Washington’s 260-year-old beer recipe comes in.

Blue Point Brewery brewmasters made 30 barrels of a new beer called Colonial Ale, following along with instructions Washington wrote down in 1757 when he was a 25-year-old colonel in the Virginia Regiment militia, the company said.

“We found a hand penned recipe of George Washington in a military journal for a small beer,” Dan Jansen, Blue Point’s brew master, told FOX 5. “We tried to utilize the ingredients that they would’ve used at the time,” he added.

There’s a copy of the recipe in the archives of the New York City Public Library, and Jansen said he followed those instructions very carefully.

“We used some corn and some oats, some wheat, as well as some white molasses syrup,” Jansen told CBS New York (warning: link contains autoplay video), adding in an interview with Newsday that the process was “a little bit of a challenge” due to the difference in ingredients. “For that reason, we absolutely did not try to brew an exact replica,” he said.

Colonial Ale will debut next Monday at Hofstra University’s hospitality tent before the presidential debate. Blue Point also has plans to offer samples at the brewery’s tasting room, “as soon as we can,” brewery co-founder Mark Burford told Newsday. “I’m sure there’s going to be some interest from other locations as well.”

If it proves popular, Colonial Ale could find its way to the retail big time, though a spokeswoman for the brewery tells Consumerist the beer is “a small batch limited edition with no distribution plans yet.” Key word: yet.

Dos Equis Introduces the New Most Interesting Man in the World

In the pantheon of great advertising campaigns, Dos Equis’ “The Most Interesting Man in the World” is right up there with “Wassup,” “Where’s the Beef?” and that Carlsberg billboard that dispensed beer. Then Dos Equis sent him to Mars to, perhaps, never be heard from again. Well, today we have a new Most Interesting Man in the World, as Dos Equis revealed a short clip of the new guy who lives vicariously through himself. Actor Augustin Legrand (aka Wise Michael Phelps) plays the new Most Interesting Man, and he can be seen in the short clip above. Look for an extended commercial October 19.

[youtube id=”8KqjvM7r2xY” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Florida Farmers Next Cash Crop Just Might Be Hops

With the state’s iconic citrus industry reeling from a so-far incurable bacterial disease, some Florida farmers are eyeing a new niche crop that can tap into the country’s burgeoning beer-brewing business: hops.

Hops are vining plants that produce pungent flowers or buds that for hundreds of years have been used by brewers as the building blocks of a beer’s flavor and aroma. The acids in hops produce bitterness, and the plants’ oils give beer a floral or citrusy aroma, depending on the plant.

Traditionally, Florida was considered too hot and humid to grow hops — most varieties are grown in Germany and other European countries with cooler climates, while 95 percent of hops grown in the U.S. come from Washington and other Pacific Northwest states. An explosion of craft breweries in the U.S. has pushed demand sky high, and as a result, shortages of popular hop varieties are common for smaller breweries, which compete with much larger ones for the same supply.

Three years ago, home-brewing horticulturist Brian Pearson of the University of Florida decided he wanted fresh hops and began doing his own research on what he could grow. He started with a few plants in a small wooden shed, and that has since grown into hundreds of plants and a hope that Florida may have found a new cash crop.

“The amount of phone calls from brewers wanting them, the amount of phone calls from growers wanting to grow them, has been incredibly overwhelming,” Pearson said.

In 2015, Florida added more craft breweries than any other state at a time when citrus farmers in the nearly $11 billion industry were looking to augment their crops with something new because of citrus greening, a bacterial disease that doesn’t hurt humans or animals but is devastating to citrus trees. Over the past decade or so, Florida’s citrus harvest has been reduced by about 60 percent.

“Peaches, blueberries and now possibly hops all provide an outlet to grow something,” said Andrew Meadows, a spokesman for Florida Citrus Mutual, an industry trade group. But he added that nothing can completely replace citrus, because it is “a way of life in Florida and forms the backbone of rural communities.”

Demand is on the rise everywhere. In 2007, there was a worldwide shortage of aroma hops. While production has increased significantly, it’s still hard for many small breweries to find the most sought-after hops. In 2014, about 18 percent of brewers couldn’t get Citra and Amarillo hops, two popular strains, according to the Brewer’s Association, a craft brewery-industry trade group.

In Florida, Pearson was able to grow many strains, but the most interesting is called “Neo Mexicanus,” a Native American hop discovered about a decade ago growing on Navajo land in New Mexico.

Pearson found some of this rare hop’s rhizomes, or seeds, and planted them. The early signs were not great — the plants grew, but they weren’t very palatable, likely be cause of the stresses on a plant associated with growing for the first time in a new environment.

“The smells were terrible, like stinky feet or rotten cheese,” Pearson said.

But the next year was different. The plants were floral and sweet, with a citrusy character — exactly what brewers want. He decided to publish a peer-reviewed paper to announce that hops can be grown in Florida. Since then, dozens of farmers have contacted him with interest.

One farmer is already showing that hops can be grown in north-central Florida.

Joe Winiarksi owns a small farm and brewery in the heart of citrus country about 45 minutes from Pearson’s farm. He’s in his second year of growing hops, with input from Pearson on what varieties to grow. Behind a wooden, ranch-style fence, hundreds of bright green hop vines grow: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and other hops popular with brewers.

He said people were skeptical when he started out.

“You just have to be persistent. I’m a mechanical engineer by trade, so when somebody tells me I can’t do something it makes me want to do it even more,” he said.
As for Florida’s brewers, the interest is high, said Brandon Nappy, marketing director for Gainesville-based Swamp Head Brewery.

“Anything we can get close to home is our first choice,” Nappy said.

Your Beer Is About to Get Clearer Nutrition Information

Beer is sometimes called “liquid bread,” but the only way you’d know if that really matches its nutritional content is if you actually look it up, since beer usually doesn’t have a label. That’s about to change for some of your favorite brews.

The Beer Institute, an industry group made up of many major beer makers (including Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors), announced they would provide labels to include calorie, carbohydrate, protein, fat, and alcohol by volume(ABV) information on beer labels. In what they’re calling the Brewer’s Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, they will also include a “freshness date” or the date of production, along with a list of ingredients on the label itself, on the packaging, on a website, or via a QR code. This comes at a time when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring alcoholic beverages to have a separate calorie count on restaurant menus.

Nutrition labels on all beer (currently) isn’t law, but many of the participating brewers—Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries and Craft Brew Alliance—agreed to comply with the guidelines by end of 2020. Collectively, these companies produce more than 81 percent of the volume of beer sold in the United States. That means not all beer will have nutrition labeling, though in a similar vein, the FDA has mandated craft beer to have nutrition labeling by December 2016.

Patriotic Craft Beers for You To Try This Independence Day

Budweiser has long since claimed to be the national beer of America. Born with the same blue collar, utilitarian appeal as Ellis Island, the St. Louis godfather co-opted the American flag as its official coat of arms back in 2012, and this May, they doubled down on their national pride by renaming their beer “America.” Bold. Audacious. And, if we’re being honest, kind of a sham.

Bud may have once been the most patriotic beer in the USA, but the brewery has been owned by a Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate since before they ever took up the Stars and Stripes. With it’s 25% market share and anti-small-business rhetoric, the King of Beers is more about pure capitalism than democracy, so it doesn’t make sense to reach for a Budweiser when you’re kicking back and celebrating America’s 240th birthday.

The face of the American beer industry is the craft brewer. The pioneers. The cavalry of the self-made. The revolutionaries who stay loyal to their compatriots. We found seven craft beers with enough patriotic spirit to get you through the Fourth of July’s fireworks.

21st Amendment Brew Free! Or Die IPA

E pluribus patriotic brews from 21st Amendment Brewery, their IPA stands as the most noble expression of allegiance in the San Francisco brewer’s catalog. Adapting the libertarian state motto of New Hampshire, Brew Free! Or Die features a swaggering Abraham Lincoln on the label as a message to anyone within eyeshot that you value independence, autonomy, and honor above all else when you’re filling your cooler.

On the inside of the can is an anti-imperial IPA that illustrates just how far American brewing has come since the Colonial Days. With a peony of cascade and centennial hops bursting out of the opening, Brew Free! Or Die is one of the purest examples of the West Coast IPA and all its nationalistic glory.

Rogue American Amber Ale

Portland beer engineers Rogue Ales & Spirits have reaped the amber waves of grain to produce a beer that tips its hat to the American proletariat. Rogue draws most of it’s aesthetic from Eastern Bloc propaganda, but that doesn’t mean they don’t brew up one of the most patriotic beers on the free market.

This idyllic red ale is deeply malty and sweet with a hint of noble hops to even it out. Brewed to quench the thirst of a hard day’s work in the heartland, American Amber goes great with a setting sun and a brow mopped with field sweat.

Surly #Merica!

Prohibition is an unfortunate tradition, but it’s America’s most lasting contribution to the global drinking community. We’re still working to reclaim what we lost by de-legalizing brewing, so Minneapolis alehouse Surly Brewing took a look back to before the dark days of the 1920s to inspire their most patriotic beer.

#Merica! — brewed to be served at Twin Cities punk band Dillinger Four’s annual Fourth of July party — leans on flaked corn to build its flavor profile instead of just making a cheaper malt mix, a tradition before a certain Minnesotan came up with the bright idea to shut down one of the biggest industries in the country over bogus moral outrage. Surly’s doing their best to win back their home state’s good name in the drinking community, and this lager shows what we’d be capable of if we hadn’t spent the last 10 decades trying to make up for lost traditions.

Anchor Liberty Ale

Like fellow Franconians’ 21st Amendment, Anchor Brewing is thoroughly ensconced in the philosophies of the founding father. First brewed in 1975 to commemorate the bicentennial of Paul Revere’s iconic ride, Liberty Ale has roots in two separate American revolutions. The star-spangled eagle soaring across its label has become synonymous with American craft brewing since it was first introduced over 40 years ago. It’s fitting then that the beer is engineered with a champagne-like effervescence, because it’s the perfect bottle for pouring a frothy toast to the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

Diamond Bear Presidential IPA

Diamond Bear brought production brewing back to Little Rock in 2000, and the cheeky Arkansas brewery claims their unimpeachable IPA was a favorite of former Senator and President Bill Clinton, so they named it in his honor.

Presidential IPA is grassy and robust, with a sturdy 57 IBU leading the way. But if you’re into the excess that characterized the Clinton administration, Diamond Bear also makes a Two Term Imperial IPA that clocks in at 9.9% ABV and 90 IBU. Either edition is a salute to the GDP glory days of 1990s America. Do yourself a favor and inhale.

Union Anthem Golden Ale

Francis Scott Key wrote the words to “Defence of Fort M’Henry” after witnessing the bombardment on the titular Baltimore fort. That poem would later be set to a commandeered British tune and become “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a fact that Baltimore neighbor Union Craft Brewing would honor with their Anthem Golden Ale.

Bearing the joyous tagline, “Just the thing to make you sing,” Anthem goes down with all the pomp and triumph of a Revolutionary War march. It has a light hop character, but it’s a cream ale at its heart, refreshing dutifully and with honor. At 5% ABV, you could drink a battalion of these soldiers between refrains of the national anthem.

Hops for Heroes Homefront IPA

Freedom isn’t free, as the old slogan goes, so Hops for Heroes gathered over half a dozen American breweries for the sake of veteran-focused charities. 21st Amendment, Center of the Universe, Cigar City, Fremont Brewing, Left Hand, Maui Brewing, and Stone all produce iterations of this flagwaving brand, with the main intention being to give back to those who sacrifice for the American way. Though it’s really more for Memorial Day than Independence Day, you can’t go wrong sipping from this proudly eagled can on any day that celebrates the Land of Liberty, regardless of which brewer you buy it from.

How to Drink Like the Founding Fathers This 4th of July

It should be well-known that the Founding Fathers, as well as most early Americans, were fond of a drink.  It wasn’t uncommon for citizens to start their day with a quart of hard cider and Benjamin Franklin himself noted some of his employees would take a pint in between each meal.  He would later record more than 200 synonyms for “drunk.”  Judging from the bar tab for a 1787 farewell party held for George Washington, those synonyms were used frequently.  Adjusted for inflation and converted to US dollars, the party cost roughly $15,400, which is a shit-ton of money to spend on alcohol.

With that, here’s how to drink just like the Founding Fathers this Fourth of July:

Beer

Currently, we’re in the middle of what feels like a craft beer renaissance, with breweries popping up on both coasts of the country and everywhere in between.  But what seems like uncharted territory is really just us returning to the 18th century and, in some respects, even earlier.  We think we like beer now, but consider this.  It’s currently illegal to stop a road trip and pick up more beer because you drank it all on the drive.  In 1620, that’s why the Pilgrims didn’t make it to Virginia.  The Mayflower was packed with more beer than water and it still wasn’t enough.  It may have been the single greatest booze cruise in the history of man and the Pilgrims, of all people, were so hardcore they founded a colony just to resupply for the trip back to England.

Not that long after, beer was produced locally almost down to the household.  Families in rural America brewed their own beer in small amounts for home consumption while larger breweries supplied individual cities, rarely expanding.  It was, along with cider, served to everyone eating breakfast, including children.  And if you were traveling, tradition dictated you stop in for a drink at each tavern you passed, making every trip a bar crawl.

George Washington produced beer for the common people as well.  In a notebook he kept during the French and Indian War, George Washington included a recipe for small beer, a lower-quality, low-alcohol brew.  It’s not a complicated recipe and was meant for paid servants and possibly soldiers in the British Army.  The notebook includes details about Washington’s daily life in the Virginia militia, suggesting brewing was as commonplace to the guy on the one-dollar bill as a one-dollar bill is to us.

There was a tasting of a limited run of Washington’s brew done in midtown Manhattan this time last year.  Pete Taylor helped decipher the recipe and actually brewed the beer, which apparently turned out well and leaned toward the sweet side.  If you’re looking to get some for your July 4th, your best bet might be brewing your own, but Yards Brewing does make General Washington’s Tavern Porter, which was inspired by the writings of the General.

Thomas Jefferson was even more active in the brewing life.  Jefferson and his wife, as newly-weds, brewed fifteen-gallon batches of small beer every two weeks.  Eventually, Jefferson expanded his brewing and by 1814 there was a brewhouse in Monticello and Jefferson was malting his own grain.  Not long after, friends and neighbors were asking for Jefferson’s recipe and sending servants to train in his methods, so something right was happening at the Virginia estate.  If you want to sample something similar, Yards makes Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale, based on when they worked with City Tavern in Philadelphia to recreate Jefferson’s recipe.  City Tavern’s been around in one form or another since before the Revolution and they’ve staked their reputation on being authentic to the time, so they’re a safe bet for drinking like a revolutionary.

If you’re indecisive or can’t pick a favorite president, Yards offers an Ales of the Revolution 12-pack.  You get the porter, the ale, and Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce, based on Benjamin Franklin’s recipe.  Each beer has been around for a little while, with Poor Richard’s being the most recent addition in 2005, but it’s always worth calling attention to a good bit of alcoholic historical preservation.

Whiskey

Jefferson may have dominated the Founding Father beer market at Monticello, but Mount Vernon was the whiskey juggernaut.  In February of 1797, Washington’s first eighty gallons were produced and by June he was expanding.  Though, surprisingly, the man behind the success of the whiskey wasn’t Washington.  It was the Scotch-Irish John Anderson.  His recipe first called for only wheat, but eventually he moved to a mixture of rye, corn, and a little barley.

In fact, Anderson was so successful Washington trusted him to run the distillery, saying “Distillery is a business I am entirely unacquainted with,” and that it was Anderson’s confidence that even convinced Washington to go into the business in the first place.  Good thing he did too, because what started as a small batch distillation turned into the most successful commercial distillery in Virginia.

Mount Vernon is still distilling.  While the spirits aren’t cheap, they’re not the most expensive whiskies we’ve ever seen either.  If that’s not an option, American whiskey is a well-established practice by now, despite the interruption of the Temperance Movement.  Everyone has their favorites and the best practice for celebrating an American spirit is finding a batch that fits your tastes.  Luckily, we have a few articles to help you out there.

Cider

Cider’s going to be a hard one to nail down, especially if we’re adhering to what was available to the Founding Fathers.  This means toss out that Woodchuck and Angry Orchard, because the ciders available to, and often made by, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were dry, fruity ciders rather than the fizzing sugar-fests mass-produced today.

There are a few reasons for the difficulty in finding an authentic cider.  Even though its popularity has exploded lately, cider’s still not as popular as beer and, like we said before, a lot of the most popular ciders are super-sweet and don’t hold true to those early, dry ciders.  A lot of availability depends on region.  So if you’re reading this in California, it’s probably going to be harder for you to find a faithful bottle than, say, a guy in New England.

Plus, a lot of the apple varieties and methods used by colonists and early patriots were lost, killed by German immigration and Prohibition. It’s only just starting to re-emerge, although not always in pure strains and verbatim recipes.  Cross-breeding and reinterpretation are common, as well as the experimentation craft brewers are so fond of, so cider’s recovery is less like a recovery and more like a rebirth.

It also seems like a good rule of thumb, and this is just us making an educated guess, but more traditional ciders are packaged like wine, in big 750 mL bottles, instead of six packs.

All that being said, it’s not impossible to find an authentic American cider, or at least an homage to it.  Ablemarle Cider Works have a cider called the Royal Pippin, made from Jefferson’s favorite apple, the Ablemarle Pippin.  They also have the 1817, based on a recipe found in A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees and the Management of Orchards and Cider by William Coxe, published in 1817.  It looks like it’s sold out for this year, but it’s worth mentioning, as it’s the most authentic variety we’ve been able to find.

Wine

It says something about the United States when, at a party thrown only days before the framers signed off on the Constitution, everyone drank two bottles of wine and that wasn’t the end of the night.  John Adams was so enthusiastic about wine he once attempted to smuggle 500 bottles of French Bordeaux into the country so he didn’t have to pay import taxes.  When he failed, he made Thomas Jefferson do it for him.  By God, John Adams was going to do two things.  He was going to break off from the tyranny of England and then was going to get blitzed out of his mind.

The Adamses once shocked a French dignitary by hosting a dinner where everyone drank so much they, by the sounds of it, puked in night tables and vases for the sole purpose of being able to “hold a greater amount of liquor.”  There’s a puke-and-rally joke to be made here, but we’re too preoccupied by the image of patriot-vomit-filled end tables to think of a good one.

Luckily, wine similar to what they drank in the 18th century might be the easiest thing on this list to find.  Madeira and claret wines are still being made in the same regions they were back then, so finding a good bottle is going to be as simple as heading to your local liquor store.  Although, for added authenticity, you could always pull a John Adams.

Alcoholic Punch

This one is hard to make more specific.  The tab doesn’t go deeper into detail, so all we can do is guess at what they drank.  We have a few punch recipes and from the looks of them when the Founding Fathers asked for punch, really what they meant was “all that stuff you’ve got on the middle shelf, plus a couples lemons or whatever.”

Our first punch is Philadelphia Fish House Punch, first made by rebellious colonists in the Schuylkill Fishing Company of Pennsylvania.  They may have taken the spirit of the Revolution a little far and declared the organization itself a sovereign state, which may or may not be treason, we have to check.  Although, the reason they haven’t been tried for treason may be that the punch decimates anyone’s desire to do anything other than lay down face first on 18th century floorboards.

Stone Fence is another that sounds promising and summery.  We haven’t talked too much about rum, but rest assured, the colonists, especially Ethan Allen, leader of The Green Mountain Boys, loved it.  Stories about Allen being carted away after nights of hard drinking are common.  It’s a simple drink, taking two ounces of rum and topping it off with hard cider.  It also heavily suggests The Green Mountain Boys were thoroughly stitched for their climb up to Fort Ticonderoga.

Our last one has been destroying livers presumably since people have had access to rum, porter, and the idea of mixing.  The ominously but strangely encouragingly named Rattle-Skull hits a lot of the autumnal tastes the mid-September party would have wanted, but we don’t like to think of skull-rattling as a seasonal activity.  More of a patriotic one.  In this drink in particular, measurements vary, so feel free to play with the amount of rum and brandy you want to include.

Obviously, we have a lot to live up to when it comes to the signers of the Declaration but we can take some direction from this John Adams quote: “If the ancients drank as our people drink rum and cider, it is no wonder we hear of so many possessed with devils.”  In other words, “Greeks and Romans were either satanic or drunk, and I’m going with drunk.”  So, this Fourth of July, get out there and make your forefathers proud.