Today’s Repeal Day marks 84 years since the 21st Amendment became the law of the land and sales of alcohol became legal once more.
Since the early 1800s, groups of people had been lobbying Congress to pass a law outlawing the sale of alcohol. By the turn of the century, these groups had become a force in American politics and continued to gain momentum until Congress proposed and passed the Volstead Act on October 19, 1919 over the veto of President Woodrow Wilson. After the Volstead Act was passed, special agents from the Treasury Department began destroying almost any forms of alcohol they found.
On this day in 1933, Utah became the 36th state in the United States to ratify the 21st Amendment, bringing an end to the era of national Prohibition. This day became known as Repeal Day and is celebrated throughout the United States as the day when alcohol was made legal again for the entire country. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had campaigned on the issue of repealing Prohibition, famously said, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”
This Repeal Day, here are a few beers that commemorate the spirit of American entrepreneurship and moxy in fermented form. Check out one today and see how far American brewers have come since Repeal Day.
Allagash Brewing White Ale (5.2% ABV): One of the most recent craft brewers to partner with Team Cone, Allagash Brewing’s history goes back to 1995 when Belgian beer enthusiast Rob Tod opened a brewery in Portland, Maine. Rob welded together a 15-barrel brewing system and began brewing one beer only: Allagash White. In 1999, Rob hired brewer Jason Perkins to direct Allagash’s brewing beyond just White, and Jason added more Belgian-inspired beers, a barrel-aging program, and one of the first sour beer programs in the United States. You can still taste Rob’s (and all of Allagash Brewing’s) passion for Belgian beer in every pint of Allagash White. Try one to toast Repeal Day and enjoy the beer that built Allagash.
Dogfish Head BrewerySeaQuench Session Sour Ale (4.9% ABV): A recent innovation, Dogfish Head Brewery classifies SeaQuench Ale as a “session sour,” which is a great way of saying that is an approachable delight that is for sour lovers and sour skeptics alike! This beer has been a phenomenon lately, garnering attention for both its purported health benefits and for its thirst-quenching powers. The beer itself combines the light body of a kolsch-style ale with the salt character of a gose-style ale all the while sharing the tartness of a Berliner weisse.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (5.6% ABV) in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing’s founder Ken Grossman create a beer loaded with Cascade hops, named for the mountain range. The beer has continued to grow and has developed a devout following in the forty years following. Sierra Nevada Brewing has grown to be one of the largest craft breweries in the United States and Pale Ale, in all its hoppy goodness, is the beer that has led many to fall in love with craft beer. And at a moderate 5.6% ABV, it’s possible to raise two Pale Ales in honor of Repeal Day.
All of these beers, and the innovations that caused them, have been made possible by American craft brewers inventing new recipes and pushing the boundaries of beer, but would not have been possible without Repeal Day and the freedom that the 21st Amendment granted. Enjoy that freedom today by going to our Beer Finder and celebrating Repeal Day with your next favorite beer.
While beer cans are wildly popular on Fridays, this particular Friday happens to be the day in history when the first beer can was sold, so it is remembered as Beer Can Appreciation Day. While beer cans have undergone many changes in style and structure, cans have made it possible to enjoy a beer in ways and places that glass simply cannot go.
Since it’s Beer Can Appreciation Day, and what better way to mark this celebration than with facts about America’s favorite beer-holding vessel? How many of these did you know?
Did you know:
Beer cans were first invented in 1935. Krueger’s Finest and Krueger’s Cream Ale were first sold in cans in Richmond, Virginia.
Beer cans chill down faster than bottles.
Beer cans are the most recycled packaging materials on earth.
Beer cans are preferred by most brewers because they help keep out two of beer’s worst enemies: light and oxygen.
Cans are better for brewers’ and consumers’ wallets – they are lighter and cost less to transport than bottles.
While beer bottles have always outsold beer cans, 2022 could be the first year where beer cans dethrone their glass brethren from the #1 spot.
Beer cans, at one time, were capped with bottle caps. As a transition between bottling equipment and canning equipment, manufacturers made it possible to seal a beer can with bottle caps.
One large keg of beer (a half-barrel of 15.5 gallons) contains the liquid of 165 twelve-ounce cans of beer.
In 2018, the United States beer industry sold over 2.8 billion cases of beer. That’s more than 67 billion 12-ounce cans of beer!
The state of Florida produced enough beer last year to sell 2.3 gallons (or roughly 24.5 cans) of beer to every resident of legal drinking age.
What are the best ways to celebrate Beer Can Appreciation Day?
Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May in English, has become a day to celebrate Mexican culture with food, drink, and a gathering of friends. But what exactly does this holiday celebrate and how did German- and Austrian-inspired beers get to be brewed in Mexico?
What is Cinco de Mayo?
From History.com: “During the French-Mexican War, in 1862, a poorly supplied and outnumbered Mexican army under General Ignacio Zaragoza defeats a French army attempting to capture Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. Victory at the Battle of Puebla represented a great moral victory for the Mexican government, symbolizing the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty against threat by a powerful foreign nation.
In Mexico, 6,000 French troops set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles. Juarez rounded up a rag-tag force of loyal men and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Zaragoza, the 2,000 Mexicans prepared for the French assault. On the fifth of May, 1862, Lorencez drew his army before the city of Puebla and began their assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers to the fewer than 100 Mexicans killed.”
After the battle, the Mexican Army gained a significant moral victory that inspired American soldiers fighting in the Civil War and helped the Mexicans endure long enough to eventually win the war after the withdrawal of France from Mexico, six years later.
Cinco de Mayo is often mistakenly thought of as Mexican Independence Day, but in the United States, it is a day to celebrate Mexican culture, especially food and drink.
Cinco de Mayo Beers – History
The most popular beers imported from Mexico today are all heavily influenced by the German and Austrian brewing traditions. Ironically, the same European influence that caused the Battle of Puebla also caused German and Austrian brewers to come to Mexico to start brewing beer.
According to Garrett Oliver’s Oxford Companion to Beer, Mexican beer gets its start during the reign of Maximilian I, the Austrian-born emperor appointed by Napoleon III of France. After the French invaded Mexico, brewers relocated to the country in order to serve the European population. These brewers had knowledge and training of Old World traditions, and so they brewed the beers that they knew best. German light lagers in combination with the hot Mexican climate made these beers event more popular and their popularity continues through today. While Corona and Corona Light are the most popular Mexican imported beers, the brewers that came to Mexico in the 19th century also brought recipes for Vienna lager from their home countries. These lagers are called “dark” beer since they maintain a darker color than the light lagers. These Vienna-style lagers also give a plethora of food-pairing options during Cinco de Mayo, as their darker malts will pair well with earthy dishes like molé poblanos and carne asada – giving earthy chocolate and roasted meats a playmate during this festive holiday.
See chef Rick Bayless (winner of Bravo TV’s Top Chef Masters and owner of Frontera restaurant at Disney Springs) talk about how he uses Modelo Negra in his cuisine.
Cinco de Mayo Events
There are a plethora of Cinco de Mayo events happening from Brooksville to Gainesville, from Lake City to Tallahassee – check out our Events Page to find a few!
Cinco de Mayo Beers
While many beers pair well with Mexican food and particularly spicy Mexican foods, a few beers rise to the top of the pack when it comes to Mexican culture.
Modelo Negra(5.3% ABV): One of the beers that may seem strange to include with a list of beers that go well with Mexican foods, never underestimate the power of a dark lager in a Mexican fiesta. Modelo Negra has some toasted malts and a nice carbonation that will clean the palate and refresh it especially in the face of darker meats, like beef, that will challenge a lighter beer. Try Modelo Negra with molé poblanos or a chocolate dessert to see how versatile this beer really is. Modelo Negra also has the power to stand up to spicy foods (more so than its cousin Corona or lighter beers) because the beer’s dark malts will help soften the impact of capsaicin spice.
Coppertail BrewingFree Dive IPA (5.9% ABV): While an IPA is certainly not a traditional Mexican beer, Coppertail Brewing has come up with a hop profile for this beer that makes it the perfect companion to Mexican dishes. Free Dive IPA is on the lighter side of this hoppy beer style, clocking in at only 5.9%ABV. The white grapefruit and citrus character of Free Dive make it dance with fish tacos and sing with guacamole – don’t believe us? Try it for yourself.
Sierra Nevada Otra Vez Lime & Agave (4.5% ABV): One of Sierra Nevada’s newest year-round offerings that has taken ideas from several cultures and made it uniquely theirs. Otra Vez is made in the style of a German gose, so it will carry some wheat flavors and some tartness. Lime and agave are then added to make this beer a margarita-like refresher. Pair Otra Vez with arroz con pollo or fresh goat cheese for an added fiesta of flavor.
Dogfish Head Brewery’sSeaQuench Ale (4.9% ABV): Made in a style typical of Dogfish Head, this beer is a hybrid of several different types of beer with the kind of off-centered ingredients that the Delaware brewery loves. A mildly tart ale, SeaQuench Ale is a blend of a light Kolsch, a salty gose, and a tart Berliner weiss and is made with the addition of sea salt, coriander, and black limes. Try a SeaQuench with chicken fajitas or even chips and a light queso fresco for a salty, tart start to any meal.
In the spirit of unexpected victories this month, hop on over to our Beer Finder and find out where to find your favorite beer or a few other choices for pairing them with the tasty and piquant dishes of the U.S.’s southernmost neighbor.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! No matter which beers come to the party, please enjoy responsibly (and with friends).
When Sam Calagione and his wife Mariah founded Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, they started the smallest brewery in America in one of the smallest states in America. In 1995 Dogfish Head Brewery co-existed with Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats in a small storefront in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Sam was the head brewer and he made beer 13 gallons at a time. In his beer, Sam’s focus was on using culinary ingredients in the brewing process. Beers like Chicory Stout, Aprihop, and Raison d’Etre each had a featured ingredient to show the versatility of beer and the “off-centered” nature of the company. In his business, he noticed that his beers were slightly different than any other brewery in the country because of this culinary focus, so Sam worked his unusual focus on beer into his brewery’s motto, Dogfish Head’s has made “Off-Centered Ales for Off-Centered People” ever since. There were only 600 operating breweries operating in the United States and the Calagiones had dreams of one day making it big. “In my business plan,” Sam remembers. “We were going to have a seven-barrel brewery someday with 14-barrel tanks. That was my biggest aspiration.” Never in his wildest dreams would Sam foresee Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s current growth – Dogfish Head has grown into the 12th largest brewery in the United States and is distributed in 42 states. Dogfish Head now makes batches of beer larger what Sam used to make in one year. While they are brewing larger than Sam’s initial business plan could fathom, some of the brewery’s recent cult favorite beers have pushed the growth into overdrive and the “off-centered” brewer does not plan to stop anytime soon.
In the current Dogfish Head brewhouse, Sam’s original 13-gallon brewing system stands as a monument to the company’s humble roots while the brewery’s 200-barrel brewhouse fills massive fermenters full of off-centered ales. Sam, Mariah, and their hundreds of co-workers stayed true to the spirit of experimentation that inspired Sam, and from those first batches sprung a brewing philosophy that Dogfish Head calls “Off-centered ales for off-centered people.”
Paving a new way with an IPA
One of the first “off-centered ales” that Dogfish Head became known for was an innovation on the India Pale Ale (IPA) style. While conventional wisdom says a brewer should add hops to an IPA at specific intervals while the wort is boiling, Sam decided to tinker. Sam grew an idea one day after watching a cooking show. On the show, the chef added pepper to a soup a little at a time, instead of one large addition. Sam decided to test this idea and instead of adding all of the hops to his IPA in one massive dose, Sam tried hopping the wort continuously while it boiled. He Macgyvered up a vibrating football game and a bucket of hops so that while the beer boiled, it received continuous doses of hops, hoping that the finished beer would have all of the aroma and bitterness that beer drinkers want from an IPA. When the first batch of 90 Minute IPA premiered at the brewpub, Sam remembers that “continual hopping provided a beautiful balance to our Imperial IPA – allowing us to add a foolhardy amount of hops throughout the boil without making 90 Minute crushingly bitter.” Thus 90 Minute IPA was born and a short while later, a younger sibling was conceived: 60 Minute IPA. Once 60 Minute and 90 Minute were alive and beloved, 120 Minute IPA came along and broke the record for the strongest IPA in the world. The brewery dubbed 120 Minute IPA ‘the holy grail for hopheads’ and the beer’s reputation grew from there. “120 Minute started off at 20% alcohol, but now we’ve dialed it in to come in right about 18% alcohol. We’ve found over the last 7-8 years that is where its balance is best,” Sam says. “Unlike bigger beers that drink like a liquor, 120 Minute still drinks like a beer. Our huge beers are meant to drink more like beers – they’re carbonated like a beer, they just have way more flavor, complexity, and hoppiness. We sell the beer in single-serve bottles, but it’s best when split between two people or enjoyed over the course of an evening,” Sam admits.
The vibrating football game broke after a few batches (its electronic parts weren’t meant to be held over a steaming kettle), but the idea for continual hopping lives on. Today, the ka-woosh sound of a pneumonic cannon shooting fistfuls of hops into 200 barrels of boiling wort echoes through the wood-paneled brewhouse every few minutes. That’s the sound of innovation in the off-centered way that Dogfish Head loves.
The Dogfish Head idea train
While Dogfish Head initially made their reputation on 60, 90, and 120 Minute IPAs, those beers were just the breakout beers for this enterprising young brewery. The Dogfish Head idea train kept rolling and picked up steam along the way. Sam admits that innovating gets harder every year when you have so many bright bulbs in the American craft brewing industry. “With 7,000 breweries and most of them looking for creative ideas, it gets harder and harder to find white space where no one else is playing,” Sam explains. For example, Sam points to naming new beers. “10-15 years ago, I wouldn’t have to think about it. Oh, Raison d’Etre. No one else is going to use that crazy name! And now, today, we come up with a great name and you enter that word with the word ‘beer’ after it on Google and press enter and hope for the best, but odds are that some tiny little brewery in Spokane or Austin, Texas is thinking of that same name. So, coming up with names, let alone recipes that are unique and viable and exciting is hard.”
For Dogfish Head, staying faithful to their creative muse becomes increasingly challenging but vitally important. Sam tells his co-workers who are working on the latest round of off-centered ales, “don’t copy anybody.” Sam is explicit about his desire to remain original or keep working. “Try to come up with our own inspirations. There are a lot of breweries who made a good run of it for 10, 20, sometimes 25 years by being fast followers. You can just draft (in the bicycling sense) behind the leaders and make a living out of being a fast follower, but that has never really excited me.” Sam candidly admits, “I would rather we take risks and go for it and do some exotic things. Sometimes they don’t work and sometimes they work.” He points to a few examples like “in the case of Piercing Pils, we made a beautiful crisp pilsner with pears, but we decided to do it as a winter beer, and it turns out people don’t really want to drink a pilsner when its ten degrees in New England. That one didn’t sell well, so we hiatused it.” Experimentation has its upside, too, and while not every beer may be a home run, the road to the company fastest-growing beer was paved with test batches and chances taken.
The best-selling beer in the company’s history came from innovation – a collaboration beer with the National Aquarium. “With SeaQuench Ale, five years ago if you tried to say ‘Hey, I’m going to make 40-50,000 bbls of a beer that’s a mashup of a kolsch, a Berliner Weiss, and a gose with black limes and sea salt, people would have thought you were crazy, but now it’s the fastest-growing beer in the history of our company.” Looking for innovations has been the path that Dogfish Head has carved for itself and Sam wants the brewery to keep going down that path.
Sam feels that SeaQuench’s multilayered appeal is key to inviting new drinkers to the world of great beer. “We know that we have a winner in SeaQuench and especially in a hot climate like Florida, we see that SeaQuench will be a viable year-round beer since it appeals to margarita drinkers and pinot gris drinkers alike.” Sam says he sees long-term success with SeaQuench, and the brewery is going to continue to bet on it. “I think the runway is super long for SeaQuench, so I think in 2019 we’re going to do a complimentary beer very different from SeaQuench sour that we think will do really really well.” Sam says that Florida can expect to see this new beer from April through the summer as long as it lasts.
Being one with the music while marching to their own drummer
Each year, Dogfish Head supports Record Store Day, a day celebrating independent record stores nationwide. In recent years, that support has included collaborations with well-known musicians. Sam prefers collaborations that have a “karmic resonance” – when brewer and music-maker each contribute their talents to the project. As an example, 2018’s collaborator was Flaming Lips frontman, Wayne Coyne. Coyne was so inspired by the project that he wrote two original songs for the project. The beer that resulted from the collaboration, called Dragons & Yum-Yums, was part of the brewery’s Art Series in 2018 and has a rumored return in the future.
The next collaboration is already in the works, and Sam says the drinking public will find out soon. “We have a love for music as much as for beer, so without giving too much away, they’ll be a big announcement of a really internationally famous band that’s famous with a few different generations that we’ll be doing something with next year.” This spirit of collaboration is not just limited to national bands. “We’ll be doing stuff with more local indy bands as well – lower profile but still super cool. We’re going to still go hard at the music front.”
What’s after IPA?
Despite his success with 60 Minute, 90 Minute, and 120 Minute IPA, Sam thinks long and hard about what beer could replace IPA in the hearts and minds of beer drinkers. When asked ‘what’s after IPAs,’ Sam furrows his brow and says, “IPAs are what’s after IPAs.” We’re a bunch of wily vets in this room, so we think everyone is getting sick of IPAs. As we all know, independent craft beer still has less than 13% market share, so 87% of the folks out there drinking beer are hopefully getting interested in craft and with IPAs, there’s never been so galvanizing or scalable a style in the 35-year history of the craft brewing renaissance as IPAs.” Part of the beauty of the style is how many different nuanced flavors it can accentuate. “That being said, the fragmentation of the IPA styles is going to accelerate as some sections from session IPAs to fruited IPAs to New England IPAs get more traction and get more dynamic.” Sam believes that the IPA style has so many facets and layers that it will continue to be the most favored beer style among beer enthusiasts for years to come.
More than a fishing story
As Dogfish Head continues to grow and size up, Sam says that the brewery’s current size “feels right.” While his 200-barrel brewhouse is considerably larger than the seven-barrel brewery Sam had previously aspired to, the scale of the brewery fits with its current portfolio and the number of beers that resonate with the beer-loving public. Sam reflects, “here we are in a room with our original half-barrel system on one side and our 200-barrel system on the other. This equipment is surreal to me, how big it is, but it doesn’t feel wrong or awkward, it still feels right.” Sam admits that he is not overwhelmed by how big the brewery is because of the organic growth it took to get there. “I would be freaked out if we got to the scale that we are and only made 60-minute IPA. But the fact that there are tanks outside that hold 1,200 barrels of beer and some of them are filled with Punkin Ale, some of them are filled with SeaQuench, some of them are filled with Flesh and Blood, some are filled with 60 Minute, it feels right to me that we got this big because we didn’t have to change our business model and our off-centered approach to brewing to get to this size.”
Sam smiles at the impact that Dogfish’s love of culinary ingredients and off-centered approach has had on the beer industry as a whole. “We were the original that said in our business plan that the majority of beers we make will be made with culinary ingredients and that was true when we were the smallest brewery in America and it’s still true today when we’re a top 12 brewery. The majority of the recipes that come out of this building are made with culinary ingredients.” While the winds of change have blown through the entire brewing industry in recent years, Sam says he’s proud of the way Dogfish Head has grown. “If anything, the brewing industry bended towards what we were doing, which was being more creative, more flavor-forward, more adventurous with our flavor profiles. The scale is admittedly big for an independent craft brewery, but it still feels right, still feels good.”
More than beer: Dogfish Head’s mission
While all of the beer Dogfish Head has made continues to open minds about craft beer, Sam says that his biggest point of pride in the company is how the mission has evolved to its current state. “We’re really proud of the fact that (as a company) we’re about people first and product second. Our mission statement is: We are off-centered goodness for off-centered people.” Dogfish Head may have grown beyond its original location, but the company works hard not to forget its roots, Sam insists. “That mission statement serves to remind everyone that it’s the people that make Dogfish Head special, not the equipment or the recipes first.”
As the season of summer comes to an end on the calendar, Labor Day offers one last chance to get together with friends and family at the pool, the beach, the river, or the park before September and October rattle through into winter time and relatively cooler temperatures. In preparation for those final pool parties, beach days, picnics, and tubing sessions, choosing the right beer can make Labor Day shindigs that much better and brighter. The right ale or lager can add depth and complexity to any dish and the Labor Day cookout is no exception.
Here are a few ideas for Labor Day beers that can endure the Florida sun and keep the party going:
For the Grillmasters: Samuel Adams Oktoberfest (5.3% ABV) The toasty malt in this amber-colored lager will be enough to match flavors with burgers, dogs, and pulled pork while maintaining a relatively low alcohol content. Try one with your favorite bacon cheeseburger, slider, or sausage and see how many layers of flavor this beer really shows.
For the Football fans:Coppertail BrewingIndependent Pilsner (5.5% ABV) College football is finally kicking off for the season – watch parties and football days are back. Why spoil these events with inter-team rivalries? Tampa’s Coppertail Brewing has a beer that doesn’t take sides! Independent Pilsner is light in body but with a touch of hops and a clean finish. And those tater tots, nachos, or jalapeño poppers? Independent Pilsner will not get in the way of any savory halftime snack.
For the Pool partiers:Dogfish Head SeaQuench (4.9% ABV) For those who want to get a few days poolside, SeaQuench has you covered. This beer is a hybrid of three light-bodied styles of beer and has a citrus presence and touch of salt. Those of who might like a low-country boil and/or cedar-plank salmon are in luck also – SeaQuench was specifically designed to pair with seafood.
For the Beachgoers and boaters:Swamp Head Brewery Hydroslide Kolsch (4.9% ABV) For those who’re looking to get in touch with mother nature in the motorboat, canoe, kayak, or water shoes, Gainesville’s own Swamp Head Brewery’s summer classic Hydroslide Kolsch is made for weekends like this. Dry-hopped for aroma, this light-bodied ale will quench a thirst and go well with virtually any picnic or cookout food.
For the Bonfire/ Mallow roasters:Abita Brewing’s Purple Haze (4.2% ABV) While some insist that a s’more has to be roasted over a campfire, the oppressive heat of Florida summer cannot be understated. Whether you decide to roast marshmallows outside or make indoor s’mores in the oven, try some chocolate and sweetness with Abita Brewing’s Purple Haze. This wheat lager has an addition of raspberries added to it so that anything sweet and chocolatey will gain the berry flavor. So basic chocolate s’mores become raspberry chocolate s’mores. Chocolate bars become raspberry chocolate bars, and so on.
To find these fine ales and lagers, please click over to our Beer Finder.
Cheers to Labor Day, football season kicking off, and enjoying a day with friends and family. Please enjoy the day and enjoy it responsibly.