In what has seemingly become a conga line of new products, Budweiser has announced its latest effort, a red lager based on a recipe kept by President George Washington.
The news comes on the heels of the beer giant announcing the first beer in the Budweiser Reserve Collection, a collaboration with Jim Beam bourbon to create the limited edition Reserve Copper Lager, to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. This new brew, named Budweiser Freedom Reserve Red Lager, will be the second beer in that collection and is inspired by a recipe found in Washington’s personal military journal, which dates all the way back to 1757. In his journal, Washington describes it as a “small beer” though it was believed to have been given to soldiers of the British Army – and much of the recipe is available on the Digital Public Library of America. It will be brewed by veterans and a portion of the proceeds will go to support Field of Honor, a charity that provides educational scholarships to military personnel and their families.
According to Budweiser, Red Lager is 5.4% alcohol by volume beer brewed primarily with toasted barley grains, giving it a slightly sweet aroma with a little bit of hops, a rich caramel malt taste and a hint of molasses for a smooth finish. It’ll be sold in a flashy vintage stubby bottle – both retro bottle styles and retro labeling are trending marketing moves these days – and it will be available in a one-pint can. Red Lager will be sold at retailers this month and will be around until September, or while supplies last.
The St. Louis based company is not the first to take Washington’s recipe descriptions and turn it into liquid gold, however. Yards Brewing Company, a local Philadelphia brewer that pumps out about 200,000 barrels a year, has been making George Washington’s Tavern Porter since 1999 – a 7% alcohol beer that is loosely based on Washington’s effort, which reflected his love for porters, especially, as the brewery claims, those made by Robert Hare, whose brewery stood blocks from their current location.
Clearly Anheuser-Busch InBev is pulling out all of the stops in a market that is dominated with craft beers, as new manufacturers are popping up across the country daily, but can it work? It’s no secret that they’ve taken a hit in recent years, though the company is continuing to grow substantially on a global level. Whether this beer help things trend the other way or not remains to be seen, but it will be kind of awesome to try another beer similar to that which one of our nation’s greatest forefathers drank, along with knowing that a portion of the proceeds are going to help those who keep us safe.