Budweiser Will Brew George Washington's Beer Recipe This Summer

The Freedom Reserve Red Lager will flow to the benefit of America’s military families.

By Ethan L. Johns
May 02, 2018

Image: Budweiser

Alcoholic brews have been around for as long as recorded history. These days, creative craft brewers traveling back in time to search for inspiration. And as things go, the big businesses, too, start to join the party.

On Tuesday, Budweiser announced the release of its new limited-edition Freedom Reserve Red Lager, a historically-themed beer based on a recipe from President Numero Uno, George Washington. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the beer will be donated to Folds of Honor, which provides educational scholarships to military families.

Budweiser hopped on the bygone brew bandwagon late last year with the debut of its Reserve Collection. To acknowledge the repeal of Prohibition (on the milestone of its notable 84th anniversary), the brand released the 1933 Repeal Reserve, which was modeled after Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch’s original amber lager recipe.

George Washington was a known tippler, brewer and distiller. During the Revolution, he saw to it that his men always had a sufficient supply of the hard stuff—to keep the spirits up, naturally. Rumor has it that he even once disappeared on a three-day bender in 1787 after partaking in the Fish House Punch, though this is likely untrue.

The new Freedom Reserve Red Lager is inspired by (meaning loosely based on) George Washington’s 1757 recipe for a simple “small beer” (a term for low-alcohol beer), which is transcribed as follows:

“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.”

The Freedom Reserve Red Lager is brewed with toasted barley and has an aroma featuring “a touch of hops, a rich caramel taste and a smooth finish with a hint of molasses.” Keeping with the charitable mission of the project, the limited-edition beer was brewed by a group of veterans.

Budweiser’s Freedom Reserve Red Lager will be on shelves from May until September 30th, for as long as stocks last.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns