As if we needed an excuse to drink beer (we don’t), April 7th marks National Beer Day in the United States. Unlike a lot of other booze-related holidays — International Gin & Tonic Day, National Cosmopolitan Day, and World Whisky Day, just to name a few — National Beer Day wasn’t invented just for any old reason to drink. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) We’ve actually got history to thank. Let us explain.
National Beer Day celebrates the day when the Cullen-Harrison Act, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, went into effect in 1933. Enacted eight months before the official end of Prohibition, the law legalized the sale of beer with up to 3.2% alcohol by weight (or 4% by volume), which was thought to be too low to be intoxicating.
The law was signed on March 22nd and went into effect 16 days later. Upon signing the legislation, Roosevelt made his famous remark, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” The American people did not disagree. On April 7th, throngs of drinkers across the country gathered outside breweries and taverns for their first legal beer in 13 years. Some even camped out overnight, dubbing the evening of April 6th “New Beer’s Eve.” In the first 24 hours after the amendment was changed, 1.5 million barrels of beer were consumed. We’re talking the equivalent of about 50 ounces for every man, woman, and child in the US at the time.
In honor of the Cullen-Harrison Act, we — much like President Roosevelt — think this is a good time for a beer. But why not laugh in the face of Prohibition and take things up a notch by adding some liquor to your brew? Here are 5 beer-based cocktails every imbiber needs for National Beer Day.
Alright, this doesn’t exactly have liquor in it, but it’s a classic for a reason. Mexican cerveza gets a kick with tabasco and worcestershire sauce, plus a chili-salted rim. You can play around with the traditional recipe by adding your favorite juice or throwing in a shot of tequila. See recipe
This cocktail is not for the faint of heart, but undoubtedly enticing. The Bloody Hell blends IPA with bourbon, jalapeno, blood orange, and agave for a concoction that’s hoppy, spicy, and sweet. See recipe
Watermelon season is about to start, so why not celebrate summer a little early with the Summer Hoedown cocktail? Made with refreshing wheat beer, watermelon, and maraschino liqueur, it tastes exactly like the season. See recipe
Don’t let the ridiculous name of this cocktail fool you — it’s big, bold, creamy, and delicious. A lighter yet boozier version of an Irish Car Bomb, it blends vodka, Bailey’s, and American lager to create a guilty pleasure you’ll want to drink again and again. See recipe
Rub & Rye
If this cocktail was a man, he’d likely be a bearded lumberjack living in the woods in Vermont. The Rub & Rye combines Belgian beer, whiskey, barbecue bitters, and a hint of maple syrup — plus a beef jerky garnish, no less — for a libation that’s smoky, meaty, and fearless. See recipe