I write on the internet for a living and barely feel like I have time left at the end of the day to clean my house and maybe walk the dog. How George Washington ran a country and also made time for fun hobbies like homebrewing is totally beyond me. But homebrew he did, and one of his recipes is now the inspiration for a new Budweiser beer from Anheuser-Busch called Freedom Reserve Red Lager.
The 1757 “recipe” is less a recipe and more of a general outline of his process—what temperature am I mashing in at, G-Dubs?—but it still contained enough details for the brewers at Anheuser-Busch to build a beer around it. Curiously, it also includes instructions to let the beer stand “til it is little more than Blood warm.” (Thanks to Fortune for transcribing Washington’s cursive into something us screenfreaks can actually read.)
Brewers have tough choices to make when recreating historic beer recipes; some will fastidiously keep to ancient techniques, forgoing hops (to make a type of beer called gruit) or using hot stones to heat the brew (as in the case of steinbiers). But Budweiser updates Washington’s recipe with conventional ingredients—drinkers will likely thank them for that—including toasted barley, caramel malts, hops, and a bit of molasses. Molasses seems to be the only intriguing ingredient here, though molasses has certain been used by breweries before to contribute additional fermentable sugars to the beer recipe.
The Freedom Reserve Red Lager, lifted as it was on Washington’s military diary, also benefits veterans through the Folds of Honor program. It will hit shelves in stubby bottles and one-pint cans in May and should be available through September. As for what to pair it with, maybe grilling massive quantities of steak, or shooting fireworks off a trampoline, or other traditionally American pursuits.