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More than 8000 breweries are in operation in the United States today, ranging from huge conglomeration businesses to small, microbreweries. But it was only a century or so ago that beer was actually illegal to make, sell or drink in the US. In the time since Prohibition ended in 1933, America has again picked up its beer game and done a good job of it too.

National American Beer Day offers the opportunity to enjoy and celebrate this auspicious and esteemed beverage!

History of National American Beer Day

American Beer has a history that is, well, longer than the United States of America has as a country! In fact, Native Americans began brewing a mild alcoholic corn ale probably at least 1000 years ago, long before the colonists from Europe arrived to settle the land with the intention of turning it into the USA.

And even from the beginning of American history, beer was an important part of the culture and survival in the New World. Beer would have arrived in Massachusetts on the Mayflower, which was the first official boat filled with Pilgrim settlers. And the beer continued to flow as an import from Europe as local breweries were being set up in the area.

Because the water was sometimes unsafe to drink, beer was even consumed by women and children, often with a very low alcohol volume of only around 1%.

When what is now the US was first settled, Home brewing was very popular, but also rather dangerous considering the fires that could potentially break out. The first record of a commercial brewery that made American beer was in 1632, set up in New Amsterdam, which would later become New York.

American beer has been around for several hundred years now, and National American Beer Day seeks to honor and celebrate its rich history as well as its future. A little bit different from National Beer Day, which is celebrated in April as the day that the 18th Amendment repealed Prohibition, National American Beer Day is more specific. It’s not just about any beer, it’s about American Beer!

Typically made to be a bit lighter than the deep, dark beers that can be found in many parts of Europe, American beers are made as an ‘adjunct pilsner’, which means that some of the malted barley is actually replaced with either rice or corn. This makes the beer lighter, less hearty, and gives it less of that strong flavor of hops that its European counterparts often have.

Offering a unique flavor of its own, American Beer certainly provides beer drinkers with plenty of reasons to celebrate! With a rich history that includes names like Samuel Adams, Budweiser, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium Fat Tire, brewing companies in the US have a lot to bring to the table when it comes to beer.

In fact, some beers that have a reputation for being foreign are actually American beers too. Killian’s Irish Red, Foster’s Lager, Beck’s and Kirin are all beers that are brewed in the United States, making them also fall into the category of American Beers.

So get ready to enjoy and celebrate everything to do with this venerable product on National American Beer Day!

National American Beer Day Timeline

10th Century AD

Pueblo Native Americans brew corn ale

Centuries before they had contact with the colonists in the northeast, Pueblos in the southwest were brewing a weak ale made from corn. [1]


First publick house is licensed

In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, what is now the USA, the first pub is licensed to make and sell ale and American beer on the premises. [2]


Yuengling Brewery is founded

Started by a German immigrant, its original name is Eagle Brewery. This American beer company is still owned and operated by the Yuengling family today. [3]


Prohibition creates problems for brewers

The short span of time when alcohol is forbidden in the United States, lasting for almost thirteen years. [4]


Homebrewing beer is made legal in US again

Made illegal in 1919 with the Prohibition act, almost 60 years later home brewers can legally make their own American beer again.[5]

How to Celebrate National American Beer Day

Looking for fun and enjoyable ways to honor and celebrate National American Beer Day? Get started here with some of these ideas for paying heed to the day – and, of course, never forget to drink legally and responsibly:

Drink an American Beer

For those living in the US, this should be an easy way to celebrate! Simply head on down to the local bar with a few coworkers after work and ask for a favorite American made beer. Or, grab a six-pack of bottles or cans at the grocery store and take them home to enjoy with a neighbor. National American Beer Day would be a great time to try out an American beer that you haven’t tried in the past.

Of course, there are the basics, like Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Michelob and Pabst. Or, get a bit more adventurous and try something a little unique, like a hand crafted beer that is brewed locally.

Learn More About American Beers

Raise awareness and let everyone around know that it’s National American Beer Day by sharing tidbits and fun facts about this day and its guest of honor: American Beer!

  • The color of a beer (whether American or otherwise), is directly influenced by the amount of malt that is contained in the beer.

  • Craft breweries are continuing to become an important part of American beer culture, and the most craft breweries in the US are located in the west, in the states of Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington.

  • Pabst Blue Ribbon beer used to actually come with a blue ribbon! A manager named Pabst had his employees tie blue ribbons around beers when they were served. Of course, the practice got a bit pricey, but that’s the legend about where this beer got its name.

  • Even with the rising market share of craft beers, the Anheuser-Busch company continues to hold the largest market share of beer in the United States. They are responsible for Budweiser, Stella Artois, Rolling Rock, Goose Island, Johnny Appleseed, Shock Top and many other domestic beers.

Try Home Brewing Some Beer

One cool way to celebrate National American Beer Day is to get inspired by the hobby and craft of home brewing beer! It can be a fun and cool way to spend some time while also creating something unique and interesting. Part artistry and part science, Home brewing American beer requires a little bit of patience and a few supplies.

However, it can be pretty easy to order an entire home brewing kit that is pre-made and comes with specific instructions so people who are novices can still enjoy making beer even if they haven’t experienced it before.

National American Beer Day FAQs

What is American beer made of?

American beer is typically made of grain, mostly barley, that is malted, brewed with hops and fermented. [1]

How strong is American beer?

American beer usually ranges from 3.5 – 3.8 percent of alcohol by volume, but lagers can get up to 5.5. German beer is more like 4.5 – 5.5 or as high as 16 percent. [2]

What American beer has the lowest alcohol content?

Budweiser Select 55 has an alcohol content of only 2.4%. [3]

How much beer does the average American drink?

Overall, annual beer consumption in the United States for those of the legal drinking age (21+) is approximately 28.2 gallons per person. But only 28 out of every 100 adults in America drink beer. [4]

Do other countries drink American beer?

For the most part, American beer has not been extremely popular in places like Europe, but more recently it has begun being exported.

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