One of George Washington's first acts as Commander of the Continental Army was to proclaim that every one of his troops would receive a quart of beer with his daily rations.

As the Revolutionary War progressed, however, supplies of beer dwindled. And an irate Washington had to do battle with another opponent--the Continental Congress--in order to have his troops' rations restored.

Perhaps Washington's interest in beer had something to do with the fact that he was an accomplished brewmaster himself. The father of our country maintained a private at Mount Vernon. And his handwritten recipe for beer--said by his peers to be superb--is still on display at the New York Public Library.

In ancient times, beer was flavored with such things as coriander, rosemary, and lupine. Eventually, the people of Northern Europe learned to use hops instead. Hops added flavor to beer, made it clearer, and helped to preserve it. Anyone who has tasted beer flavored with coriander has reason to be grateful for this discovery.

Inspired by the Boston Tea Party, colonial rebels met in New York's Fraunces Tavern to plan a similar raid on British ships in the Hudson river. After the surrender of Cornwallis, the same tavern was the scene of George Washington's famous farewell speech to his officers.
Nor was George Washington the only founding father with a passion for beer. Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and James Madison eagerly promoted America's fledgling brewing industry. And Thomas Jefferson was said to have composed the first draft of the Declaration Independence over a cold draft at the Indian Queen tavern in Philadelphia.
These great men would no doubt be pleased that the enjoyment of beer remains an American tradition to this day. And America's brewers are proud to be an important part of that tradition.

We hope you find an occasion to enjoy a beer in the very near future. And when you do, we suggest you gather your friends and drink a toast to George Washington. The man who was first in war, first in peace, and almost certainly first in the esteem of his thirsty troops.

Colonial Americans used the term "small beer" to describe home brew which was generally lower in alcohol than commercially prepared "strong beer." George Washington's personal recipe called for a generous measure of molasses.

The Pilgrims had much to be grateful for at the first Thanksgiving. High on the list was something the Indians taught them: how to make beer from corn.