"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. ... It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more." - John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 2, 1776.
That's right, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence two days before they voted in favor of the profoundly important Declaration. Our national celebration should actually be held two days before it is. Friday Froth: come for the beer nerdery, stay for the history dorkism. Feel free to bust both out at your cookouts on this king of three day weekends.
Breezily callous hauteur had a large part to do with creating the environment which lead to rebellion, so let's just start right off by saying don't be a beer snob this weekend, be a beer aficionado. There is no shame in knocking back icy quaffs of Budweiser, and the gimmicky stars and stripes cans are delightfully unsubtle and actually pretty good looking. So eat food cooked over fire, split the sky with pyrotechnics, and drink booze wrapped in the flag of your country: Adams the elder may have been slightly uptight, but it's damn sure what Ben Franklin would have wanted you to do. "There can't be good living where there is not good drinking," he said.
In December of 1776 the Continental army was not in great shape. The English army was the preeminent military power in the world, and the rebel Americans were barely trained, severely under equipped, and had taken more than a few demoralizing losses. On top of this, the English had enlisted the help of German mercenaries, the Hessians we all know, to aid them in putting a speedy end to our insignificant rebellion. On December 26 of that year George Washington lead the bulk of the Continental Army across the Delaware river on an abominable winter's night, surrounded the Hessians, and captured nearly their entire garrison. This rare victory gave a near inestimable boost to both his army and his cause. The Battle of Trenton took place just north of that city, in the general area of River Horse Brewing in Lamberville, NJ. River Horse Brewers Reserve Oatmeal Milk Stout Redux pours an opaque, singularity-level black with a caramel colored head. It has a sweet, malty aroma and a gorgeous malt flavor with a slight coffee acidity rounded by a rich oat/milk smoothness. I had a bottle from batch 005, and it was a winner. I actually got this stout because the establishment I chose that evening was out of Peak King Crimson Organic IPA. Serendipity: it's a wonderful thing - like being stood up by a blind date and meeting your future wife. This is just a super enjoyable stout.
Oskar Blues has been mentioned before in this space, and the canned Colorado craft brewer deserves further mention for their Gubna Imperial IPA. ("Does your CANscience bother you? Tell the tuth!") This 10%abv. IIPA is made with three malts and just one hop variety, but it makes the most of it at 100 IBUs. Translucent golden amber with an almost cannabinoid hop aroma, the first drops send sparks from your tongue's tip to one's brain saying "This is sweet!" before that millisecond passes and a wash of fresh, verdant, and poignantly spicy Summit hops storms the castle. It's the most decadent canned beer I've ever had, and worth the $16 per four pack: this is an $8-9 beer in a bar, and you're getting 4 for $4. I give it three harrumphs out of three.
I wish only the best for you all this weekend, in both comestibles and combustibles. I encourage you all to stand up, be brazen in your toasts, rock out, and buy a beer for an immigrant. Tell them "thanks for joining the team." Have fun, and be safe.