The red lager is based on a homebrew recipe written by our founding father, George Washington. It was brewed by Budweiser employees who are military veterans, and a portion of proceeds will benefit Folds of Honor, a nonprofit that provides military families with educational scholarships, according to an announcement from Anheuser-Busch.
As the geekiest of beer nerds may know, the New York Public Library houses the homebrew recipe from Washington’s 1757 notebook. The handwritten recipe is titled “To Make Small Beer,” and has been replicated by several brewers on a small-batch scale in recent years, such as Rockaway Brewing of Queens, N.Y.
The recipe contains instructions on boiling hops, molasses, and yeast, presumably yielding a reddish, slightly sour, low-ABV ale.
Budweiser is the latest to make their version of the brew, but the lager will likely bear little resemblance to Washington’s original brew. As Thrillist points out, Washington’s setup was probably a little different than Anheuser-Busch’s massive, state-of-the-art, quality controlled facility.
However, it’s still an interesting history lesson for Budweiser drinkers.
Here’s a direct transcription of George Washington’s recipe, “To Make Small Beer,” via the New York Public Library:
Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste — Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 Gall. into a Cooler put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler. Strain the Beer on it while boiling hot let this stand til it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold cover it over with a Blanket. Let it work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask. leave the Bung open til it is almost done working — Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.