The July Fourth holiday is historically a peak time for beer buying – and, thus, drinking.
Americans spent more than $1 billion on beer last Fourth of July, according to credit and spending site WalletHub. To capitalize, beer makers have gone to extremes in past summers. (Remember Budweiser’s renaming of its core beer “America” in 2016 and 2017? And the camouflage-covered aluminum bottles in 2017, too?)
This year, the Brewers Association has deemed Wednesday “National Independent Beer Run Day,” to get celebrators to opt for beers made by the trade group’s members: most of the 7,300-plus smaller, independent breweries across the U.S.
“Our libations and the liberation we’re celebrating should go hand in hand. As you plan for this Fourth of July, think independent and drink independent,” Julia Herz, director of the association’s craft beer program, said in announcing the promotion.
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The week leading up to July 4 has been the highest sales week of the year each of the last five years, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Sales were roughly 35% higher those weeks vs. than the norm, the data suggests.
Luckily, a recent list of the top 25 U.S. craft beers offers some suggestions of new brewskis to fill your cooler with. And who better to get advice from than those who brew their own beer at home? Readers of Zymurgy, a magazine of the 46,000-member strong American Homebrewers Association, selected these as the top beers in a recent AHA survey conducted.
The 25 best beers in America
1. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale*
2. Russian River Pliny the Elder*
3. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale*
4. Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)
5. The Alchemist Heady Topper*
6. Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS)
T7. Founders All Day IPA
T7. Bell’s Hopslam*
T9. Founders Breakfast Stout
T9. WeldWerks Juicy Bits*
11. Cigar City Jai Alai IPA*
T12. Tree House Julius*
T12. Three Floyds Zombie Dust*
14. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro*
15. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA*
T16. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale*
T16. New Holland Dragon’s Milk*
T18. Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine*
T18. Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale*
20. Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
T21. Allagash White*
T21. The Alchemist Focal Banger*
23. North Coast Old Rasputin*
T24. Odell IPA*
T24. Russian River Blind Pig I.P.A.*
Note: All breweries marked with an asterisk (*) are small and independent craft brewers.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.
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