New beer from Budweiser is based on George Washington’s handwritten recipe

With summer just around the corner, Budweiser is ready to open the tap on its newest summer beer. And, the company decided to reach back into history to find its inspiration from someone who defines America: George Washington!

Yes, THAT George Washington — as in, the “Father of Our Country” and our nation’s first president. We may not have read about his love for beer in our history books, but apparently Budweiser has done a little research and uncovered some personal writings by Washington that inspired the company’s latest batch of brews.


The idea came from a recipe for beer handwritten by Washington in the 1700s. The result is Budweiser’s Freedom Reserve red lager. The brewing giant is using toasted barley grains and real molasses in making it, two things mentioned in Washington’s recipe.

“It has a little bit more character than our Budweiser flagship in terms of flavor and taste,” said Ricardo Marques, Budweiser’s vice president of marketing. “But we believe that this is the perfect brew for the summer season.”

The company’s hope is not only about “bringing an amazing beer, but also a taste of history,” Marques added.


Washington’s Special Recipe

In one of his military journals dating back to 1757, Washington wrote down a recipe for making the adult beverage. The New York Public Library has the notebook, with the recipe, documented as “To Make a Small Beer,” in its archives:

“Take a large sifter full of bran hops to your taste — boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 gallons into a cooler, put in 3 gallons molasses while the beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the cooler,” Washington wrote.

He continued: “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.”

New York Public Librrary

Proceeds from the beer, which is available only until the end of September, will go to Folds of Honor. This nonprofit organization provides educational scholarships to military families. As of this year, Budweiser says it has raised $14 million in support of Folds of Honor.

“To call Budweiser a partner would be an understatement — they are considered family to us and the 3,000 families their donations help to support,” said Major Dan Rooney, founder and CEO of Folds of Honor. “Freedom Reserve is a great testament to their unwavering dedication and compassion for our armed forces and we salute them.”