July 2, 2014 at 2:55 PM ET
The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate America’s spirit of independence, but it’s also a marathon of sorts. There’s the picnic at the pool, an afternoon barbecue, and an evening full of fireworks. If you’d like to enjoy an all-American beer during each of the day’s many activities, then you’re going to need something that offers up a crafty taste, but that doesn’t have a ton of booze to bog you down.
Here are four beers in the 4 percent ABV range, each perfect for the Fourth of July. All are available in cans, which means you can take them everywhere the summer fun leads, even places where bottles are a no-no.
21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon
It’s hard to be more all-American than this watermelon infused brew – its label features Lady Liberty chilling out on the Golden Gate Bridge! While the idea of a watermelon beer might be off-putting to some, this beer does it right, delivering a natural fruity flavor (reminiscent of the last bite of watermelon near the rind) that’s not overpowering. Think of it as a gentle 4.9 percent ABV wheat beer that’s been kissed by the official fruit of summer. No barbeque or picnic is complete without the cool and refreshing taste of watermelon, and this beer delivers that quenching flavor in a can.
Founders All Day IPA
It’s right there in the name – this beer was made to be enjoyed all day long. A sip starts with a resinous pop of dank and peppery hops, which gives way to a mild thread of bready malts (the less malt used in the brew, the lower the ABV) and a dry, bitter finish. With an ABV of just 4.7 percent and a booming bite of piney hops, All Day IPA is a terrific choice for hopheads looking for big flavor in a manageable package.
Abita Purple Haze
The purple hue in this hazy wheat lager comes from raspberry puree that’s added just before the beer is packaged at the brewery. The result is a smooth brew with a toned-down blend of sweet wheat malts and a balanced raspberry flavor that’s not bracingly tart or cloyingly sweet, with a tiny flourish of citrusy hops on the finish. At just 4.2 percent ABV, this beer is a great companion for a long day of celebrating, especially if that day includes grilled fish and citrusy salads.
Avery Joe’s Premium American Pilsner
Not everyone is a hophead, and some live by the man-law of “don’t fruit the beer!” Joe’s Premium American Pilsner is just the ticket for these folks, offering up classic mainstream beer taste that’s been turned up to 11. Like a Budweiser, Joe’s has a bready malt backbone and a light bodied mouthfeel. But this 4.7 percent ABV lager takes a crafty turn when it comes to the hop profile. Joe’s will tickle your taste buds with a perfectly executed pop of floral Noble hops. This is a beer you can give to your old-school father-in-law without him thinking that his daughter married a fancy, fancy man.
While you might think that a Budweiser, a Coors Light or a Miller Genuine Draft might be American classics, here’s a news flash – they haven’t been American for quite some time. Budweiser was purchased by Belgium-based InBev in 2008, and in 2007 Miller and Coors entered a joint venture, 58 percent of which is owned by South Africa’s SAB Miller.
In other words, if you want enjoy a truly American beer on the Fourth, you should reach for a can, bottle or draft from one of America’s independent craft brewers. Being a patriot has never been so delicious!