How to Celebrate International Beer Day

Your mother probably told you it’s polite to write a thank you note when someone gives you a gift. So, when’s the last time you sat down and typed out an email (extra points for a handwritten card) to your favorite brewer or beer company? Don’t laugh, we’re serious. Here’s the next best thing… Celebrating International Beer Day. 

The year was 2007, and beer-lover Jesse Ashmarov decided the first Friday in August was an auspicious day to start an annual celebration in his local Santa Cruz, California. He wanted to honor the drink, but also the people behind the brewing, the bottles, the cans, and the kegs, by gathering with friends to celebrate and sip. Considering there is historic evidence of beer’s existence since 3400 B.C., we’re frankly surprised it took this long for an International Beer Day to catch on. Now, International Beer Day is celebrated in cities and countries around the world, and this year is your chance to gather some friends, try some new brews, and maybe flex those gratitude muscles.

What’s the Best Beer?

It’s commendable to have a favorite go-to beer. “Know thyself” as Socrates said. But just as your tastes reflect who you are, it’s brave and bold to branch out and try a beer outside your comfort zone. In fact, that’s why International Beer Day was created, to instill an appreciation for beer, in all its many forms, and for the people who make it and serve it. Honor the craft by trying something new…and we’ve got a perfect lineup for you! In the spirit of the celebration, we’ve picked a classic beer from seven different countries to really bring out the international in the day’s title. 

Your Guide to International Beers

For a good part of history, beer was considered safer than water. (They weren’t wrong, because harmful bacteria and organisms were boiled out of the local drinking water, plus beer provided extra minerals and nutrients). It’s a solid reason most countries and regions of the world have their own version of a malt beverage. 

Italy: Peroni

This crisp, refreshing pale lager was made for an August beer day. If you’ve ever pictured sitting outside a Roman cafe in the sunshine, sipping a cold beer as Italians stroll past your table, this is what would be in your hand. The recipe hasn’t changed since 1963, and includes ingredients that add a hint of citrus, a whisper of spice, and a classic pilsner profile. All good reasons for Peroni Nastro Azurro (it’s formal name) to be the best-selling beer in Italy. 

Mexico: Corona

There’s a reason “corona” translates to “crown”, and this king of Mexican beer is a great place to start if you want to understand Mexican malts. You, a chilled Corona, and a lime wedge may have met before, but did you know this classic beer goes much further back than your college days? It was first crafted in Mexico by Grupo Modelo in 1925, and its signature blend of sweet and hoppy cemented its popularity. 

Jamaica: Red Stripe

When you want a zesty lager that can stand up to a hot day, reach for a Red Stripe. The invention of Red Stripe admittedly started with British influence, but it also resulted in the first official brewery in Kingston, Jamaica. What started as a heavier, typically British beer in the 1920’s evolved swiftly into a lighter, more refreshing drink that included local Cassava root. Now, it’s a classic, and a great choice for pairing with everything from sushi to BBQ ribs.

The Netherlands: Heineken

It might be easiest to sum it up this way: There is literally a “Heineken Experience” museum in Amsterdam, complete with a tasting room. That’s how impactful this iconic beer has been for the Dutch, and the international beer community. It was born in a small family brewery in the heart of Amsterdam in 1864, and by 1890 it was being served in the Eiffel Tower’s restaurant in Paris. This pale lager’s pedigree is impressive, and we love it for its consistency. It’s always a solid choice when we want an unfussy, nuanced, great-tasting beer.

China: Snow

Coming out of the country’s northeast, Chinese beer Snow is a lager with a fizzy, light flavor that makes it a popular choice for those that can find it in the U.S. It’s the #1 selling beer in its home country, and if you’re interested in truly representing some of the world’s most influential beers, this one has to be on your list for International Beer Day.

USA: Budweiser and Bud Light

When something is as familiar as the Budweiser brand, do we really stop to think about what makes it unique? There are pretty cool details behind the Budweiser and Bud Light histories. That signature flavor — smooth, with a mildly apple-like note, comes from a blend of barley malt and rice. Budweiser, first brewed in 1876 in St Louis, was inspired by its brewers’ trip to what was then “Bohemia” (it’s now the Czech Republic), and when they got back, they made an Americanized version that is now the household name. Bud Light is younger, but turns 41 this year, since it first entered the beer scene in 1982. It swiftly earned the title of America’s best-selling light lager, and both brands are now iconic symbols of American beer.

Belgium: Stella Artois

Ask 10 beer aficionados, “What type of beer is Stella Artois?” and you’ll most likely have a 50/50 split between those that claim it as a European-style lager, while the other half insist it’s a pilsner. Either way, its golden color, slightly herbal flavor, and crisp finish make it 100% enjoyable. Just a touch floral, with a subtly hoppy finish, this is a great summer beer. It also holds a lengthy claim as the best-selling beer in Belgium, so you’re in good company on International Beer Day…feel free to toast your Stella-sipping brethren in Brussels, Bruge, and Beringen.

A Toast to International Beer Day

Whether you raise a can, bottle, pint, or glass, here’s to the countries, the farmers, the brewers, the importers, the purveyors, the bartenders, and the drinkers. Say it in all the languages you can, from Prost to Sláinte, Salud, and Cin Cin, and enjoy your International Beer Day. 

As always, you can find plenty of these beers and others at your local Cox’s and Evergreen Liquor store. Cheers!