Budweiser is launching their latest limited-edition summer beer—the Freedom Reserve Red Lager—inspired by America’s first president’s own hand-written recipe.
According to the New York Public Library, in 1757 Washington penned an entry in his military journal titled “To Make Small Beer.”
“Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste — Boil these 3 hours,” Washington wrote in his journal. “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.”
The Freedom Red Reserve Lager is brewed with toasted barley grains and a hint of real molasses, just like Washington instructed. In using this ingredient from Washington’s original recipe, Budweiser’s vice president of marketing Ricardo Marques tells PEOPLE they’re telling the story of the first Commander-in-Chief by not only “bringing an amazing beer, but also a taste of history.”
“It has a little bit more character than our Budweiser flagship in terms of flavor and taste, but we believe that this is the perfect brew for the summer season,” he says.
A portion of proceeds from the limited-edition beer—which is available in stores from May 1 until the end of September—will go to Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of injured or fallen soldiers.
“We have also selected a special group of veterans to brew this freedom reserve,” Marques says. “So there’s a beautiful story of giving back to their fellow service members and their families.”
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Marques tells PEOPLE that storytelling has always been at the heart of the company’s philosophy, whether it’s through their memorable Super Bowl commercials or through a beer that shares George Washington’s vision.
“What we realize is we have incredible stories to tell. We have incredible, passionate people that make Budweiser possible,” Marques says. “We love celebrating real stories out there in the world—not only our own stories but also the stories of people that we believe share our values.”