Thursday marked the 8oth anniversary of the end of Prohibition. Which means Friday marks the 80th anniversary of the first day in 13 dark, terrible years that God-fearing, freedom-loving Americans legally enjoyed the natural right to drink in the morning.
But just like with cigarettes, there is a certain nuance: Some are best for before dinner, while others are best enjoyed at dawn.
So in honor of the 80th anniversary of the first constitutional morningcap, here are two good options that are coming out soon, starting with the one that’s best for rookies, and wrapping up with an old time favorite that hasn’t been available for over a century.
Samuel Adams’ Rebel IPA
If you’ve had this beer, you live in Boston. Because right now, it’s only available on tap in a few bars. (We enjoyed ours on a Thanksgiving stroll.)
This is because it’s kind of an experiment — brewed in their old brewery, where they made a few kegs and shipped them to local favorites, like Joe’s American Bar & Grill. Bar customers enjoyed it so much there, the bar ordered some more, and our bartender steered us right in suggesting our first holiday drink.
Made in a West Coast style, the Rebel IPA is crafted with five kinds of Pacific Northwest hops and is instantly recognizable by its red spray-paint-can-styled tap.
Light, golden and see-through, the beer is lighter than what most of us are used in the super-heavy IPA craft market that dominates these days.
On the nose, there is a whole lot of bread, with a light, sweet citrus smell imparted by the Cascade, Simcoe, Centennial and Amarillo hops.
On the palate — and this is where the breakfast comes in — it’s lighter and fresher than most IPAs. The Rebel IPA is tangy and sharp on the tongue, with a touch of pepper on the end from the Chinook hops. While a lot of good India Pale Ales are best for one or two, this one is good for throwing back a six pack. Or, if it’s before we brushed our teeth, maybe just one. Plus one more for dessert.
And at 6.5 percent ABV, it won’t knock any men down.
But when it’s a party day, some among us might yearn for something a little stronger. And that’s where our friends from Tennessee come in.
George Dickel White Corn Whisky No. 1
A lot of folks are brewing white dogs these days. That is, unaged, clear whiskey. And most of them are garbage. Not so George Dickel No. 1.
Inspired by the first whisky George Dickel began distilling in 1870, this drink even came to us in a Prohibition style: in a wooden crate disguised as a box of samples of other George Dickel whiskys. It was only once we drank the top layer that we saw the treasure smuggled below:
But while aesthetics mean a lot when choosing a Christmas gift, who needs them on a moonshine morning?
On the nose, No. 1 is soft, with a slight, sweet, grain smell. On the tongue, at 91 proof, it will wake you up — but it isn’t harsh. Fresh with a touch of sweetness on the tongue, it has strong raw grain notes that aren’t unlike Cheerios. It isn’t until we drew a fresh breath over the whisky that we noticed its strength — there’s a fire hidden in there. But the choice of what kind of breakfast to enjoy — light or fiery — is the champion’s to make.
But strong or light, beer or whiskey, the point isn’t just that it’s legal. Thanks to Prohibition, morning booze is now a right enshrined in our Constitution.
God bless America.