To celebrate the bicentennial of Paul Revere’s famous ride through Boston on April 18th of 1775, Anchor brewed their Liberty Ale. Ironically, the beer brewed to celebrate the call to arms against invading British soldiers in America, was of English origin; inspiration for the brew struck Maytag and his staff as they toured famed English breweries in the early 1970s. Legendary beer writer Michael Jackson referred to Liberty Ale as “a world classic,” and historian Tom Acitelli goes so far to claim that it was “quite possibly the most important beer of the late twentieth century.” There are several reasons as to why Liberty Ale holds such high esteem in the history of modern craft brewing. First, it was inspired by a style that was extinct in America, and falling out of favor with drinkers in the land it originated. Second, the brew was aggressively hopped for the time, measuring a 47 on the International Bitterness Unit (IBU) scale. The beer was not popular upon release; as the level of bitterness was appreciated by few drinkers. Even British drinkers remarked how Liberty was not true to stylistic guidelines. The body was too effervescent, it was not brewed in England, the yeast was American sourced, and it was flavored with American hops. However, this leads into the third point; Liberty was flavored with distinctly American hops, the Cascade variety specifically.
Eric Ortega, “The Golden State of Brewing; California’s Economic and Cultural Influence in the American Brewing Industry” (Master’s thesis, California State University, Fullerton, 2015), 57-58.