Beer for Ben

Poor Richard's Ale celebrates Ben Franklin's 300th anniversary

Dec 3, 2005 - Brewers across the United States are ready to toast the man some call "The First American."


Scores of independent breweries across the nation have begun brewing a special beer to honor Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday in January. Poor Richard's Ale was formulated to resemble a beer that Franklin himself might have enjoyed and brewed.

"Franklin is widely quoted as saying: 'Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,'" said Ray Daniels, Director of Craft Beer Marketing for the Brewers Association. "So when the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary asked us to help create a beer to celebrate this milestone we were happy to become involved."

The Association held a competition to identify a suitable recipe and then began enlisting brewers from across the country to brew batches of Poor Richard's Ale. Breweries and other pubs will serve the celebratory beer in January, and it will be on tap at official birthday celebrations Jan. 17 in Philadelphia Jan. 17.

Consumers can find locations serving Poor Richard's Ale by visiting on the Internet.

A panel of award-winning brewers and others with an eye toward history chose the recipe for Poor Richard's Ale. It includes two distinguishing ingredients: molasses and corn. Both were common in ale during colonial times and each would have helped to reduce the colonists' dependence on imported British ingredients-a fact that would surely have pleased Franklin.

"The ingredients and flavor were chosen to create a beverage like one that Franklin himself might have enjoyed," said Nicola Twilley, Director of Public Programming for the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and one of the recipe judges.