This Is America’s Oldest Beer


25. Michelob Original Lager
> Year introduced: 1896
> State of origin: Missouri
> Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV

Modeled after European-style pilsners and marketed as a beer for connoisseurs, Michelob Original Lager was first brewed in 1896 in St. Louis, Missouri. Michelob was not widely distributed until 1961, when Anheuser-Busch developed a pasteurized version of the beer that could be shipped legally across state lines.

While Michelob Original Lager is not a top-selling beer these days, it spawned one of the most popular beers in America. Michelob Ultra, a low calorie, low carb beer marketed to beer drinkers with an active lifestyle, shipped 6.4 million barrels in 2016, more than all but a handful of other beer brands.

Source: jamescridland / Flickr

24. Anchor Steam Beer
> Year introduced: 1896
> State of origin: California
> Parent company: Anchor Brewing Company

First brewed in San Francisco in 1896, Anchor Steam is one of America’s oldest beers that is still widely consumed today.

Anchor Steam Beer derives its name from a unique brewing process characteristic of a bygone era. Following the California Gold Rush in the latter half of the 19th century, beer makers in the San Francisco area would cool fermenting beer in vats on brewery rooftops. This process of warm beer cooling in the cold air would create clouds of steam. Consequently, nearly every beer from that time and place in history was nicknamed “steam” beer.

Source: skewgee / Flickr

23. Narragansett
> Year introduced: 1890
> State of origin: Rhode Island
> Parent company: Narragansett Brewing Company

The New England region is home to hundreds of craft breweries, large and small. Well over a century before many of these brewed a drop, however, there was Narragansett Brewing Company. Founded in Rhode Island in 1888, the brewery churned out its first beer, Narragansett, in 1890.

Officially becoming New England’s largest brewery in 1914, Narragansett nearly went under during Prohibition. The company, which survived the dry spell by selling beer for strictly medicinal purposes, has weathered significant ups and downs ever since. Today, Narragansett is one of the oldest beers in America and is widely available throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states.

Source: pinoyed / Flickr

22. National Bohemian Beer
> Year introduced: 1885
> State of origin: Maryland
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

National Bohemian, colloquially referred to as Natty Boh, was first brewed by National Brewing Company in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1885. Though Pabst Brewing Company bought the brand in 1999, it retained its iconic logo, and it remains one of the oldest beers in the United States.

While many beer drinkers outside of the mid-Atlantic region may never have heard of National Bohemian, they are certainly familiar with one of the brand’s contributions to the beverage industry. In the late 1940s, Natty Boh became the first beer to be sold in six-packs.

Source: eschipul / Flickr

21. Schmidt
> Year introduced: 1884
> State of origin: Minnesota
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

Minnesota was full of family-owned breweries back in the late 1800s, and Schmidt’s was one of the first. Founder and brewmaster Jacob Schmidt moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1884, where he purchased a large stake in the North Star Brewery. Schmidt ended up retiring in 1899 and passing ownership of the company to his daughter and son-in-law.

The brewery’s name changed to the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company in 1901 and remained that way until 1955. Images of wildlife on the surface of the Schmidt beer can and the slogan, “Official Beer of the American Sportsman,” illustrates Schmidt’s brewing tradition of accentuating the rugged appeal of the Pacific Northwest.

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