You may have heard that March 1 is Beer Day, but what you may not know is the history behind this celebration of the world’s greatest drink. In 1915, Iceland’s Prohibition began, banning the consumption of all alcoholic beverages for 74 years! Although after 1935 the ban only included so-called “strong” beers (over 2.25% alcohol), any beer aficionado can tell you that that’s pretty much the same as banning beer altogether. Iceland’s Prohibition ended on March 1, 1989, which is now fittingly celebrated as Beer Day in Iceland.
While we may completely sympathize with Icelanders for their deprivation from beer for all those years, unless we’re actually in Iceland on March 1 it’s pretty difficult to celebrate with one of their native brews, as Viking and Thule are pretty hard to come by here in the OC. However, take comfort in the fact that you can celebrate your appreciation of beer in a different way by ordering a tasty beer sampler at one of Orange County’s many local microbrews. Not only will this give you the opportunity to try what they’ve got on tap in a very non-committal way, it will make you realize just how lucky you are to have a delicious variety of craft brews available any day of the year.
Some great local places to try the inexpensive beer sampler are Oggi’s, Backstreet Brewery,BJ’s, Alcatraz, Karl Strauss, and Tustin Brewing Company. Typically a sampler includes 5 or 6 of the brewery’s popular selections from lighter lagers and wheat beers, to reds and browns, and finally a porter or stout to finish things off. Often the sampler selection will change based on the season and what’s available, so samplers are, again, a good chance to try the current best choices of the brewery without committing yourself to a pint.
Happy Beer Day!