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50 American Beers To Try This Summer

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During the warm summer months, most U.S. breweries offer special seasonal beers specifically crafted to be sipped in the hot sun. Craft beer trends like fruit-infused IPAs and sours are growing more and more popular, but whether they're wheat beers, pilsners, or even dark beers like porters, they can easily be thrown into a cooler and taken to the beach or backyard BBQ on lazy summer days. Here are 50 American beers to try this summer.

1. AGAVE WHEAT // BRECKENRIDGE BREWERY // COLORADO

Courtesy Breckenridge Brewery

Breckenridge Brewery calls this wheat ale the "nectar of the beer gods." Perfect for drinking or to enhance a dinner recipe, Agave Wheat is listed as one of Breck Brew’s “main line” beers. Sold year-round, you’ll find that subtle notes of agave create a light and refreshing taste that goes well with hot days. The brewery also makes the seasonal SummerBright Ale, lighter and “ideal for picnicking, evenings on the screen porch and enjoying the whims of summer.”

2. ALLAGASH SAISON ALE // ALLAGASH BREWING COMPANY // MAINE

Courtesy Allagash Brewing Company

Allagash Saison Ale is this Portland, Maine brewing company’s take on a farmhouse-style Belgian ale. Gold in color, it's effervescent and pairs well with spicy, flavorful food (plus, it can help reduce the effects of a humid day).

3. AMOROUS // WICKED WEED BREWING // NORTH CAROLINA

Amorous is a sour beer, also known as an American Wild Ale for its use of wild yeasts that make an intentionally acidic or tart flavor. Sour beers have gained in popularity over the years and are known to be a popular choice for the dog days of summer. Amorous spends nearly a year aging in red wine barrels before becoming ready for you to enjoy in flip-flops and a tank top.

4. ANCHOR MEYER LEMON LAGER // ANCHOR BREWING COMPANY // CALIFORNIA

Anchor's newest canned beer is an American lager beaming with tart, bright flavors thanks to California-grown Meyer lemons. "Complexity without cacophony," as they say. If you prefer your lemons in lemonade, Anchor has been brewing their Summer Wheat every year (and only available from May through August) since 1984. 

5. APOCALYPSE COW // THREE FLOYDS BREWING CO. // INDIANA

Courtesy Three Floyds Brewing Co.

If you find yourself visiting the Midwest this summer, be sure to check out Three Floyds, a small Indiana brewery known for memorable and delicious beers since 1996. Their Apocalypse Cow is a double India pale ale that tastes like a blend of citrusy and floral hops and is only made in small batches. Artist Dan Grzeca, known for his artwork for musicians like the Melvins and Andrew Bird, designed the beer's label. But be careful: This strong seasonal has an 8.6 percent ABV. If that's too steep for a lazy afternoon, try the Calumet Queen, a refreshing Kölsch-style beer that is also suited for summer.

6. BEERITO // OSKAR BLUES BREWERY // COLORADO

Courtesy Oskar Blues Brewery

Cool down in extreme heat with Oskar Blues’ Mexican lager, Beerito. An ice cold can of this amber-hued, 4-percent ABV lager should go down easily.

7. BELL’S OBERON ALE // BELL’S BREWERY // MICHIGAN

Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery claims their beer, which has only four ingredients and is fermented with their “signature house ale yeast,” tastes the way summer should feel. Oberon Ale “is the color and scent of sunny afternoon” and its happy-sun label makes it an inviting addition to summer activities.

8. BOOGIE BOARD STUNTZ // OTHER HALF BREWING CO. // NEW YORK

Matt Coats

If you find yourself needing a break from New York City’s heat, head to Brooklyn’s Other Half Brewing Co., where they’ve been creating quality beers since 2014. Boogie Board Stuntz is an easy drinking, limited-edition summer Kölsch that'll have you making plans to hit up Rockaway Beach.

9. CITRADELIC // NEW BELGIUM // COLORADO AND NORTH CAROLINA

Courtesy of New Belgium

Soothe your sun-kissed skin with the bright flavor of oranges and tangerines. New Belgium’s Citradelic has notes of tangerine-infused orange peel and a dry and clean finish. New Belgium started in Fort Collins, Colorado, but after opening an additional brewery in North Carolina, their beers can now be enjoyed in 28 states.

10. DEAD RISE OLD BAY SUMMER ALE // FLYING DOG BREWERY // MARYLAND

Courtesy Flying Dog Brewery

Brewed to celebrate Old Bay’s 75th anniversary—and meant to go down easily with summertime shrimp, Maryland blue crabs, and corn—this seasonal is made by Maryland-based Flying Dog Brewery. Fun fact: Flying Dog originally opened in as a brew pub in Aspen, Colorado, which was once home to Hunter S. Thompson, a friend of Flying Dog's owner. Continuing that connection, the labels feature illustrations by longtime Thompson collaborator Ralph Steadman.

11. EMERGENCY DRINKING BEER // WILD HEAVEN CRAFT BEERS // GEORGIA

Courtesy Chris Rank // Rank Studios

A conversation starter in a can: First you'll be drawn to Emergency Drinking Beer’s great name and design, but you'll quickly fall in love with this Pils-style beer that combines citrus zest, Portuguese sea salt, and lemongrass. 

12. EOS HEFEWEIZEN // NEBRASKA BREWING COMPANY // NEBRASKA

A sweeter Bavarian wheat beer, the company calls this “an award winning Hefeweizen from the Heartland.” A favorite amongst critics and winner of various awards from 2010 through 2014, this summer beverage is medium to full-bodied and pairs well with salads, seafood, and goat cheese.

13. FESTINA PECHE // DOGFISH HEAD BREWERY // DELAWARE

Berliner Weisse is known for intense tartness, based on the raspberry or cherry syrups it can be fermented or typically served with. Dogfish Head thinks of their seasonal Festina Peche as a neo-Berliner Weisse, which they ferment with peach extracts. It's a session sour beer sold in four-packs, and is meant to be a crisp, refreshing beer for lounging in the heat.

14. FOCAL BANGER // THE ALCHEMIST // VERMONT

Courtesy The Alchemist

One of the great things about The Alchemist’s beers is their exclusivity: They must be enjoyed in the Green Mountains of Vermont, and, as one user reviewed on Beer Advocate, the brew “smells like a wedding in the meadow.” Take a trip to their new brewery, which opened this summer, and try the Focal Banger. If you find yourself in Vermont, but don’t have time to visit them, try a Heady Topper, their acclaimed flagship double IPA.

15. FOUNDERS PORTER // FOUNDERS BREWING CO. // MICHIGAN

Though more often thought of as a cold-weather beer, for those who enjoy a nice dark beer rather than an IPA, try Founders Brewing’s Porter. Served chilled, this American porter can be enjoyed year-round. But if you need to wear a hat and jacket while sipping heavier beers, try it as a beer float.

16. GOIN’ COASTAL // SWEETWATER BREWING COMPANY // GEORGIA

Courtesy SweetWater Brewing Company

Atlanta’s SweetWater brewery introduced a new seasonal IPA this year which is available all summer. Described as having bright aromas, a quick finish "just like those three day weekends," and the slightest hint of pineapple, Goin' Coastal is so tasty thieves recently ran off with 3272 cases. (That's over 78000 bottles of beer!)

17. GOOD JUJU // LEFT HAND BREWING COMPANY // COLORADO

If you’re in the mood for a spiced beer that feels more like a ginger ale, try Left Hand Brewing’s Good Juju. Described as a light ale with organic ginger, it's mellow enough for a backyard cookout or after-work treat.

18. GRAPEFRUIT GROVE // CIGAR CITY BREWING // FLORIDA

Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing says, “we make beer we like to drink and toast those who choose to drink with us.” For fans of grapefruit, try this limited release sour beer while basking in the Florida sun.

19. GRAPEFRUIT SCULPIN // BALLAST POINT BREWING COMPANY // CALIFORNIA

Ballast Point took a twist on their award-winning IPA and added grapefruit. The tartness enhances the flavors of this pale ale's citrusy hops, and makes a smooth summery brew.

20. HELL OR HIGH WATERMELON // 21ST AMENDMENT BREWERY // CALIFORNIA

Courtesy 21st Amendment Brewery

Don’t be fooled by the name: Hell or High Watermelon is an American wheat beer brewed with real, fresh watermelon, but the fruit flavor is not overwhelming. It's just slight enough to feel refreshing, and is why 21st Amendment refers to this drink as "summer in a can."

21. HOP SUN // SOUTHERN TIER BREWING COMPANY // NEW YORK

Courtesy Southern Tier

This session ale by New York's Southern Tier Brewing Company is a golden wheat beer that has been a summer staple since 2004. They suggest pairing Hop Sun with fresh mozzarella, chilly gazpacho, and other picnic fare. Cheers to that!

22. KOFFEE KÖLSCH // HUSS BREWING // ARIZONA

Java lovers can enjoy the reasonably light (4.7 percent ABV) Koffee Kölsch from Huss Brewing in Tempe, Arizona. The lightness and drinkability with a coffee kick is perfect for sipping all summer long, but is thankfully available year-round for those who like boozy iced coffee.

23. LA ROJA // JOLLY PUMPKIN ARTISAN ALES // MICHIGAN

Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja sour beer has hints of spice, caramel, and sour fruit notes that come from months of barrel aging. If you like sour ales and are near one of their four Michigan locations, pop in and enjoy.

24. LAGUNITAS PILS // LAGUNITAS BREWING COMPANY // CALIFORNIA

Courtesy Lagunitas Brewing Company

Lagunitas Brewing in California is known for their craft ales, but with PILS, they created their only lager. Light and crisp like the waters on the coast of Petaluma where it originated, it's a Czech-style pilsner that you can drink all day long.

25. LOST HIGHWAY // MOTHER ROAD BREWING COMPANY // ARIZONA

If summertime makes you think 'road trip,' then Lost Highway Imperial Black IPA out of Mother Road in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona should become your go-to beer. Smooth and dark and “dedicated to the long stretches of Route 66 lost in time,” this darkish ale is made for the pit-stops between those endless miles.

26. LUNCH BREAK ISA // BREAKSIDE BREWERY // OREGON

If you brake for hops, then Portland’s Breakside Brewery’s ISA, aptly called Lunch Break, is the session IPA for you. The trend of session ales began as a way to deliver hop-heavy beers with lower alcohol content than usual IPAs, and with hints of orange marmalade and grapefruit, this beer might have you extending that lunch hour just a tad.

27. OTRA VEZ // SIERRA NEVADA // CALIFORNIA

Sierra Nevada’s “perfect warm weather beer” is gose-style beer, a German sour that incorporates California’s prickly pear and grapefruit to create a light bodied and tangy—with a touch of sweet—brew.

28. OVERBOARD IPA // BIG ISLAND BREWHAUS // HAWAII

If sipping an ultra-hoppy IPA soothes you, try Hawaii’s Overboard IPA. Big Island Brewhaus won gold at the 2013 U.S. Beer Open Championship, and this pale ale is on draft if you find yourself on Hawaiian beaches this summer.

29. PASSION FRUIT KICKER // GREEN FLASH BREWING CO. // CALIFORNIA

Courtesy Green Flash Brewing Co.

Sweet. Tart. Fruity. Passion Fruit Kicker is a 5.5 percent ABV wheat ale that Green Flash Brewing calls an "exhilarating crowd pleaser." Brewed and bottled in SoCal, Passion Fruit Kicker’s flavor comes from "cold steeped passion fruit tea" from a local retailer, as well as passion fruit concentrate.

30. PIVO HOPPY PILS // FIRESTONE WALKER BREWING COMPANY // CALIFORNIA

Firestone Walker calls its Pivo Hoppy Pils a "classically rendered pilsner" with a West Coast twist. Based on Czech and German pilsners but heavily influenced by the dry-hopped pils of Northern Italy, this brew can be enjoyed with heavier foods, like any summer barbecue items.

31. SEERSUCKER SUMMER PILS // ABITA // LOUISIANA

Courtesy Abita Brewing Company

Abita’s Seersucker Summer Pils is available from June through September and is a perfect beverage for lounging in lawn chairs in your puckered cotton while digging into grilled chicken and summer salads. If you want a lighter option, try Abita Light, which is only 118 calories and available in a six-pack.

32. SOCK KNOCKER // CORONADO BREWING CO. // CALIFORNIA

Sock Knocker is an Imperial IPA, or double IPA, which is 8.5 percent ABV and full of tasty hops. Or, as Coronado boasts, "an even more obscene hops overload than our infamous Idiot IPA."

33. SONGBIRD SAISON // TALLGRASS BREWING CO. // KANSAS

Songbird uses dry-hopping to make a Belgian-style ale with hints of apricot and lemon. Tallgrass calls this saison gentle on the palate and suggests serving it alongside rustic, earthy flavors like roasted meat and tangy cheese.

34. STEALIN’ TIME // MAGIC HAT BREWERY // VERMONT

Courtesy Magic Hat Brewing Company

“Stealin' Time is a hazy summer sipper that will while away the days with a light malt sweetness,” says Magic Hat. A pinch of ginger, a touch of hops, and best enjoyed while listening to Gerry Rafferty.

35. STORMCHASER IPA // FREE STATE BREWING // KANSAS

Described as crisp and light-bodied, this blonde brew out of Lawrence has notes of orange and grapefruit, and was apparently created for the "brave and slightly crazy breed of Free Stater" who likes to chase the Sunflower State's famous twisters.

36. SUMMER ALE // BLUE POINT BREWING COMPANY // NEW YORK

Long Island brewer Blue Point knows summer. Their Summer Ale is light and tangy, and with 4.5 percent ABV, is a favorite at both the boardwalk and the pool.

37. SUMMER ALE // BROOKLYN BREWERY // NEW YORK

Available during peak stoop and rooftop hanging time in New York, Brooklyn Brewery’s Summer Ale can be enjoyed with seafood, quiches, and over long Sunday brunches as a quintessential addition to summertime in NYC.

38. SUMMER BLONDE // RIVER HORSE BREWING CO. // NEW JERSEY

Courtesy River Horse Brewing Co.

New Jersey’s River Horse Brewing Company makes its Summer Blonde available—in both bottles and cans—from April through August. This American blonde ale is perfect for hot summer nights under the stars.

39. SUMMER LOVE ALE // VICTORY BREWING COMPANY // PENNSYLVANIA

The City of Brotherly Love's travel and tourism group commissioned Victory Brewing to create a beer that would "capture the essence" of the city's history—Summer Love was their answer. The ale is a tasty, golden treat with a touch of lemon and whole flower hops.

40. SUMMER OF LAGER // CISCO BREWERS // MASSACHUSETTS

Summer of Lager is a Bohemian pilsner, a perfect beach beer—but enjoy this one where it's brewed, right on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts. If a light beer is what you’re after, pick up a six pack of Sankaty Light, another Cisco Brewers product that’s just 126 calories and named after the famous Nantucket lighthouse.

41. SUMMER SOLSTICE // ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING COMPANY // CALIFORNIA

Known as a "cream soda for adults," Anderson Valley’s Summer Solstice is a seasonal session beer that is lightly sweetened with caramel and spice. And since it pairs with everything from barbecue chicken to s’mores, feel free to pack it for any outdoor eating event.

42. SUPERFUZZ BLOOD ORANGE PALE ALE // ELYSIAN BREWING // WASHINGTON

Tasting notes of blood orange and Northwest hops mingle in this medium-bodied pale ale, the Seattle brewery's nod to hometown legend Jimi Hendrix.

43. TANK 7 FARMHOUSE ALE // BOULEVARD BREWING COMPANY // MISSOURI

Courtesy Boulevard Brewing Company

Tank 7 is a saison, or a farmhouse ale known for high carbonation, from Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri. But if you’re not into hop bitterness and high alcohol content (Tank 7 pulls an 8.5 percent ABV), try Boulevard’s Ginger Lemon Radler, a lighter, slightly sweet option with the ideal bitterness of a lemonade.

44. TOWER STATION IPA // MOTHER ROAD BREWING COMPANY // ARIZONA

Courtesy Mother Road Brewing Company

Another from Mother Road Brewing, Tower Station is an unfiltered IPA. The best thing about this beer? The delicious taste is practically overshadowed by the cool design of the pull-top can, which makes the top completely removable, leaving you with an aluminum pint glass.

45. TRÖEGS SUNSHINE PILS // TRÖEGS INDEPENDENT BREWING // PENNSYLVANIA

Winning various awards since 2008, including the 2012 Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival, Tröegs Sunshine Pils is a Bohemian style Pilsner with a straw and gold hue perfect for summer sipping.

46. TROPICÁLIA // CREATURE COMFORTS BREWING CO. // GEORGIA

Athens, Georgia's Creature Comforts Brewing got in on the summery IPA game with Tropicália, a blend of passion fruit and citrus hops that they say leads to a “fruit journey for your palate.” This relatively new brewery just celebrated its two year anniversary in April, but judging from the beers they're putting out, they'll be around for a long time.

47. TROUBLESOME // OFF COLOR BREWING // ILLINOIS

Explained by Off Color Brewing as two beers—an uninteresting wheat beer and overly acidic, funky beer—blended together with coriander and salt, this gose style beer has a "fuller sensation of mouthfeel."

48. WAILUA WHEAT // KONA BREWING COMPANY // HAWAII

Courtesy Kona Brewing Company

Named for the Wailua Falls found on Maui’s Hana Highway, this golden ale is generally only available in Hawaii, but is now available in the contiguous states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico as of this year.

49. WHITEWATER // GREAT DIVIDE BREWING CO. // COLORADO

Try Whitewater at Colorado’s Great Divide brewery in downtown Denver, or pack some cans for your summer hiking or rafting trips in the Rockies—this American wheat ale has hints of citrus and floral notes, giving it an even bitterness.

50. WOLF AMONG WEEDS IPA // GOLDEN ROAD BREWING // CALIFORNIA

Courtesy Golden Road Brewing

First brewed in 2012, this strong double IPA with 8 percent ABV comes from Golden Road, Los Angeles’s largest craft brewer. It has a nice hint of pine and citrus scents, as if you needed another reminder to spent your summer days out in the wild.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Wine
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by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Between the vine and the liquor store, plenty of secrets are submerged in your favorite bottle of vino. Here, the author of Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma spills some of the best.

1. DIGITAL EYES ARE EVERYWHERE IN VINEYARDS.

Certain premium estates in Bordeaux and Napa are beginning to look a little more like an army base—or an Amazon.com warehouse. They’re using drones, optical scanners, and heat-sensing satellites to keep a digital eye on things. Some airborne drones collect data that helps winemakers decide on the optimal time to harvest and evaluate where they can use less fertilizer. Others rove through the vineyard rows, where they may soon be able to take over pruning. Of course, these are major investments. At $68,000 a pop, the Scancopter 450 is about twice as costly as a 1941 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon!

2. THERE ARE ALSO LOTS OF COW SKULLS.

They’re not everywhere, but biodynamic farming techniques are on the rise among vintners who don’t want to rely on chemicals, and this is one trick they’ve been known to use to combat plant diseases and improve soil PH. It’s called Preparation No. 505, and it involves taking a cow’s skull (or a sheep’s or a goat’s), stuffing it with finely ground oak chips, and burying it in a wet spot for a season or two before adding it to the vineyard compost.

3. FEROCIOUS FOLIAGE IS A VINTNER’S FRIEND.

The mustard flowers blooming between vineyard rows aren’t just for romance. Glucosinolates in plants like radishes and mustard give them their spicy bite, and through the wonders of organic chemistry, those glucosinolates also double as powerful pesticides. Winemakers use them to combat nematodes—tiny worms that can destroy grape crops.

4. WHAT A CANARY IS TO A COAL MINE, ROSES ARE TO A VINEYARD.

Vintners plant roses among their vines because they get sick before anything else in the field. If there’s mildew in the air, it will infect the roses first and give a winemaker a heads-up that it’s time to spray.

5. VINTNERS EXPLOIT THE FOOD CHAIN.

A trio of wines
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Small birds like blackbirds and starlings can clear out 20 percent of a crop in no time. But you know what eats little birds? Big birds. Falconry programs are on the rise in vineyards from California to New Zealand. Researchers have found that raptors eat a bird or two a day (along with a proportion of field mice and other critters) and cost only about as much to maintain as your average house cat.

6. THE BIG PROBLEMS IN TASTING ROOMS ARE VERY SMALL.

Winemakers are constantly seeking ways to manage the swarms of Drosophila melanogaster that routinely gather around the dump buckets in their swanky showrooms. You know these pests as fruit flies, and some vintners in California are exploring ways to use carnivorous plants to tackle the problem without pesticides. Butterworts, sundews, and pitcher plants all have sweet-sounding names, but the bugeating predators make for terrific fruit fly assassins, and you’ll see them decorating tasting rooms across wine country.

7. WINE NEEDS CLEANING.

Winemaking produces hard-to-remove sediments. Filters can catch most of the debris, but winemakers must add “fining agents” to remove any suspended solids that sneak by. Until it was banned in the 1990s, many European vintners used powdered ox blood to clean their wines. Today, they use diatomaceous earth (the fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae), Isinglass (a collagen made from fish swim bladders), and sometimes bentonite (volcanic clay). Irish moss and egg whites are also fine wine cleaners.

8. ATOMS HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.

About 5 percent of the premium wine sold for cellaring doesn’t contain what the label promises. So how do top-shelf buyers avoid plunking down serious cash on a bottle of something bunk? Most elite wine brokerages, auction houses, and collectors use atomic dating to detect fraud. By measuring trace radioactive carbon in the wine, most bottles can be dated to within a year or two of the vintage.

9. FINE WINES GET MRIs.

Even with atomic dating, there are certain perils involved in buying a $20,000 bottle of wine. Leaving a case in the hot trunk of your car is enough to ruin it, so imagine what can happen over a couple of decades if a wine isn’t kept in the proper conditions. Back in 2002, a chemistry professor at University of California at Davis patented a technique that uses MRI technology to diagnose the condition of vintage wines. Not planning any $20,000 wine purchases? This is still good news for the consumer. This technique may soon be used at airport security, meaning you’ll be able to carry on your booze.

10. THERE’S A TRICK TO AGING YOUR WINE.

If you end up with a bottle of plonk, Chinese scientists have developed a handy solution. Zapping a young wine with electricity makes it taste like something you’ve cellar aged. Scientists aren’t quite sure how it happens yet, but it seems that running your wine for precisely three minutes through an electric field changes the esters, proteins, and aldehydes and can “age” a wine instantly.

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Why Do People Drink Mint Juleps at the Kentucky Derby?
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Whether you plan to enjoy the race from Churchill Downs or don an elaborate hat in the comfort of your own home, if you're watching the Kentucky Derby, you may find yourself sipping on a refreshing mint julep this weekend. But, why?

The drink—a cocktail traditionally composed of bourbon, sugar, water, and mint—has been a Kentucky favorite since long before Churchill Downs came into play. In fact, in 1816, silver julep cups were given as prizes at Kentucky county fairs (a change from the stuffed animals they offer today). And before that, a “julep” was considered medicinal, “prescribed” for stomach problems and sore throats.

Though mint juleps have likely been enjoyed at the Kentucky Derby since the beginning—legend has it that founder Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., planted mint for cocktails when he founded the track in 1875—the cocktail wasn’t declared the “official” Derby drink until 1938.

It was just a few years ago that the Derby switched to a more “authentic” version of the mint julep. For almost two decades, the 120,000 mint juleps served at the races were made with Early Times. Based on the aging process, Early Times isn’t considered bourbon (just “Kentucky whisky”) in the U.S. In 2015, they switched to Old Forester, which is also owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation.

Even with the switch to “real” bourbon, what most revelers actually get is the Old Forester Ready-to-Serve Cocktail mix, not a handcrafted mint julep—unless you’re willing to pony up $1000. For the past 13 years, Brown-Forman has served a special version of the drink made with Woodford Reserve small batch bourbon. It’ll set you back a grand, but hey, you get to keep the pewter cup—and proceeds benefit the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund (yes, that Jennifer Lawrence). In 2016, the Oscar-winning actress—and Louisville native—founded the organization "to assist and empower organizations that fulfill children's needs and drives art access to positively impact the lives of young people."

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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