During the Prohibition Era, people wanting to toss back a cold one after a long day had to settle for alcohol-free near-beer. No wonder they consumed more than 1.5 million barrels of beer in the first 24 hours after the beverage became legal again on April 7, 1933. Beer once more became a staple in American culture, growing into an industry that now tops $100 billion in annual sales.
Every year on April 7, Americans mark the day the taps turned back on by celebrating National Beer Day. You can raise a glass to your favorite brew by looking for special promotions at your local pub or bar or by venturing into new territory with a visit to one of the most unique taprooms in the country.
The Brew Exchange: Austin, TX
You might be in Texas, but you'll feel like you're on Wall Street at the Brew Exchange. The beer prices fluctuate based on supply and demand, so you never know what you'll pay for a beer. But as the time honored advice goes: buy low.
Did someone just order your go-to IPA? The price just got higher for you. The good news is other IPAs just went down by the same amount. Look for the least-ordered beers to cash in on the lowest drink prices and take your tastes on a new adventure.
Watch the prices fluctuate on the 1960s-style ticker or flat screen "big boards" around the bar. Want to play it safe? Put your money into four-beer flights called "mutual funds," or order one of five drafts that always cost just $5 or $5.50. You can also grab a can of beer, which range from $3.75 for Lone Star and PBR to $5.50 for Heineken and a handful of others.
Blairally Vintage Arcade: Eugene, OR
Take the four o'clock tour of Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene, then dip into the Blairally Vintage Arcade at the rear of the building for more beer, fun and games. The brewery-arcade combo offers one of the most teen-friendly ways to celebrate National Beer Day in the country. And your teen will thinks it's pretty cool, too.
Minors age 13 and older can tag along on the beer tour at Ninkasi and hang out with the adults in the tasting room and its patio, which offers a food cart du juor. They can also play the vintage pinball and other arcade games at Blairally before the all-adult witching hour of 9 p.m.
Get your brew on while you play the games of yesteryear at the beercade. Besides Ninkasi on tap, treat your taste buds to one of the best tap lists in the city along with live music and bar nosh.
Cheers: Boston, MA
If you're a fan of the show about the bar "where everybody knows your name," you'll be doubly delighted to tip back some brewskies at Cheers in Boston. There are two of them.
Cheers at 84 Beacon Street is the one that inspired the television show, and you'll recognize its famous exterior. Walk down the steps into the bar and you might feel a little lost. The original bar is much smaller than its TV counterpart, and the bar itself is tucked against the back wall. The other Cheers is in Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The outside might not look familiar, but the interior looks just like it did on TV. The bars are just a mile apart by foot, and the walk between them takes you along the northern edge of Boston Public Garden.
Beers at both location are served in a souvenir mug, which you can purchase for an additional $7 — a sensible price for such a fitting National Beer Day gift.
City Beer Store: San Francisco, CA
Create your fantasy six pack by mixing and matching from more than 400 brews at City Beer Store. But the wall-o-beers cooler of brewery delights isn't all the shop has going for it.
You might want to linger before heading home with your six-pack to celebrate National Beer Day in the privacy of your own home. The establishment has a daily menu of more than a dozen enticing drafts served up in glass goblets that showcase the color and clarity of your chosen brew.
Hop onto a barstool or settle back at a table in the beer store's extensive lounge area. Nibble local goodies like cheddar pecan or blue cheese walnut cheese coin crackers from Rustic Bakery in Larkspur, Calif., or candied bacon caramel corn from Oakland's Chunky Pig.
Mutts Canine Cantina: Dallas, TX
Celebrate National Beer Day with your furry family member at Mutts Canine Cantina. Grab a cold one in the beer garden or head out to the off-leash dog park.
When your dog's tongue is hanging out of his mouth, head back to the beer garden to relax in the shade of the oak trees. Order one of Mutt's dog-themed burgers and hot dogs and wash it down with a cold beer — just $6 for a draft and $5 for a can. While you're out there, cheer for your favorite sports teams on the patio's televisions.
Don't forget the celebratory nosh for your pup. Order your meat-eater a 100-percent beef Doggie Dog and treat him to vanilla custard with peanut butter for dessert.
HopCat: Grand Rapids, MI
If you're more of a feline lover, head to HopCat in Grand Rapids, Mich., and delight your craft beer cravings with the pub's 100 craft beers on tap.
HopCat's award-winning Grand Rapids location was voted RateBeer.com's Best Brewpub in the USA five years in a row, among many other accolades. If you can't make it to Grand Rapids, don't worry: There's a baker's dozen of other HopCats across the U.S., each with an anti-chain mentality, original artwork and their own menu of "all craft, no crap" beers on tap.
Drafts range from $4.50 to $10 and are served in pints, snifters or tulips and other glasses depending on style.
Lab Gastropub: Los Angeles, CA
Donate your taste buds to science with a trip to University of Southern California's Lab Gastropub. The university-owned and -operated pub features house-made, local, and well-known beers in a science lab atmosphere.
Stop in during Recess, another name for happy hour, to celebrate National Beer Day and dip into some $5 Trojan draft beers. Grab some grub and stick around for late night happy hour from 8 p.m. until close and enjoy $5 drafts, wine, well cocktails and appetizers.