After his wife died giving birth to their sixth child, Civil War vet Henry Jackson Smart was left to raise the litter all by himself. Imagine, if you will, what the average day was like for Henry: six kids of varying age screaming, kicking the crap out of each other, wetting the bed, refusing to eat their vegetables. It was hard on the single father until he found himself a worthy partner to alleviate the stresses of child-rearing: beer, and lots of it.
Fueled by the saintly patience only good ale can provide, Henry did such a good job with the kids that he inspired his daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, to organize the first Father's Day on June 19th, 1910. Fourteen years later, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father's Day, and Nixon, established it as a permanent day of national observance in 1972.
It's possible we made up a good portion of the history above, but that's no less reason to buy your pops a beer or two this Father's Day. It was with him you probably had your first beer; it's only right that you return the favor. Here are five beer suggestions for whatever type of dad you got stuck with.
For the dad who smokes: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen
Brewed in Bamberg, Germany with malt dried over a smoking wood fire, Schlenkerla's Märzen smells and tastes like natural tobacco and barbecued meat. It'll be like buying him a box of cigars without all the secondhand smoke.
For the dad who does chores: Rogue Dad's Little Helper
Some dads do a lot of chores around the house, from taking out the trash to mowing the lawn to fixing leaky pipes. Dad's Little Helper, a black IPA from Oregon's Rogue Brewery, is a brew with the flavors of roasted coffee beans and cocoa tempered by the bitterness of piney hops. It's will show him you appreciate all the hard work, and you won't even have to lift a finger.
For the dad who drinks scotch/bourbon/rum/red wine: Mikkeller Black Hole Barrel Aged Edition
The regular-release Black Hole is a dark, intensely sweet Russian imperial stout brewed with cassonade, honey, coffee and vanilla. Last year, the Danish brewery released several variations of the stout, each aged in a different barrel type -- bourbon, scotch, red wine and rum -- so you can make the right choice for whatever your old man's favorite liquor might be.
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For the dad who only drinks Bud: Bell's Oberon
It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, especially if the old dog has been drinking light American lagers for 40 years and thinks the new tricks taste like soy sauce and butt. Oberon is just the beer for the intractable dad -- light enough that it won't be too far from what he's used to, yet flavorful enough to open his eyes to new possibilities.
For the cranky dad: Founders Curmudgeon
If the old man's gotten to be a bit of a grouch in his old age (and who wouldn't, after having to deal with you as a kid?), Curmudgeon's just the beer. Brewed with molasses and irresponsible amounts of malt and then aged in oak, it's an old ale that'll show you still love his ornery old ass.