Join together to toast International Beer Day

IBDFrom bars in Bavaria to tailgates in Tennessee, beer is an integral part of cultural identity. Like music, it brings people together with shared interests and common purpose.

The first Friday in August – which this year falls on Aug. 1 – is recognized around the world as International Beer Day thanks to the efforts of four guys in the United States.

To show your appreciation, grab a friend, head to a local bar and order some imported brews. Savor the experience of indulging in another culture and raise a well-deserved toast to your bartender while you’re at it. Because that’s what International Beer Day celebrates.

Since its founding in 2007 by Jesse Avshalomov, Evan Hamilton, Aaron Araki and Richard Hernandez, the day has grown from a small gathering at their local bar to a global celebration of beer at pubs, bars, breweries and backyards. It’s a day for beer drinkers to celebrate the beverages they love, sample the offerings of other cultures and thank the dedicated individuals who bring brew to the world.

There are numerous worthy imports to make this International Beer Day a memorably delicious one. We can’t list them all, so here are a few recommendations of the world’s most loved beer brands.

Tsingtao Lager is a Pilsner-style lager with a list of accolades. It is the top-selling Chinese beer in the United States, the top consumer product exported from China, and last year, it was the second top-selling beer in the world in terms of sales volume. The brewers at Tsingtao Beer say it “pairs well with a heated ping pong match,” so put down the pool cue and pick up a paddle.

For another Asian option, try Asahi Super Dry from Asahi Breweries. Deputing in 1987 as Japan’s first dry beer, this high-quality draft is now the most popular beer in Japan.

International Beer Day would not be complete without a Heineken Lager from Amsterdam. After all, Heineken International is, as the company describes itself, “the world’s most international brewer.” The brand has a global presence, with 125 breweries in more than 70 countries. It is the largest brewer in Europe, and in 2013, its flagship lager was the number two imported beer in the United States.

The award for number one import went to Corona Extra, brewed by Grupo Modelo. After its introduction to the United States in 1981, this lager became the fastest growing imported beer in U.S. history. Now recognized as the beer with a lime wedge, it is refreshing, flavorful and unique.

If you missed Canada Day last month, then International Beer Day is your second chance to raise a glass to the North. Fill it with Labatt Blue, the best-selling Canadian beer in the world.

Choosing our final recommendation was easy – enjoy a Newcastle Brown Ale, the classic English brown ale with a distinctive brown hue and sweet, nutty blend of malts.

International Beer Day is celebrated on a Friday for a reason. Kick off the weekend by expanding your beer repertoire and exploring other cultures. Don’t forget to thank your bartender and raise a toast to the breweries, too. And, as always, drink responsibly!