This has to be one of the most interesting events the Brewers' Association has staged yet: a celebration of the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth with a national distribution of "Poor Richard's Ale," an attempt to recreate a colonial American ale. (Franklin's writings extolled the virtues of ale as a healthful tonic.) The recipe (pdf) comes with all kinds of interesting historic tidbits: Franklin's favorite beer was probably similar to what we now call an Old Ale, and not a porter (first brewed in America in 1775) or a lager (first brewed in America in 1840). It was probably light on hops, which were all imported and expensive in Franklin's America, and the hop was probably Kent Goldings, and not Fuggles (first bred in the 19th century).
Probably the most distinctive aspect of colonial American beer to us modern craft brew drinkers, however, is that molasses was apparently commonly used as an adjunct (along with corn). In fact, the designer of Poor Richard's Ale says he recommends using a medium molasses instead of the more authentic Blackstrap in order to avoid having the molasses taste overwhelm everything else.
Poor Richard's Ale is being brewed by a huge number of different microbreweries around the country, including nine here in Colorado. Check here for a brewery near you. Some of the breweries are already pouring Poor Richard's, and all of them should have it available by January 17, the actual 300th anniversary of Franklin's birth. I definitely want to track down a pint myself.