Thursday, May 5, 2011

George Washington and Beer

MMMMMMMM, some of my favorite things combined – History and Beer.  I’m actually kinda surprised that it took this long for someone to do this, so kudos to the Schmaltz Brewing Company (makers of He’Brew, reviewed HERE) for taking this on.  If you are in NY, you can sample the beer on May 18 at Rattle N Hum, a mid-Manhattan bar. I would love to hear how it goes.

Also, for those interested, here is the verbatim reading of the recipe-

"To Make Small Beer
Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran 110504-gw-brew-10a_grid-4x2Hops to your Taste. -- Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask -- leave the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working -- Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed."


Founding lager

He was our nation's thirst president.

In 1757, back when George Washington was in the Virginia militia, the then-colonel jotted down his secret recipe "to make small beer."

Although the formula has long been a prized possession of the New York Public Library, the Coney Island Brewing Co. is finally putting history to good use by cooking up a batch of the Revolutionary brew.

"Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste. Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler," the recipe begins.

After adding molasses, Washington advises, "let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t." In the event of a cold winter, he suggests wrapping the cooler in a blanket.

The original dollar drafts are being crafted as part of a celebration of the main building's centennial.

"This is a great way to bring one of our real treasures to life and make it relevant today," Ann Thornton, the library's acting director, said of bringing back the swig party.

The recipe was contained in a notebook containing George Washington's diary and other musings, such as the names of his wagon horses: Nelly, Jolly, Ball, Jack, Rock, Woodfin, Prince, Buck, Diamond and Crab.

A batch of the suds, called Fortitude's Founding Father Brew, will be served to craft-beer aficionados May 18 and to guests at a centennial celebration May 23.

The porter's unique flavor, described as a full and robust, is expected to set off fireworks with brew lovers.

Washington was well-known among his peers for frequently indulging his taste for good beer.

On the day when the last British troops left New York in 1783, Washington stopped at the old Bull's Head Tavern -- located on the street that later became the Bowery -- for a draught of ale, according to "Brewed in America," the well-respected beer-history tome.

His headquarters when he was in New York City had been at the inn kept by Samuel Fraunces -- Fraunces Tavern -- which still stands today on Pearl Street.

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