George Washington’s Personal Beer Recipe Makes an Exclusive Run Through Bent River Brewing Company
Craft beer has exploded in popularity over the past ten years. Those of us in the QCA are extremely lucky since we have so many local breweries where we get opportunities to try beer of all kinds.
Along with the explosion of craft beer drinkers in the last ten years, home-brewers are also on the rise, taking craft beer making to a newer, and much smaller level. This beer brewing revolution may seem ‘new’ to many of us,but it may surprise you to know it has been around for a while.
No, I’m not talking about the 1980’s, I’m talking way back to the birth of our great-again Nation, with small-batch and smallest-batch brew as a staple in homes-on-the-range to Homes on Pennsylvania Ave.
Apparently, even one of our founding fathers took part. Our first President and Greatest General, George Washington brewed his own beer. His recipe was discovered in a letter to his officers, and it looks to make about thirty to fifty five gallons. So, if you have the time, and a 55 gallon drum handy, go ahead and take a crack at Washington’s personal beer: (From his letter and diary)
To Make Small Beer
Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste. — Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall. into a cooler put in 3 Gall. Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses into the cooler & Strain 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 Blanket & 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.
If the work therein seems too much just to have beer for cigar night at the man cave, plan a trip to Bent River Brewing Company in Rock Island on Tuesday, February 21st. There we will be unveiling not only the original recipe of George Washington, but also an updated version made by Bent River Brewing Company.
When we first sat down with the staff of Bent River Brewing Co and showed them the original recipe their brewmaster Steven Ratcliff said to us, “You know this is going to taste like shit, right?” Now I know very little about making beer, so I’m not going to argue with him.
After some discussion, we tended to agree with Steven. We decided to have Bent River make a small batch of George Washington’s beer, for tasting purposes. Secondly, Bent River will make their own version of the beer we’re calling Old George’s Ale. (Ya know, a beer that’s a hat tip to our first president, but one that he knows our local beer drinkers will like too.) Knowing the good people at Bent River Brewing Company I’m sure this won’t disappoint.
We look forward to seeing you from 6-8 p.m. at Bent River Brewing Company on Tuesday February 21st. $3 will get you a sampling of the original recipe, an updated version of the new Old George’s Ale, AND a commemorative Old George’s Ale pint glass.