Most people are unaware that most of the Founding Fathers of the nation also brewed their own beer. Thomas Jefferson’s recipe has actually seen the light of day in recent years after being revived by a local brewing company. In contrast, George Washington’s whiskey distillery is better known than his beer brewing exploits, though he did brew his own beer. Now Washington’s own personal beer recipe will be available to the public again. A partnership between the New York Public Library (the holder of the original recipe) and Coney Island Brewing Company will bring back a (very) limited release of this historic beer.
In all, only 25 gallons of George Washington’s beer will be available and it will not be available commercially. The only place that you could get your mitts on one of these brews is if you managed to visit the Rattle N Hum in Manhattan or if you made it to the New York Public Library’s 100th birthday celebration in NYC. The brewers in charge of bringing Washington’s recipe back to fermented life stayed true to the original recipe as much as possible, though a few tweaks had to be made. The final brew is a rich porter and uses small batch dark malts as well as specialty hops to create a remarkable beer.
Fortitude’s Founding Father Brew, as it is being named, is a taste from the past, a glimpse into the mind and character of one of the nation’s most important historical figures and also a remarkable modern innovation. This dedication to recreating this historic brew is even more apparent when you read Washington’s very brief recipe. The following is contained on a scrap of paper held in the New York Public Library’s Washington Archives:
To Make Small Beer
Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste. -- Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gallons into a cooler put in 3 Gallons 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 Yeast 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 done Working -- Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.