Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Archive for May, 2005

Flying Dog Says

Oops! The folks at Flying Dog were a little hasty when they announced plans yesterday (Wednesday, May 25, 2005) to sell their new Gonzo Imperial Porter, commemorating the late Hunter Thompson, the Denver brewery’s founding muse.

Here’s the correction: Arctic Liquors may not be handling the out of state sales. Where legal, the brewery will ship to you directly. Pricing from the brewery has also not been established for the 750 mlbottles. If you are interested in bottles of the Gonzo Imperial Porter that are signed by Ralph Steadman contact

Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2005
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Letters to the Blog…

My column in the Oakland Tribune and the other ANG Newspapers (Wednesday, May 11) about problems with distribution of good beer made a few waves.

Basically, I lamented that despite the best efforts of Unibroue, the Chambly, Quebec craft brewer, their superlative Edition 2005, still hadn’t reached stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially the East Bay. In fact, I found Edition 2004 at one store – still sitting where it had been placed back in early fall, 2004, on an unrefrigerated shelf, in 70 degree heat under fluorescent lights. What a way to store fine beer.

Here are a couple e-mails on the subject of Edition 2005:

Bill- Ledgers (Ledger’s Liquors, 1399 University Ave, Berkeley, CA) called us a couple of days ago, when he finally got the Unibroue 2005 in stock. We picked up half a dozen bottles right away and Michael tried it the next day. He was impressed. It’s very good, just as you said, and as we expected.
I’m sure the fuss you made on behalf of the beer fans had something to do with breaking it loose. Thank you. My theory is that the distributors had it all along and were just sitting on it until they sold out of the 2004. Sound thinking economically, but not good customer service. – Janet.

Bill, My sentiments exactly! Consumers need to ask the retailer to “get it” and stock a fair selection of good, alternatives beers to mass produced lagers, not just brand and package extensions from the big boys. Cheers, Ed

More Mail…

Bill: I was reading your column today to find that you gave low ratings to the Hefs I so love. Do you have one you’d like to recommend ? I want to make sure I’m not missing out on something. I also like the Gordon Biersch Hef- what do you think? A Hef is the first beer I had after I gave birth to my son in December. It tasted soooo good with lemon. I also had a Pilsner Urquell- superiffic yummy stuff. Jane.

Hi Jane… In my humble opinion, most American hefeweizens tend to be too dry and kind of sour. Widmer, especially. I guess of the American ones at hand, I prefer Pyramid. But my favorite is Paulaner Hefe-Weizen from Munich., Another is Erdinger. Both are refreshing, thirst quenching with pleasant clove notes — clove is something many American brewers dislike, because technically, it’s an off flavor.

About a preference for hefeweizens: The neat thing about beer is there’s no one great beer; the best beer is the one you like the best (as long as it isn’t Bud). bill

Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2005
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And Furthermore…

One of the most inaccurate Budweiser commercials I’ve ever seen is the one where a young guy knocks on the door of the new hottie who has just moved in; he has a sixer of Bud under his arm. She invites him in and there are several more guys, each with a Bud sixer.

Bay Area residents in their 20s and 30s today were born into an era where good beer is widely available; they expect it, won’t settle for blah lager. Know what. I’ll bet most of the ad agency creatives behind the ad under 40 don’t drink Bud either. What do you think? Post here, or e-mail me at:

Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2005
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A Belgian Beer Dinner Extravaganza

Bruce Paton, executive chef at Cathedral Hill Hotel, 1101 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco has been holding dinners almost monthly matching great craft beer with well-made food.

Cathedral Hill beer chef Bruce Paton.

But the next one — June 20 — tops them all. I’m gonna’ be there. Why not? Four of the most creative brewers in America will be there with their best Belgian-style beers. Here’s the menu:

The Cathedral Hill Hotel Presents
An American Belgian Beer Extravaganza
Featuring Four of the Premier Brewers of this style in the United States
Monday June 20, 2005
Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing
Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium Brewing
Tomme Arthur of Pizza Port Brewing
Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing
Chef’s Hors D’Oeuvre
Russian River Sanctification
Seared Foie Gras with Vanilla Scented Yam Puree, Fleur de Sel and Reduction of Golden Balsamic Vinegar
Allagash Four and Russian River Damnation

Jumbo Day Boat Scallops with Dungeness Crab Salad, Truffle Corn Emulsion and Osetra Caviar

New Belgium Saison and Pizza Port Mo Betta Bretta

Beer Braised Angus Short Ribs, Celeriac Potato Mash, Baby Spinach and Port Wine Glace

Russian River Supplication and New Belgium La Folie

An Assortment of Whipped Artisan Cheeses with Roasted Beets and Spiced Croutons

Allagash Curieux and Pizza Port Cuvee de Tomme
$75 inclusive of tax and gratuity
ACF Certification Point for Education
Bruce D. Paton CEC
Call the CAPC Office 415-874-3900
Please Reserve by June 15th

Make your reservations here

Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2005
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Brewers Toast Hunter Thompson

Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s death at 67 by his own hand on Feb. 20, 2005, has inspired two of America’s more adventuresome breweries to make beers in his honor. Lagunitas Brewing, of Petaluma, CA. has just released Gonzo, a high-powered,ale that looks like it may have the legs for a couple of years aging.

Meanwhile, Flying Dog Brewery in Denver is just now bottling an Imperial Porter, in his memory.

Flying Dog, of course, has a close connection with Thompson. The stories change along with the years that it happened from time to time. But there are a couple of things that are certain. Hunter and Flying Dog co-founder George Stranahan and artist-illustrator Ralph Steadman (well, maybe he was there), were drinking beer at the Woody Creek Tavern in Woody Creek, a hamlet near Aspen, where they lived.

Either they got the idea for a Flying Dog or the idea for Road Dog Porter at that time. Here’s is the version e-mailed to us today:

“Gonzo energy has been racing around the Flying Dog brewery like a three-legged dog on acid for over a decade now. Brewery founder and fellow renegade, George Stranahan, was Hunter’s friend and neighbor in Aspen, Colorado. The duo met up with gonzo artist Ralph Steadman in 1991 at the Woody Creek Tavern in what the brewery infamously refers to as, ‘the meeting of minds’.

“No one knows exactly what transpired that night but the result was Road Dog Porter and the first, authentic, gonzo beer label illustrated by Ralph Steadman and Hunter’s quote, ‘Good People Drink Good Beer’.”

Gonzo Imperial Porter was brewed with black, chocolate and crystal malts, hopped with Millennium and Cascades. “We tried to make everything about this beer Gonzo, which explains why we’ve already had one run in with the authorities,” brewery president Eric Warner said in a statement.

“The Tax and Trade Bureau took issue with a quote from Hunter that we put on the label, which says, ‘I hate to advocate, drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity but they’ve always worked for me’. Seems innocuous to me but the TTB didn’t see it that way”.

The brewery’s press release adds: “Gonzo Imperial Porter has been brewed with black, chocolate and crystal malts and hopped with Millennium and Cascades. Like Hunter this beer is intense and complex and at (9.5% ABV) it’ll bite back if you don’t give it the proper respect. Would Hunter have approved? Well we’ll never know for sure, however, a swarm of bats was seen hovering over the brewery the other day, so the folks at Flying Dog are taking that as a thumbs up.

Tony Magee, founder of Lagunitas Brewing here in the Bay Area, can’t claim such a close connection. But, he says, “it’s good to have heroes.” And Hunter Thompson was one to Tony and to a lot of us. Most of us never made it to Las Vegas in 1972 to the Republican National Convention and covered it, reportedly, stoned on super acid. But we could read along and we did.

Here’s Tony’s own homage below the Gonzo label:

About the beer: It’s nearly as big as Hunter Thompson was. It’s 8.5 percent ABV with a huge, malty taste. There may be hops, it’s probably massively hoppy. But it’s so malty, it may take a year of aging before the beer finds its hop-malt balance. So, buy one for the shelf, one to drink and one to save and savor later.

Dropping back to the dog…, I place Flying Dog’s best efforts in the same category as Lagunitas and a handful of other fine American Breweries.
I’ve always loved Flying Dog’s beer. Their 10th anniversary (in Denver) special: Wild Dog Double Pale Alewild , released during the GABF in 2004 was easily one of the best America beers I’ve had the good fortune to sample in many a year. If only, I had had the sense to buy two bottles and keep one for aging. Drat. Here are my tasting notes from October, 2004:

This is extreme pale ale, in honor of Flying Dog’s 10th anniversary ale. It’s enough to drive conservative Brits wild. This is hallucinogenic stuff — Cascade hops pour out of the glass and circle the brain. It’s hugely hoppy at 85 International Bitterness Units (Bud has 11 IBU), but at 9.5 percent alcohol by volume, there’s enough malt to balance the hops. Well, almost.

Haven’t tried Imperial Porter yet, but, needless to say, I have great expectations. This comes from Flying Dog:

If your state is not on our (beer distribution) list call your senator and demand justice, or just give Artic Liquors a call in Colorado and they’ll ship you out as many four-packs as you can handle. The cost of two four-packs including shipping is around $28. To order please call Arctic Liquors at 1-877 817-9463.

The collectors edition bottles (750ml) signed by Ralph Steadman will be available from our tasting room on Fri, June 17 (Fathers Day) at 12 noon.
These will be priced at $30 per bottle and sold on a first come, first served basis. An unsigned version of the 750ml bottles will also be available from the tasting room for $15 per bottle.

The brewery adds that Porter sale proceeds will help fund the Gonzo Memorial Fist on Hunter’s Owl Farm Estate in Woody Creek, Colorado. “The huge stone column is reputed to reach a height of 150 feet and will be crowned with a giant red fist.”

Unveiling will be at a memorial in August with several hundred (thousand) of Hunter’s close friends, including Johnny Depp and Jack Nicholson. Sonny Barger’s not invited. If you don’t get that, check out “The Hells Angels,” the book about the Oakland, CA Hell’s Angels, published in 1966, and one of his best.

Proceeds from the sale of both the four-packs and the 750’s will go towards
building the Gonzo Memorial Fist in Aspen.

Don’t forget the T-shirt, design by Steadman, portion of the proceeds goes to the fist.

Front of the Flying Dog Hunter Thompson T-shirt. Laugh, if you can.

Posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2005
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A Symphony of Beer and Cheese

SAN FRANCISCO – I reported earlier in this blog (like midnight yesterday) about a panel discussion on craft beer at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. The tasting that followed was stony, not just the beer, but the cheese that Sonoma’s Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection brought to match the beer.

Yes, I know, your father and 10 million French citizens told you the correct combination is wine and cheese. Wrong. Beer and cheese are a much better match. Even foodies who officially “hate” beer, are coming around. Here’s a quote from Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewing, one of America’s best brewers and, a writer of subtle elegance:

“The dirty little secret of the wine world is that wine, especially red wine, is a poor match for cheese. Don’t believe me? Ask an honest sommelier…” Oliver goes on to note that beer refreshes the palate. Take a bite of cheese, then a sip of beer. The beer cleanses the mouth, provides a proper counterpoint to the cheese and prepares the palate for another bite of cheese.

“It’s not very surprising when you think about it. Beer and cheeses are both traditionally farmhouse products, often made by the same person. (Have you ever seen a cow in a vineyard? Neither have I).

The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, Garrett Oliver, HarperCollins, $29.95.

OK, here’s the list from the Commonwealth tasting. Sheana, who represents many Sonoma County farmstead cheesemakers lists cheeses by name, but notes that similar cheese from elsewhere can be substituted:

1. 21st Amendment Watermelon Wheat.**** (The beer is enticing. A solid, body, with a teasing hint of watermelon. Brewer Shaun O’Sullivan said he adds 400 pounds of fresh watermelon to each batch.

Pair with fresh Chevre or Fromage Blanc and sweet baguette. She brought Laura Chenel Fresh Chevre, a creamy, rich cheese made with pasteurized goat milk.

2. Anchor Bock****. This is the first new beer from Anchor since Small Beer. Mark Carpenter, of Anchor, said it may be a one-off or a seasonal regular, depending on its reception. This is a splendid beer, fine malty, nose, but quite dry with a quenching follow.

Bocks traditionally are spring beers. Until recently, it was a German lager style, usually fairly strong. But Mark said Anchor Bock’s made with an ale yeast and the strength is moderate, 5.5 percent alcohol by volume. (Bud’s 5 percent, but what a difference!). Give Anchor Bock a try.

Sheana paired Anchor Bock with Vella Cheese Co. Asiago, a , sweet, nutty, raw cow milk cheese, aged one year and with Bellwether Farms Crescenza, a soft, creamy, pasteurized cows milk cheese. She also supplied Marcona Almonds and dried apricots and Italian Sea Salt Crostinis. Tasty combo, indeed.

Anchor also brought a wheel of Maytag Blue Cheese, from Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton, IA. This is a raw cow’s milk cheese, aged three to six months in a cool cave. It has a creamy, “blue” flavor.

3. Temptation*** from Russian River: Here are my tasting notes from earlier this year: Temptation is a walk on the wild side: 8.5 percent, , aged in oak barrels, fermented with Brettanomyces wild yeast: malty nose with little hint of the wildness within. Taste is barely malty with a definite bitter note. Tasty, refreshing unusual.

Sheana paired it with Laura Chenel Chevre and Crescenza and sweet baguette.

4. Damnation**** from Russian River is another very unusual, 7 percent, Belgian-style strong ale. Warm-fermented, by leaving bottles in front of the boiler room for a time: nose of ripened pears, malty with a good zip from the alcohol.

Sheana paired it with Vella Asiago and dried apricots and Marcona Almonds and fresh sweet baguette

5. Pliny the Elder***** from Russian River is rapidly becoming an American classic. It’s been making the rounds to beer fests around the Bay Area in the last six months. My tasting notes: Pliny’s an 8 percent, extremely hoppy, amazing ale. It has 100 International Bitterness Units, a measurement of hop bitterness. By comparison, Bud’s about 12 IBU. However, there’s so much malt that the beer is well-balanced.

Sheana paired it with Vella Daisy Cheddar, a raw cow’s milk cheese, aged nearlyh two years, along with dried cherries and Italian Sea Salt Crostinis.

Where to find the beer: Anchor’s John Dannerbeck and Mark Carpenter said Anchor Bock was bottled May 13, (2005); it went to distributors in the Bay Area this week and should reach stores next week. If you’re reading this blog from afar, sorry – this one’s only for the Bay Area. It’s expected to be at Beverages N’ More stores and other well-stocked stores in the next few weeks.

Watermelon Wheat and IPA are only available at 21st Amendment, where it’s a regular. That’s not painful at all – the pub’s just down the street from the Giants ballpark and a pleasant place to spend an hour on any day.

Russian River’s enticing beers are available every day at the pub in Santa Rosa. Vinnie also bottles Damnation and Temptation and sells them there. I also find them regularly at Ledger’s Liquors, 1399 University Ave., in Berkeley, CA and at a few other spots with well-stocked beer shelves. Not sure where? Drop us an e-mail and we’ll send you our retail beer store list. – William Brand

Posted on Friday, May 20th, 2005
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Commonwealth Club Discovers Beer

SAN FRANCISCO – It’s true. The august Commonwealth Club – which regularly hosts the famous and almost famous at its famous events (Condoleeza Rice is scheduled next week) – devoted an entire evening to beer.

And what a time it was. The evening began with an hour long panel discussion, moderated by Celebrator Beer News publisher Tom Dalldorf, whose Hayward publication has become the nation’s craft beer bible.

The evening ended with tasting of a half-dozen of America’s best beers, including Anchor Bock, the august brewery’s first new beer in several years. (It was dry and delicious and coming to a store or pub near you in the next couple of weeks, read on or go to this link.)

To match these perfect beers, the club brought in Sonoma cheese maven Sheana Davis, of the Epicurean Connection. She produced an assortment of Sonoma farm-cheeses with each beer. (You can find her matches here.).

Panelists were: Mark Carpenter, assistant brewmaster, Anchor Brewing, San Francisco; Shaun O’Sullivan, brewer-co-founder of 21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, Homer Smith, Jr., manager Oak Barrel Winecraft, Berkeley, CA and Vinnie Cilurzo, co-founder-brewer, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA.

The club’s Blue Room was nearly full and fully casual. The only guy in the room wearing a tie who I saw was the gentlemanly Mark Carpenter. I counted 75 people at the beginning, but as the tasting neared, the crowd grew. Surprise.

Carpenter explained how Fritz Maytag, great grandson of the Maytag washing machine company founder, discovered Anchor Steam and how he saved the brewery. It’s a great tale, and like the best of tales, it’s true. A Stanford graduate student, Maytag became a regular at the Old Spaghetti Factory Caffe, the famous beatnik-era spot in San Francisco’s North Beach founded by Freddie Kuh.

A 19th century sign advertising “steam beer.” Here’s what Anchor says about it: `Anchor Brewery inherited a long tradition of brewing what had come to be known as steam beer, one of the quaint old nicknames for beer brewed along the West Coast under primitive conditions and without ice. Today “steam” is a trademark of Anchor Brewing.’

I’ve eaten the spaghetti at the Spaghetti Factory and well, it was OK. But the fun part was the eclectic people who frequented the place, the musicians Freddie brought in and the beer: He served Anchor Steam. Through Freddie, he found out that the pioneer era Anchor brewery was dying. Fritz paid a visit and bought the place, saved Anchor, made it one of the world’s best breweries making classic beer and inspired the craft beer movement.

The best quote of the evening came from the always erudite Dalldorf, who said bluntly the reason that newspapers have wine pages, but not beer pages is simple: “We’re 20 years behind wine,” he said.

American wine hasn’t always had the cache it now has. Dalldorf msaid he could recall the day that American wine meant jug wine. You could buy wine for a dollar, you brought your own jug, he said. Dalldorf recalled the first American craft beer since Anchor was New Albion, which opened in 1976.

“If you could get it fresh, it was magnificent. It came in wooden boxes with a $4 deposit,” he said.

Named in recognition and memory of Sonoma’s New Albion Brewing Co. which opened in 1976 and was the first commercial micro-brewery since prohibition (5.0% alcohol by volume).

(Dipping back into my files – thanks to Apple’s sexy new OSX 10.4 search engine – I found this:

“John McAuliffe discovered good beer while stationed aboard a U.S. submarine tender, homeported in Scotland. Back home, he started homebrewing; friends liked his homebrew so much, he founded the New Albion Brewing Co. in Sonoma on May 16, 1976. I still remember his burlap-covered, 22 oz., homebrew-style bottles.

After McAuliffe closed the brewery in 1982, two of his homebrewer helpers, Don Barkley and Michael Lovett, salvaged his equipment and helped found world-famous Mendocino Brewing in Hopland.”

At the Commonwealth Club, Dalldorf said that when he opened a wine bar cafÇ in downtown Hayward in 1980, he stocked a lot of micros (beers), New Albion, DeBakker, Thousand Oaks, London Real Ale from Palo Alto. They’re all gone today. It’s the pioneers who catch the arrows,” he said.

But there are survivors too – Anchor, Sierra Nevada. Widmer Brothers and BridgePort in Portland celebrate their 20th anniversary this month. But we have some time to go before beer is considered as sophisticated as wine,” Dalldorf said.

Homer Smith, who has been a homebrewer for a long time, recalled that in the early 1970s, homebrewing beer was still illegal in the U.S. “People would come in and buy kits to make beer that carried the warning: `Do not add yeast to the malt extract or fermentation may occur.’

“People were buying malt syrup, hops and yeast and putting them togehre. It was beer, but it wasn’t a product like Anchor,” Smith said. “Then, our own senator Alan Cranston carried a bill making homebrewing legal and (President) Jimmy Carter signed it (in 1975).

Smith said that today homebrewers can duplicate any beer, if they pay attention to details and sanitation. He noted both O’Sullivan and Cilcurzo started as homebrewers.

Homer had a great story that relates to all this: How to duplicate legendary Bass Ale. “I tried to duplicate it for years, I got close, but it wasn’t the same.”

Then a professor (who studied yeast) from
England came over to Berkeley. He dropped by Oak Barrel and said he used to work for Bass. He produced a sample of th famous Bass yeast strain. The next batch of mock-Bass tasted great.

Bass Pale Ale is world famous. The Bass & Co Brewery was established by William Bass in 1777 and was one of the first breweries in Burton-upon-Trent. By the 19th century, Bass Pale Ale was imported around the world. The red triangle on the Bass label was Britain’s first registered trademark. It’s been a heavy time for Bass in recent years; the brewery and its beer brands were scooped up by Belgium’s Interbrew in 2000 as part of a huge acquisition. The deal ran afoul of the UK’s monopoly law, so Interbrewn sold some properties to Coors, yes OUR Coors, of Golden, Co. However, Interbrew kept the Bass brand. So until March 2004, Coors made Bass at the former Bass brewery. But late last year, Interbrew, now known as InBev, moved the contract for Bass – which is Britain’s top-selling real ale _ to another famous Burton brewer, Marston’s. Coors, meanwhile, has changed the name of the world famous Bass Museum of Brewing to The Coors Visitor Centre. Got that? There’ll be a test at 9 o’clock.

Moving on, panelists agreed the reason the San Francisco Bay Area became a major launch point for good craft beer was the sophisticated palates of local residents.

Carpenter said the Bay Area has always been unique; it draws people from across the country; it drew Fritz Maytag (from Iowa), Freddie Kuh, for example, he said. Homer Smith said the Bay Area has a diverse population – people from around the world, bringing different tastes and cultures. People here want something different, something unique and revolujtionary.

O’Sullivan said the Bay Area drew him. He said he moved to the Bay Area from Los Angles because he was interested in beer. “I was headed to a career being a lawyer. I ditched it all for rubber boots (of a brewer). Beer saved my life,” he said.

Best quote of the night came from Tom Dalldorf during the Q & A session.

An audience member noted he and his wife traveled in German y and everywhere they went, there was a different beer. “How is it that Budweiser and the makers of bad beer are so extensive here?

Tom: “We don’t say Budweiser is bad beer. It’s just not that interesting. It’s a very high quality, industrial product – and it bores me to tears.”

Shaun: There are no legal reasons why there’s so much Budweiser. But we do have a lot of different beers and breweries. Just because all you see on tv is Bud and Coors, doesn’t mean there aren’t small brewpubs and brewers at the local level making a difference.”

Tom: You go to Bavaria and you see this incredible diversity of beer. But now, there are more breweries in the U.S. than in Germany.

Question: It seems like the big brewers fill their products with cereal grains (Miller: corn, Bud: rice), then market the hell out of it in advertising. What the craft brewers are dong is offering more flavor…

Shaun: I think when you use choice ingredients…you are going to produce a finer project.

HomHom Homer: Some of those adjuncts (corn, rice, etc.) will change a beer in a good way. But when you’re adding corn (to the barley mash) on a regular basis, that’s going to detract from the flavor.

Mark: All beers are very natural products. But beers around the world are becoming lighter and lighter. We are part of the world maket and you’re here because you probably like richer flavors.

Vinnie: Although I do use quality ingredients, I also use a lot of sugar, straight dextrose, added right into the (brew) kettle. I do what the Belgians do. I use coriander and cumin and orange peel, in small amounts.

There was a lot more, but I’ve got to stop. The panel discussion is going to be broadcast on many National Public Radio stations in the next month or so. Check with your local station to find out when. –– William Brand

Posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2005
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Colonial American And Booze

OK. I can’t resist this, solidly researched bit of fluff about those allegedly straight-laced founders of America’s colonies. It comes from Alcohol: Problems and Solutions, a website, backed, I am sure by the alcohol industry.

Nevertheless, the facts seem to check out. Here we go…
Puritans To Prohibition

1. The Puritans loaded more beer than water onto the Mayflower before they cast off for the New World.

2. While there wasn’t any cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie to eat at the first Thanksgiving, there was beer, brandy, gin, and wine to drink. ”

3. A brewery was one of Harvard College’s first construction projects so that a steady supply of beer could be served in the student dining halls.

4. The early colonialists made alcohol beverages from, among other things, carrots, tomatoes, onions, beets, celery, squash, corn silk, dandelions, and goldenrod.

5. The manufacture of rum became early Colonial New England’s largest and most prosperous industry.

6. Tavern owners enjoyed higher social status than did the clergy during part of the Colonial period.

7. A traveler through the Delaware Valley in 1753 compiled a list of the drinks he encountered; all but three of the 48 contained alcohol.

9. The distillation of whiskey led to the first test of federal power, the Whiskey Rebellion (1794).

10. During the Colonial period, alcohol abstainers had to pay one life insurance company rates 10% higher than that of drinkers. Of course, today we know that abstainers tend not to live as long as moderate drinkers.

11. The laws of most American colonies required towns to license suitable persons to sell wine and spirits and failure to do so could result in a fine.

12. Colonial taverns were often required to be located near the church or meetinghouse.

13. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson all enjoyed brewing or distilling their own alcohol beverages.

14. The Colonial Army supplied its troops with a daily ration of four ounces of either rum or whiskey.

15. Abraham Lincoln held a liquor license and operated several taverns.

16. Religious services and court sessions were often held in the major tavern of Colonial American towns.

17. In the 1830’s the average American aged 15 or older consumed over seven gallons of absolute alcohol (resulting from an average of 9 1/2 gallons of spirits, 1/2 gallon of wine, and 27 gallons of beer), a quantity about three times the current rate.

18. Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in a tavern in Philadelphia.

19. Alewives in Colonial America brewed a special high proof “groaning ale” for pregnant women to drink during labor.

20. “Root beer” was a temperance product developed in the hope that it would replace beer in popularity…….it did not.

Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2005
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