Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Archive Of The Week : BeerHistory.com


This is only my second post of the week and it is the second that seems to revolve, one way or another, around beer. But fear not, I am not becoming monogamous (I know that isn't the right word but you know what I mean), it is pure coincidence that my Archive of the Week this week is the rather impressive site BeerHistory.com.

I am not sure who puts together the site - they seem rather coy at giving details about who is responsible for all the hard work which must go into maintaining the online collection of material related to the history of the American brewing industry. And that is the first point that needs to be made about this archive - it relates only to the American brewing industry. But beer enthusiasts have always been the most international of assemblages - they will drink beer from anyway regardless of international borders - and therefore there is something of interest to archive browsers whether they are from Iowa, India, Iraq or Iceland.
The site is divided into four main sections dealing with writing about beer and brewing (Library), pictures and illustrations about beer and brewing (Gallery), collecting (Brewerania) and books about beer and brewing (Bookstore). For those other than die hard brewing enthusiasts, the Gallery pages are perhaps the most interesting to browse through, and there are copious portraits of great brewers (the one above is of Adolph Coors), architectural plans of breweries, and picture postcards and advertising material.

And like all good archives there are dusty corners where you find the most surprising of offerings. As a result of my visit, I discovered that George Washington was a great lover of beer and his personal brewing recipe is preserved. In the interest of historical research, I am reproducing it here.

"To Make Small Beer
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 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."

I am off in search of some yeast and molasses. Cheers.

9 comments:

  1. I found a picture of a German Lager - how did that sneak in? Are there any British beer history sites? Or are we too PC to be that patriotic?!

    I can see it now: Alan Burnett, purveyor of George Washington's finest....

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  2. Hi KR,
    There is an organisation called the Brewery History Society which I have been a member of for several years. But its main work is via its meetings and its rather serious publication "Brewery History" rather than on-line stuff. CAMRA (The Campaign For Real Ale) has a good website which covers all things related to beer (and increasingly cider).

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  3. With all those home renovations you are doing, you need to put in a big wet bar...a little pub of your own! Forget the blue draperies, you want a brewery! tee-hee! I found the recipe quite interesting....blood warm....I'd never heard that before. :)

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  4. I'm not much of a beer drinker myself, but my youngest son is quite the beer enthusiast and is always trying exotic beers. He generally likes those from the Great Lakes Brewing Company, based in Cleveland, OH, our local state's finest.

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  5. I personally detest beer- but can appreciate your connoisseurship of it :) I can imagine it's kind of like me with champagne.

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  6. There must be some German bier sites, as well. The Lion's Brew has been round for over 400 years!

    Wasn't much of a purveyor of it, tho' but interesting site pick sir :)

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  7. Ahh! I always love visiting your site! It's like dropping off at the pub for a quick one. Actually, since I have a lot of time on my hands due to retirement, I was thinking about getting one of those brew kits, and trying to make a batch of "Skip's Select." The bar of the road might buy a few off me, if it turns out any good.

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  8. Have fun with your small beer! Another of your fascinating archive finds--& I say that as one who is abstemious (a state not settled upon until after a youth going to the opposite extreme!) I do like that postcard very well.

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  9. Beer and politics, without the politics!

    Well, you DID mention Iowa...

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