If you need a break from worrying too much about what the founding fathers would think of the conundrum we’ve gotten ourselves into - let’s instead remember that good ‘ol George Washington was a brewer. He couldn’t tell a lie, but homeboy could make a mean lager WITH HIS BARE HANDS!
Check out his sweet 1757 recipe for “small beer,” meaning low %abv…. Or using today’s buzzy jargon: a session beer.
The recipe was found written in a notebook that Washington kept during the French and Indian War. Ol’ Georgie scribbled out “Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your taste - Boil these 3 hours. Put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot… 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 til it is almost done working - Bottle it that day.”
Those who have attempted to brew this recipe have actually referred to the concoction as “crummy,” but he is on the side of a mountain - so let’s leave his homebrew skills alone!
According to Mary V. Thompson, Research Historian for the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, a clergyman who knew Washington during the presidency, George habitually "had a silver pint cup or mug of beer, placed by his plate, which he drank while dining." Martha Washington’s grandson noted that Washington generally "drank a home-made beverage" at dinner, which was probably a reference to beer brewed on the estate. The estate is full of historic proper glassware that brought ales and lagers to the lips of our forefathers and they are significantly fancier than the faded Dogfish Head shaker pint you chugged an Emergen-C out of this morning.
Check out some of the historic Mount Vernon #glasswareporn here.