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Coney Island Brewing to make beer based on recipe by George Washington

Posted by Steve Greenlee  May 4, 2011 02:30 PM

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george beer.jpgConey Island Brewing Co. plans to brew a beer based on a recipe by George Washington.

Yes, that's right: The nation's first commander in chief was also its first brewer in chief. The New York Public Library, which owns the handwritten recipe (shown at left), announced today that it is teaming up with Coney Island Brewing to recreate the brew, according to the Associated Press.

The AP's full story is below.









NEW YORK (AP) -- George Washington is famous for many things. Yet it's safe to say few know the nation's founding father created a recipe for beer.

The New York Public Library, which owns the recipe, announced today that it was partnering with Coney Island Brewing Company in Brooklyn to recreate the brew.

They will make just 25 gallons to celebrate the library's centennial this year. It will be called "Fortitude's Founding Father Brew," and will not be commercially sold.

The handwritten recipe, jotted down on a small piece of notebook paper, resides with other Washington documents at the library's Fifth Avenue Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, including his Farewell Address, war maps of New York and New Jersey and other personal items.

The public can sample the beer on May 18 at Rattle N Hum, a mid-Manhattan bar. Tastings also will be offered at the library's 100th birthday gala on May 23.

"We are thrilled to transform Washington's recipe into an even more complex and flavorful robust porter using a delicious array of the best small batch dark malts and hop varieties to produce a truly spectacular celebration for the contemporary beer connoisseur," said Jeremy Cowan, founder of Shmaltz Brewing Company, the parent of Coney Island Brewing Company.

Washington's recipe for how "To Make Small Beer," reads in part: "Take a large Sifer (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 ... let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quarter of Yea(s)t ..."

"We have a treasure trove of materials that can be accessed by the public and used to advance the worlds of scholarship, literature, invention, creation -- or even beer-making," said Ann Thornton, director of the library's collections and exhibitions.

Other centennial events this month include an overnight treasure hunt of the library's collection on May 20 and tours of the library's stacks on May 21-22.

A centennial exhibition opening on May 14 will feature more than 250 historical items, including Washington's Farewell Address, Virginia Woolf's walking stick, Malcolm X's briefcase and Jack Kerouac's harmonica.

Gary Dzen

About 99 Bottles

Gary Dzen writes about craft beer here and in the Globe when he's not covering the Celtics for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen.

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