Monday, February 7, 2011

The President that Brewed more than Politics.

Ah, the open road! Perhaps you’ve decided to plan a vacation centered around U.S. history? You’ll set off and tour the cities where our past presidents lived! Remember the old days, back in school when a history lesson may have bored you? If the history books had told you all that you can learn about now, you may have enjoyed it a little more! Here’s a little information about one past president… We think that after reading this, you just might want to take a ride to the estate.

Thomas Jefferson was our third president. He’s known for many things, but did you remember him for his beer crafting skills? That’s right! Jefferson's beer-making records date back to 1772 at his Monticello estate, when his wife, Martha, oversaw periodic brewing. The enterprise produced 15-gallon casks of low-alcohol beer about every two weeks, and then expanded its scale with some outside help. Not the information you learned about in school, but it sure is an interesting fact!

Well, now the Thomas Jefferson Foundation is bringing the beverage back. They will be  working with Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet to offer Monticello Reserve Ale, inspired by what was produced and consumed regularly at Monticello. Brewing beer was among the plantation's important activities, Monticello officials said.
Starr Hill's master brewer, Mark Thompson, will brew Monticello Reserve Ale using a combination of lightly hopped wheat and corn, as Jefferson did in his day. Local ingredients will be used, including some hops grown right at Monticello. 

The ale will make its public debut at the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center museum shop with tastings on Feb. 21. The ale will be sold at Monticello and Charlottesville area restaurants. They also plan on doing some renovations to the estate’s downstairs quarters and beer cellar, but the actual location of the new brew house has yet to be determined. Now that's our kind of history lesson!

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