Archie, an Historical Ale with a Twist!

By Emerson Baker

When Butch Heilshorn at EEB was contacted to brew a special beer for the Celtic Festival at Warner House, (Saturday 8/6, noon – 6pm) he knew I’d be interested. I really enjoy helping Butch develop modern takes on historical ales, so I was thrilled at the thought of doing one to commemorate the 300th anniversary of this wonderful historic house museum in Portsmouth.

Warner House is one of the finest examples of early Georgian architecture in the U.S.
Warner House is one of the finest examples of early Georgian architecture in the U.S.

Warner House was built by Archibald MacPheadris, a successful Scots-Irish sea captain and merchant who moved to Portsmouth as early as 1714, but began construction on his fine brick mansion in 1716. While we wanted to go with an historic ale, we were presented with a twist by the Warner House. The site is famous for its Warner House teas – so would it be possible to include tea in the ale? According to Tom Hardiman of the Portsmouth Athenaeum, tea actually was an historic ingredient in ale and as always, Butch was excited to work his magic with an unusual ingredient. And as we would find out, tea has a fascinating history as well.

If we were going to use tea, we wanted it to be the type of tea they would be drinking in Portsmouth in the eighteenth century. So we asked an expert, Jonathan Blakeslee, the owner of Portsmouth’s own White Heron tea house. He told us about a variety of teas coming to the Americas from China at that time. Most teas in colonial America were types of black tea, which maintained its flavor during the long voyage from China to America better than the more delicate green teas. (This is actually an interesting parallel to English India pale ale. It was highly hopped so it would hold up during the long hot voyage from England to India.) We settled on organic Lapsang Souchong, a smoked black tea carried by White Heron that was popular in the eighteenth century as well as today.

From left to right: Butch, Jonathan, and Alex pose with White Heron's Lapsang Souchong tea. We drew upon an eighteenth-century recipe for the basic ale, found in a manuscript “receipt” book (what today we call a cookbook) by archaeologist Dan Mouer. He found it when he was researching the Curles Plantation on the James River, in eastern Henrico County, Virginia. The recipes in it were developed by several generations of Jane Randolphs who lived there, but the recipe for “Good Ale” is listed as coming from their relative Mrs. Cary. Here it is:

Professor Baker tending the hops.Take 3 Bushels malt 1/2 high & 1/2 Pail dry’d let your water boil then & put into your Mashing tubb, When the Steem is gone off, so as you may see your face; then put your malt, & after mashing it well then cover it with a blanket, Let it stand 2 hours, then draw it off Slow, then boil it three or four hours, till the hops curdles. When boiled Enough, cool a little, & work that with your yest, & so put the rest of your wort in as it cools, which must be let in small Tubs, let it work till your yest begins to curdle then turn it up & stop your Barrel when it has done working; Note to Every Bushels malt a Quarter of pound of hops.”

Fortunately Dan is not just an excellent archaeologist but a talented home brewer, who helped interpret the recipe and then brewed it himself. It is a simple recipe, consisting of half “pail” (or pale) malt, and half “high” (or high colored, presumably brown) malt. Technically this is a recipe for an English brown ale, a malty brew that is mildly hopped. In addition to brown malt we used two row malt, along with Maris Otter. These are traditional pale malts that would have been used in the eighteenth century. Given Archibald MacPheadris’s origins we decided a Scotch ale would be appropriate. Also, Scotch ales are known for having a smoky quality, so this fit perfectly with smoked tea. So we also added a touch of smoked malt and used a Scotch ale yeast. Falconer’s Flight and Cascade hops were added per the recipe: a quarter pound of hops for every bushel of malt. In truth, in the eighteenth century brown ales would have resembled a Scotch ale, for all ales were boiled over a wood fire that gave them a smoky quality.

Jonathan Blakeslee steeping the ale with his tea.Jonathan Blakeslee joined us at the end of the boil, to steep our brew with two pounds of White Heron’s Organic Lapsang Souchong (making our two barrels of beer also half-strength tea). Thanks to Jonathan for his assistance in this project and for teaching us so much about the complex and fascinating world of tea.

Once the tea was brewing the EEB bunker was filled with a delicious malty, smoky and tea-like aroma. We hope you will enjoy the final product. So, raise a pint of Earth Eagle’s Archie and toast Archibald MacPheadris and the 300th anniversary of the Warner House!

*Hand over your Celtic Fest ticket stub to EEB on 8/6 or 8/7 and receive your first pint of Archie for half price!

Ales Through the Ages, Williamsburg VA

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I was lucky enough to attend the first Ales Through the Ages conference in Colonial Williamsburg Va this past weekend! The brain child of Frank Clark, Supervisor of Historic Foodways at Colonial Williamsburg, and some of the world’s top beer writers, this event was a good three years in the making. The presentations took place in the Art Museums building, a mind-boggling subterranean bastion of colonial era arts and crafts from quilts to muskets.

The festivities began with a Friday afternoon beer tasting at the Chownings Tavern. Four historical beers from AleWerks were presented: Dear Old Mum Spiced Ale, Old Stitch Brown, Wetherburn’s Tavern Bristol Ale, & Toby’s Triple Threads Porter, all fine and tasty brews. It was a nice sunny afternoon on the Tavern grounds where the presenters, home and pro brewers, and those with a penchant for beer history mingled.

A few hours later beer author and speaker Randy Mosher officially kicked things off with a pithy lecture entitled More Questions than Answers: The Mysteries of Beer History. If you’re not familiar with this guy you’ve been living under a rock! I am particularly fond of one of his books in particular, Radical Brewing, an entertaining and graphics-packed treatsie on beer’s more eccentric manifestations past to present. A warm, funny, and knowledgeable guy, Randy adroitly set the tone for this conference.

The following morning Travis Rupp, adjunct professor at UC Boulder & packaging supervisor at Avery Brewing, presented the Beginnings of Beer in the Ancient World: Greece. His research indicates that the ancient Sumerians taught the Egyptians how to brew, who later taught the Greeks, who later taught the Romans, who eventually taught the “savage tribes” of Britain and northern Europe.

Next was Stan Hieronymus, another beer author and journalist, with In Search of an Indigenous American Beer Style.  The gist of his presentation was about corn, the grain of the americas. He covered Tiswin, a southwestern US aboriginal corn-fermented beverage, as well as Pulque, an agave-fermented drink from Mexico, and my favorite Choc beer, from the Choctaw Indians, which contained hops, barley, tobacco, and fishberries. Stan left out the fishberry part though, so I found him at the break and inquired as to why.  As I thought, he gave little credence to that particular ingredient because it’s native to Asia, not the Americas. Also called Indian berry and Levant nut, my research shows the berries were used to increase the inebriating power of beer in Britain during the mid 1800’s. Seems totally plausable that these berries/nuts could have made their to America for similar use. Not sure exactly what he meant but after the conference he referred to the conference as “pleasantly time consuming” in his blog.

Karen Fortmann, a research scientist with WhitwitchsRinge Labs followed with A Family Tree of Brewer’s Yeast. This was a very interesting microbiotic journey, if not a bit overwhelming! Yeast is a black hole of info and species. Some cool take-homes: Apparently krausen, the thick foam on a fermenting beer, was referred to as “Godisgood,” “Zuckerpils” is German for sugar fungus, and there was a brewing tool called a Witch’s Ring, a later version of the yeast log, used for storing and pitching yeast. A wooden wreath would be submerged into fermenting beer and the yeast would colonize the pores of the wood. The wreath would then be hung to dry and dropped into the next batch of beer to ferment it, YIKES!

My friend Fredrick Ruis from the Netherlands promised some mind-blowing info in his  1000 Years of Brewing With Hops: New Insights from the Netherlands. This rich presentation examined a newly discovered body of beer knowledge regarding recipes, trade, and the use of hops beginning in Viking Age in the larger Low Countries near present day Bremen and Hamburg Germany. Of particular interest to me was his newly developed contention that gruit, or as he said it “grout” was not merely a combination of herbs one brewed with but rather a wort concentrate, like modern day malt extract, infused with herbs and other botanicals. His research further indicates that Gruit Houses were not places to drink gruit beer but rather business that supplied breweries with this herbal concentrate. I look forward to reading his further discoveries!

Things took a turn for the colonial as Andrea Stanley (co-owner/maltster Valley Malt) and John Mallett (Director of Operations Bells Brewery) waltzed out on to the stage both as women, in period dress. They sat at a table and proceeded to have polite and civil conversation over tea and, whist they believed no one was looking, some beer! Maltsterpiece Theater, as their presentation was called, was a vehicle to highlight life in the eras each woman represented, more specifically the life’s of women involved with malting. It was a comedic yet informative romp as both are theatrically talented and clearly experts in their fields. Rounding out the day was Edward Bourke who spoke about The History of Brewing in Ireland.

Sunday began with author and brewing consultant  Frank Clark gaving a fascinating lecture on Home Brewing in the 18th Century: Some Interesting Things They Did with Beer. Beer historian and author Martyn Cornell spoke on Industrialization in the British Brewing Industry 1720-1850: The Rise of the Power-loom Brewers which offered a window into this time period where emergent technologies were shared between the growing fabric and brewing industries.

Stone Brewing Co.’s brewmaster (and former NH resident) Mitch Steele explored The True Origins of Pale Ale in England, Scotland, and the US and author and beer historian Ron Pattinson presented an in-depth account of International Cooperation in the 19th Century Brewing Industry, primarily between German, British, and later US brewers. Tom Kehoe, founder of Yards Brewing Company gave a light hearted and heartfelt presentation entitled Historic Beers for a Modern Market which was essentially the story of his brewery and their penchant for brewing historic beers.

Tanya Brock, manager and brewster at the Carillon Brewery in Ohio, gave a look into the fascinating genesis of Carillon where historic beers are historically brewed in Brewing History by the Pint. Randy Mosher once again took the stage to close the event with The Past & Future of Beer, an exciting look at the various trends and “new” directions our beloved industry seems to be headed in.

I heartily recommend this conference to anyone interested in beer, be you brewer, drinker, writer, and/or thinker. The event rounded up a very warm and social group of people, including the presenters! There is a very good chance that there will be another in the near future to pick up where this one left off and you’d be wise not to miss it! (Special shout out to The Dog St. Pub where most of us enjoyed great food and beer repeatedly during the weekend!)

-Butch Heilshorn

Portsmouth Beer Week Highlights @ EEB

by Eric Martinson
Well, folks, it’s that time.  Portsmouth Beer Week is once again upon us!  In celebration of craft and collaboration, prepare yourselves for ten straight days of sipping, swigging, and shenanigans.  And fear not, fellow imbibers, the Bunker is fully stocked and ready to go with a full schedule of events for your drinking pleasure.  Here are but a few things to look forward to…

On Tuesday 2/23, come on down and catch the release of Fallen Angel, a barrel-aged barley wine.  The recipe for this big brew dates all the way back to Alex and Butch’s garage days, back when the bunker was just a twinkle in their eyes.   Production began over a year ago (fun fact—if you tried Omaha this past year, you drank a saison that was brewed with the second runnings from Fallen Angel).  After the initial brew and fermentation cycle, Alex transferred the beer to stainless steel tanks for eight months.  From there, the aging angel went into bourbon barrels for six weeks before making its final move back into the stainless steel tanks to mellow out for an additional four months.  Clocking in at 11.9%, Fallen Angel has a smooth, raisin-like sweetness with light bourbon and vanilla notes.  Because of its gravity, Alex could brew only one barrel of this sweet beaut.  Be sure to get some while it lasts!

On Saturday 2/27, the Big Bird is all about that funk.  That’s right, Sour Saturday is back and bigger than ever before!  Tarty treats on tap include Sour Puss, Madam Trixie, Wild Willy, and Samantha.  The eldest of this trifecta, Sour Puss, is the result of Alex’s first sour blending.  This particular batch was pulled from a barrel containing a blend of five-year-old, three-year-old, and 1-year-old Flanders style ale.  Not a traditional Flanders red by any means, Alex has taken to calling her a northeast sour red ale.  Madam Trixie, the middle sister, is a blood orange, black pepper saison aged with brett for fourteen months in an old bourbon barrel.  She’s a sweet saison with a light bourbon character.  Wild Willy is their popular William Wallace gruit soured by a night in their parking, cooling off in, what else, a coolship! Samantha, the youngest, is a Belgian blonde aged for six months (in the same barrel as Madam Trixie) with lacto and fresh strawberries.  She’s beautifully balanced with strawberry and a touch of funk.  Stop by and pucker up for these old gals!

Cap off the week Sunday 2/28 with an artisanal cheese and EEB pairing.  The Bunker will be closed to the public from 11:30am-1pm whilst Ruth Miller, The Beer & Cheese Maven, introduces ticket-holders to some of the finest fromage from cheese makers in Landaff, NH, Rockport, ME, Acton, ME, and Londonderry, VT.  Like the boys and girls of the Bird, Ruth has a love for all things fermented.  She is a home brewer of twelve years and a master of matching dairy to drink.  She’ll explain why beer and cheese are so simpatico and demonstrate how to pair successfully with 5 EEB brewings.  If you hanker for a hunk of cheese, get your tickets at EEB today, $30!

The Bunker will be CLOSED on Monday 2/29. Those two tired bar windows will be replaced and the tap system will get a major upgrade!

Visit the EEB Events page for all of their PBW events.  Also, check out PortsmouthBeerWeek.com for the goings ons at other participating establishments.  We hope to see you real soon…Gobble, Gobble, Hey!

Ancient Mumme Ale (on tap 2/25!)

mummeBy Emerson “Tad” Baker

Mumme Beer (pronounced moom-muh), was a beer first noted in the early sixteenth century that was produced in the northern German city of Brunswick. It became so popular that it was shipped to the Netherlands and England and from there spread around the globe. In the seventeenth century, the Dutch East India Company was shipping it to India – well before the British had invented India Pale Ale. Although the descriptions of it are varied, Brunswick Mumme was probably a hopped red to brown ale with substantial amount of barley – a fortified beverage, perfect for withstanding long voyages overseas.

Then as now, everyone wants to imitate a successful product. So, in England in the seventeenth century, there appeared a knock-off, also called Mumme. I found it in a booklet published in England in 1695, under the title “How to Brew as good Mum as any made in Brumswick.” However, the ingredients could not be more different than the traditional German Mumme, which adhered to the Reinheitsgebot. These German Purity Laws limited the ingredients of beer to just barley, hops, and water (this was before the discovery of yeast and its importance to fermentation).

Mum recipe 1695
The original recipe from 1695!

Instead, English Mumme contains everything but the kitchen sink, including beans, elder flowers, wood betony, blessed thistle, birch tips, spruce tips, berberies, thyme, blessed thistle, cardamom and pennyroyal! I suspect it tastes quite different from the German version, but that is true of most foreign imitations- even today.

As soon as I saw it, I knew Butch would want to brew a version of this most unusual ale. So, I showed him the 1695 recipe and he worked his magic. The result has a heavy malt bill with 200 pounds of Maris Otter pale malt, crystal malt, chocolate malt and malted oats going into the boil, in addition to fourteen pounds of beans. This explains an ABV of 8.1%.

We had to wait to brew our Ancient Mumme Ale until late spring when we could get fresh spruce and birch tips. And, the recipe tells you to barrel age it for “one, two or three years before you use it, for the longer you keep it the better it is.” We just could not wait that long to try an ale that has not been made in several hundred years. But it has aged for eight months in an oak Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel. We hope you will enjoy this reproduction of a unique beer that is itself a replica. Maybe next time we will have to make German Mumme.

Drink this Beer! Thursday 2/25, 6:30pm, Mumme Ancient Ale TAP RELEASE & TALK w/ Emerson Baker, author and professor of history at Salem State University.

JOSH SMITH: the not-so-new guy at EEB

JOSH SMITH: TRAVELER, TROUBLE SHOOTER, YEAST MASTER

by Eric Martinson

joshbeard

A proper brewer needs to be part MacGyver, part Julia Child, and a whole lotta Mr. Clean.”

A Maine native, Josh spent his formative years in York before developing itchy feet and heading west at nineteen. He landed in San Francisco where he took an unlikely job as an au pair. Around this same time, he began teaching himself to homebrew. Everything was going swimmingly for young Josh when a friend called him to present the opportunity of a lifetime:

“How would you like to move to Hawaii and live in a bamboo hut in the middle of the jungle with a topless woman who also happens to be a damn fine cook?”

As most guys in their early twenties would, Josh to left his nanny gig and homebrewing explorations for the mysteries of the Hawaiian jungle. He spent the next few years hiking, swimming, adventuring, and dining on the delicious culinary creations of a certain semi-clad gourmand.

Josh eventually moved back to the contiguous United States in his late twenties. His next stop was Fort Collins, Colorado where the vibrant beer culture re-inspired him to take up brewing again. After a short stint in Tahoe, Josh once again found himself on the East Coast. He interned at Throwback Brewery and then moved on to Do Can Brewing in Massachusetts and gained valuable experience getting a new brewery off the ground, all the while doing trade work on the side.

At Dover’s hallowed Barley Pub, Josh and his homebrew partner, Sean Conlon made the acquaintance of another homebrew team, Alex McDonald and Butch Heilshorn. The four continued to bump into each other at the various beer-centric establishments, always comparing notes on beer both brewed and consumed. Fast forward a few years, EEB opened and Josh became it’s first paying customer. (The dollar bill he spent on that first sample pour still adorns a rafter in the bar.) He and Sean became regulars and when a complicated construction project loomed on the Bunker’s horizon, Josh was happy to help. He heavily discounted his services in exchange for Alex’s knowledge of ales. Last fall he began brewing with Alex occasionally and also helped expand the taproom. This led to Josh’s full time employment as “brewer extraordinaire” and resident tradesman.

Josh’s primary focus in his first year has been to learn and master the brewing of EEB’s rotating hopped beers. He’s grateful for the opportunity to brew his own recipes regularly, recipes that he develops from equal parts experience and research. A sensory guy, Josh prefers brewing bigger beers, stuff with a high ABV or stouts and porters with a big malt bill, because of the deep, dark color and rich smells that accompany their creation. As for consuming, Josh prefers anything with brettanomyces or lactobacillus. His work with Butch and Alex has given him a healthy respect for a brewer’s partnership with yeast. A few of Josh’s contributions to the EEB lineup include Pincho, a porter with ancho chiles and chipotle peppers and Hystrix, a Belgian witbier with kaffir lime and ginger. He also has several other brews on the horizon including a Belgian stout currently aging in a bourbon barrel.

Josh now resides in Eliot, Maine where he brews cider in his spare time because of the relative foolproof simplicity. To him, brewing is all about troubleshooting, and Josh’s colorful background certainly qualifies him as an ace troubleshooter. That being said, after a full day of fixing, tasting, tweaking, and tidying up, he says“it’s nice to go home, dump cider into a carboy, and let the yeast do the work.”

PUMPKiN PARTY… SAUSAGE SOiREE… MERCi BUCKETS!

by Eric Martinson

This Halloween, we brought the autumnal thunder to the Seacoast and beyond.  What better way to end Oktober than by guzzling gourds and whipping out a good ol’ fashioned sausage fest?

pumkin-fest-2015-copy-730x657Saturday was all about the squash.  We trick-or-treated across state lines to the 8th Annual Great Pumpkin Festival hosted by Cambridge Brewing Co.  An aggressive celebration of pumpkins, pints, and pumpkin-y pints from across the country, this was the perfect venue to serve up fall EEB faves Gallow’s Harvest and Puca.

Gallow’s Harvest is a colonial-era gruit that debuted at last year’s Great Pumpkin Festival. First brewed with Professor Emerson Baker to celebrate his book A Storm of Witchcraft, it’s essentially a mish mash of old brew recipes dug up by the good Professor featuring sage, blessed thistle, spikenard, wood betony, and gentian root.  Instead of pumpkin, this gourdish gruit contains ambercup and red kuri squash which are both pumpkin-like in appearance and guaranteed to sate any and all autumn fruit enthusiasts.CBCGPF15

Puca is a robust pumpkin curry porter named after the mischievous shape-shifter of Irish folklore. It’s brewed with Dickinson pumpkins from Blueberry Bay Farm in Stratham grown specifically for use in devilishly delicious beer. Don’t forget the curry, coconut sugar, and Thai peppers!  Those hoping for a glass of pumpkin pie will surely feel hoodwinked–Puca derives most of its character from the rum-soaked, shredded coconut that is used to dry “hop” the beer.   Unfortunately, much like it’s mischievous namesake, Puca pulled a last minute disappearing act and had to be replaced with Witching Hour, our black saison.  No pumpkin here, but still, as one patron described, “Dark, roasty, and diggable.”

SF15On Sunday, smoky goodness filled the air on Portsmouth’s own High Street as we celebrated our 2nd Annual Sausage Fest.   Polka music and grilled meat proved once again to be just what the witch doctor ordered for clearing up the post-Halloween heebie-jeebies.   Maine Meat provided the fantastic flesh, Thistle Pig the gourmet salad de’tater, Gary Sredzienski slayed with his accordion, and we of course supplied the hairs o’ the dog.  Gallow’s Harvest was once again on tap, and Puca magically reappeared just in time to get his sausage fest on. All in all ’twas a great weekend for all people of the Big Bird.  Thanks so much to all who attended the Pumpkin Fest as well as those who braved the Sausage Fest–we sure do appreciate it!                                            

YES KiNG! A graf beer & a cautionary tale.

Apple beers have been around forever but have you heard of a GRAF? One of our patrons said it was a beer brewed with apple cider instead of water–we’ve been fascinated with the idea ever since. Turns out it’s a fictional beer that Stephen King imagined in The Dark Tower series! He of course did not disclose a recipe, just that it’s a strong, dark apple beer. Many homebrewers have attempted to brew a graf and the interwebs gave up a wide variety of recipes, some ciders and some beers. NOTHING however on subbing cidergrain for water.

Dave A. and I went ahead and did a 50/50 mix of Applecrest Farms cider and water. Everything when smoothly until about 10 minutes into mash-out: STUCK! What? No wheat, no rye, wtf? We gave it a vigorous stir and it flowed for a few more minutes and then stopped again. We were clueless! 6 stir-and-stops later most of the wort was gone.

Looking into the boil kettle, our best guess was that the acidity from the heated cider disintegrated the malt to the point where almost half of it flowed right through the false bottom into the boil kettle–OH SHIT! We actually had to filter the resulting wort TWICE before pumping it into the fermenter, once recirculating through a hand-held colander, and then through a nylon bag into a grant on it’s way to the wort chiller–not pretty.graf boil kettle

So we started with 110 gallons of liquor (55g cider/55 water) and wound up with 55 gallons of wort in the fermenter-sheesh!

4/2/15 Happy to report that, although it pours like chocolate milk, Yes King! is a very enjoyable hybrid beer–hard cidery, a tad tart, smoothed by the malt, and grounded by the hops and chaga. PROST!

BOG MARE

Tony the Skinna'Did you catch the first chapter of this beer story, Old Glory 802?

Tad and I took a ride up to Turner to take possession of a certain moose head from Tad’s kin. “It’s out in the garage, in a cardboard box.” Figured it was in plastic, a garbage bag maybe. We walked out to the garage and nope, just 41 pounds of furry head,operating table peering out of a cardboard box, frozen solid.

Back at the Bunker a table was prepared.

As is often the case with our meat beers, the transmogrification began with Tony C., our man for the skunnin’. Tony made fairly quick work of it whilst listening to the Eagles station we made for him on Pandora. We tried to pawn off the velvety furred skin to some fly tyers but, to our disappointment,  none of the folks seemed too interested. Prolly some taxidermists would have been game but we didn’t know any. If we do this again we’ll be sure to line up all the folks necessary to make sure no animal parts go unused.tony1 (We did save the ears and skull for decoratory purposes.)

Next step was to prepare the head for a long simmer to extract as much of “the goodie” out of it as possible. Tony suggested we brown/caramelize it first–with a blow torch.b.torch1 So we gave it a rub of salt, pepper, and sugar and lit the torch. Seemed like it took hours before the deed was deemed done. By then the room smelled oddly like popcorn, really. Did this fiery exercise actually contribute anything besides dramatic/disturbing photos? Who knows?

Next we mixed a few pounds of DME into some water. Took 25 gallons to cover the modifications in our boil kettle along with the head, much more than was ideal we suspect. The sweet water was brought to a boil and in went the head. Since the heating element was either on or off, we cut the power, waited ’til the temp dropped to 180-190, and turned the power back on until it was back to a boil. This was repeated for 3 hours. The resulting savory broth was promptly drained irubbed head2nto some kegs and put into the fridge. After the head cooled off, pretty much every piece of meat/tendon/cartilage was pulled or cut off/out of the skull, bagged, and tossed in the freezer (so that a certain chef could have his way with it at a later date).postboil

The next day an amber gruit was brewed, to which Sage, Labrador Tea, and Sweet Gale were added. The thought here was to add native herbs from the area the cow was “harvested” in, herbs that might also be used in cooking such meat. Just before flame-out, 20 gallons of the meat broth was added to the boiled wort—after the congealed fat was skimmed off because, as we all know, fat is a foamy head’s worst enemy!  Shortly thereafter the now meaty wort was pumped into a fermenter and the yeast commenced its business. The remaining 5 gallons of broth was mixed with some Belgian candy syrup and added in two weeks later.

Thanks so much to all the folks who made this historic brew possible, particularly Tad, his generous nephew Josh, his talented niece Erin, Tony the skinner, Taylor the simmer-sitter, and Evan for his unwavering enthusiasm! We expect Bog Mare will be on tap TODAY!

PROST, intrepid imbibers, PROST!!

Old Glory 802

(Excerpted from Erin Dunn’s Facebook post, 11/20/14. Thanks Tad, Erin, & Josh!)
Photo by Erin Dunn
Photo by Erin Dunn

“My cousin, Josh, got his cow permit for this 2014 final moose hunt week in Zone 3. He harvested an 802.0 lb cow, and for those that are interested, the Maine state record for a cow moose is 885 lbs., harvested in Misery Township in 2001 by a gentleman from PA on a guided moose hunt. Holy “Cow!” So in perspective, Josh harvested an old glory.

Photo by Erin Dunn
Photo by Erin Dunn

We all drove up during the first storm of the season on Sunday the 2nd. A trip that would normally take 5 hours took us 9. I counted 32 vehicles off the road by the time we hit Sinclair. Arriving after 10 p.m. we were greeted by one hell of a pumped hunting crew and a toasty camp.
Josh harvested his moose at 6:15 a.m. on 11.4.2014 (Maine state election day). The local game warden surely was impressed with Old Glory. We went to the closest tagging station, Quigley’s in Fort Kent, and watched local biologists and students from UMaine Fort Kent collect data and remove ovaries for cow studies for the harvest season.
We headed back to camp where a makeshift hoist was setup. With some thought, labor, and team effort, an 802.0 lb cow moose was hanging from 3

Photo by Erin Dunn
Photo by Erin Dunn

logs ratchet-strapped between two trees at camp by 10 a.m. The pressure was off and we were able to look for birds, deer, and take in nature.
Another one of my uncle’s contacted us and requested the moose head for his buddies who own a brewery as they want to make an authentic MooseHead Ale… I think it should be named 802.
Each one of us were so lucky and proud to share this trip with Josh… as Josh says, “This is a trip of a lifetime.”

(Stay tuned for more on the ale…)

Three Bird, a modern Cock-Ale (?)

Mr. Cock, I presume?
Mr. Cock, I presume?

I remember stumbling on a recipe for “Cock Ale” years ago, said to be popular in 17th and 18th-century England, where a specially cooked and prepared rooster was put in a muslin bag and tossed into fermenting beer. In “The Young Gallants Tutor, Or, An Invitation to Mirth,” a rather lusty song from the 1670s, an anonymous author celebrates several particular beverages: “With love and good liquor our hearts we do cheer, Canary and Claret, Cock Ale and March beer.” I remember shuddering with a jolt of revulsion and fascination as I contemplated how horribly wrong such an idea could go. It has haunted me ever since.

Womenspetitionagainstcoffee.JPGThere’s even this weird seventeenth century link between Cock Ale, coffee, and male potency! In “The Women’s Petition Against Coffee,” the author(s) bemoaned the “Decay of that true Old English Vigour” caused by the excess consumption of coffee. They lamented that English men had formerly been “the Ablest Performers in Christendome,” but “our Gallants being every way so Frenchified … they are become meer Cock-sparrows.” The ladies suggested outlawing coffee and “returning to the good old strengthning Liquors of our Forefathers,” which included, yes, Cock-Ale, a “Lusty nappy Beer.”

Over the ensuing years the subject has come up repeatedly amongst my fellow beer enthusiasts and I, particularly in conversations around historical beer. Someone always says “Yeah, but what about that Cock Ale?” Those of us who are familiar with the idea grin while those who aren’t gasp and exclaim “Come on now, that’s not real, is it?” At that point the rest of us shrug and say “Well, I’ve never actually had any, but according to the literature, folks DID make it.”

Thomas Fuller’s Pharmacopœia extemporanea (1710) offers a recipe which “sweetens

Mr. Digby
Dear Mr. Digby

the Acrimony of the blood and humours, incites clammy phlegm, facilitates expectoration, invigorates the lungs, supplies soft nourishment, and is very profitable even in a consumption itself, if not too far gone.” Supposedly King William III preferred it to wine and several authors have theorized that Cock ale may have mutated into “cocktail”  an American word first used in 1806 whose origin is now lost. The first printed recipe for Cock Ale appears to have been published by the Englishman, Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665).

It was the summer of 2013, in the Pitt Tavern at Strawbery Banke, the subject came up yet again in an excited conversation with a history professor, a minister, and myself. Sounds like the lead to a joke, right? “So a professor, a minister and a counselor are in a bar…” The rub here is that it was no joke. The three of us resolved to recreate this legendary ale, regardless of the myriad reasons not to attempt such folly. Tad would do the research, Kit would supply the birds and prepare them accordingly, and I would create an appropriate colonial style ale and a place to put it all together.

Kit adding the molasses for the masses.
Kit adding the molasses for the masses.

Two weeks ago the three of us met up at EEB and brewed the base ale. We all took turns stirring the mash, cleaning equipment, and I took pictures whist Tad handed warm jars of molasses to Kit which she dumped into the boil kettle. An then we cleaned more (yeah, I know, probably not so historically accurate). Anyway, on our way to lunch at the venerable Portsmouth Brewery, Tad. ever the rock music devotee, came up with the not-so-gratuitous name of THREE BIRD.  We had a great day making a fairly high gravity brew while conversations meandered all over the map, regularly circling back to our chosen task and our resulting nervous excitement. Would we be rediscovering a viable ale labeled the “homely aphrodisiac” or would our efforts culmulate with dumping of 35 gallons of fowled beer down the drain?

Kit, Tad, & Butch We did it! Or did we?
Kit, Tad, & Butch    We did it! Or did we?

In Richard Ames’ 1693 poem, “The bacchanalian sessions, or, The contention of liquors with a farewel to wine,”  Cock Ale defends himself to his fellow liquors:
For ‘tis but a truth, which is very well known,? How much I’m belov’d by the Sparks of the Town,?  And their Mistresses too, who ‘fore Wine me prefer,?  When they meet at a House very near Temple bar,?    What precious intreigues could my Pimpship discover,?  Between a Town Jilt, and a mony’d[?] young Lover.