GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BEER — You can drink like it's 1789 today at Growlers Hawthorne. Long time homebrewer and radio personality, Tim Hohl, found a journal entry of George Washington's with directions on how to make a "small beer," involving bran hops, molasses, and bringing things to a "blood warm" temperature and to "cover it over with a blanket" in cold weather (Washington's choice words).
So Hohl found ingredients that closely resembled those of our founding father and put some of his own brewing interpretation on the process. "I settled on six-row barley, which is indigenous to the Colonies, East Kent Golding hops from England and two different yeast strains — also old school from England," he says. After a little bit of trial and error, Hohl brewed three batches with different combinations of hops, molasses, and yeast. He and Growlers Hawthorne owner Jim Hillman collaborated with Coalition Brewing to make a ⅙ barrel of what they decided was the best of the recipes. The final outcome? "Different, but drinkable," Hohl says. "As I've shared the homebrew with others, the response has been much more favorable than I expected."
And now the vote goes out to the masses. Taste the presidential quaff today only from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Growlers Hawthorne. Also, catch more beer history and news on Hohl's "Beer Geek" radio segment every Thursday morning at 7:40am on KPAM 860.
DICKENSIAN MULLED ALE — Bartender Jacob Grier, author of the book "Cocktails on Tap" to be released next month, has called upon two Portland artisans to help him recreate two old, odd, but delicious-sounding warm ale cocktails, and you can taste them both tonight at the Hop and Vine from 5 to 7 p.m.
The first is from a warm mulled ale recipe by Charles Dickens' great-grandson. It required a style of beer that hasn't been made for ages, so Grier enlisted the help of friend and brewer Ben Edmunds of Breakside Brewery, who brewed up a malty rye wine (similar to barleywine) for him. Grier then added the cognac, sugar, spices and orange, then mulled it in a sous vide for that 21st century touch. The second crazy-old cocktail, a pre-egg-white flip, required a more ancient heating technique: a super-heated hot iron, which Grier got from a friend of a friend, who is a burgeoning blacksmith. The rod quickly warms the drink, made with the rye wine ale, sugar and Jamaican rum, and makes it frothy.