When I started this blog, not even a week ago, I did so with the intentions of
drinking a lot of beer broadening my horizons when it came to my realm of dives visited and knowledge of craft beer. I never anticipated having the week I just did, in which I already attended my first craft beer event and learned so many interesting things about a new limited edition beer from one of my favorite breweries. A good friend informed me of an event taking place this past Thursday at the New York Public Library, hosted by Blue Point Brewing Company. I registered immediately, and away we went!
Upon arrival to the library, and after a quick hello to Fortitude, the Northern Marble Lion, I skipped up the steps with excitement. When I first stepped into the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building it felt like I had stepped back in time. George Washington greeted me with a
friendly smile blank stare and I settled myself in among the rest of the guests as we listened to a librarian historian explain the backstory of Colonial Ale.
George Washington originally hand-wrote the recipe for “Small Beer” in 1757, while he was at the time, a Colonel in the Virginia Regiment Militia. He had scrawled the instructions for the brew in a military journal; the page now resides in the Library’s collections. The beer’s intended purpose was that of nourishment. This was not a beer to drink for celebrations, parties, or anything of that matter. This beer was meant to keep hydrated and full all the men, women, and even children, of the time and area. It is comprised of the simple ingredients they had available to them, all things they would have farmed themselves.
After discovering the recipe’s existence, the brewers at Blue Point Brewing Co. set to recreating it as closely as possible. The only real difference in today’s version is that it was manufactured using modern technology. The corn, oats, wheat and white molasses syrup lend to a dark beer with a light, warm, taste. It has a slight hoppiness to it, with a carmel undertone, and is 3.6 alcohol by volume. It’s not a complicated beer, and it’s not supposed to be. I could see myself sipping on this all day long during the cozy Holiday times while catching up with friends and family.
Colonial Ale isn’t Blue Point Brewing Company’s only connection to George Washington, either. During 1790 George Washington visited Harts Tavern in Patchogue, NY while on a tour of Long Island. Here he is told to have dined on oysters and beer. The spot where Harts Tavern would have stood is today a cemetery, only a stones throw (0.4 miles) away from Blue Point Brewing Company. Reminiscent of George’s meal, the guests at Blue Point’s Thursday night event were also treated to freshly hand-shucked Wellfleet oysters along with their Colonial Ale.
Colonial Ale can currently be found on tap in the Tasting Room at Blue Point Brewing Company (details below). I would highly recommend getting yourself down to Patchogue, NY to taste a piece of history! And you better do it fast; Colonial Ale was made in only a limited 30-barrel run. Like George himself, I cannot tell a lie – you definitely don’t want to miss out!
Blue Point Brewing Company
161 Rive Ave, Patchogue, NY 11772
Brewery Tours: 1pm and 4pm (Free! No reservations, must wear closed-toe shoes)
Tasting Room: Wed-Fri 3pm-9pm, Sat 12pm-9pm