Perhaps you are an accomplished homebrewer and you want to appreciate the challenges faced by brewers in the 18th Century who brewed good beer without all the instrumentation and modern equipment we rely on, perhaps you are a history buff and want to know just what beer tasted like in 1770, or perhaps you just enjoy a good story and some fine beer.  If any of these are you then you should join one of our immersion classes and learn to brew like our forefathers. 

Rather than a demonstration where you can just watch and maybe smell the process, I strive for a full immersion experience.  Step back in time and join the team as we brew the work for Spruce Beer to be drunk by the Continental Army.  Beer was so critical to life in the early years of our country that the Pilgrims ended their voyage early and settled in Massachusetts rather than Virginia because the ran out of beer.  Beer was so critical to the health of the army that George Washington ordered his quartermasters in 1775 to provide each man “One quart of Spruce Beer per man, pr diem” in order to keep them fit for service during the siege of Boston.

In this class, you will learn

  • The general history of beer and brewing in America and how the practice rose from a basic task performed in nearly every household to a profession which fed the various Taverns and Alehouse of our new nation.
  • The roles of the Colonial Tavern in the social, political, and civic life of early America.
  • Why everyone; men, women, children, and slaves; drank beer all day in order to stay healthy.
  • What the difference is between the parti-gyyle, the hoffbrau, and the small beer.  Who drank what and why so many styles from a single batch of malt?
  • Why beer was so critical to early life in America and how it fueled the debates that led to revolution.
  • How the Royal Navy’s failure to protect Pennsylvania from pirates launched the industry that would create our nation’s oldest professional breweries.
  • How to make beer with only your five senses and some basic field kitchen equipment including:
    • Mashing the wort
    • Decoctions and extractions
    • Lautering, brewing, and chilling without the benefit of modern appliances.
    • Assessing the progress and quality of your beer without modern instruments like thermometers, hydrometers and clocks.
    • Beer Styles of the 18th Century and how to adapt historical recipes to work with modern supplies.
    • How beer in the 18th Century was very different than what we call beer today.

At the end of this class, you will be given the product of your work.  Take home and ferment into the Spruce Beer wort you make in this class to ferment and condition into the beer that saved many 18th Century expeditions into the far north and helped the men avoid scurvy and other ailments.  Share not only your experience with your friends but beer you brewed with your hands, your nose, and your own personal experience.

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