What is a “Colonial Beer?”

Reenactors seem to revel in the debate over historical accuracy.  We either passionately focus on authenticity or we bristle at those who do.  Colonial brewers are reenactors and we run the gamut from casual historical entertainers to passionate academic historians.  There is a place for everyone but we need to acknowledge the range of expression …

Beer Recipe: French Alliance “Myrtile” Lambic

“Myrtille” is French for Blueberry. It is popular in some so-called patriotic circles to make snarky comments about France and the French, We call them “Frogs” and complain about rescuing them from their foreign exploits like Vietnam when they hold us to high moral standards on our adventures. The fact, however, is that the United …

Basic Colonial Brewing #9 — Mashing and Decoction

The first major step in brewing beer is to extract the fermentable sugars and starches from the malt kernels.  This process is called mashing (from the German maisch: to mix).  The basic idea is to harness the enzymes already present in the grain in order to digest the complex inert starches into fermentable simple sugars.  …

Sugar Cones or Loaves and the Making of Rum

During Antiquity and the Middle Ages, sugar was rare and expensive commodity.  Beginning in the 15th century, however, sugar cane plantations developed in the West Indies, then South America, particularly in Brazil. Sugar was the top colonial commodity. It was at the root of the ‘triangular trade’, where European shipowners exchanged trinkets for African men, who were then sold as slaves …

Fort Mifflin on TV

Okay folks, its about to happen. All of the work we put into making the TV programs for both the Discovery and Travel Channels (highlighting different aspects of Fort Mifflin) are about to come to fruition. May 7 — Portals to Hell — Fort Mifflin Travel Channel The hosts investigate a Fort Mifflin ‘s Revolutionary …

Beer Recipe: “Never Surrender” Welsh Cake Porter

My friend Conner Duffy is actively working to bring another tavern to Fort Mifflin during the upcoming North American Festival of Wales in August of this year. To that end, on May 7, when the Regimental Brewmeister teaches the next 18th Century Brewing Class at Fort Mifflin, we will be brewing a Welsh Cake Porter. …

“Beer” Recipe: John Adams — Breakfast Cider

Apple juice was fermented because before we had refrigeration, it was hard to stop that from happening — apples would just ferment naturally. When English colonists first arrived in North America, they enthusiastically embraced the wide range of wild fruits they found growing, from grapes to berries and of course, begam to make wines and …

Basic Colonial Brewing #8 — Malting the Grain

Before grain can be used to make beer, the starches stored in the kernel must be converted to fermentable sugars.  The grain does this naturally as part of the germination process, so the brewer need only harness this process and then stop it before the grain sprouts to capture the sugars they need for their …

Fort Mifflin on TV

Okay folks, its about to happen. The wounds are not all healed and the beer is not yet ready to drink but all of the work we put into making the TV programs for both the Discovery and Travel Channels (highlighting different aspects of Fort Mifflin) are about to come to fruition. May 4 — …