Ale Through The Ages season five is currently underway at Milwaukee’s premiere Center for Public Innovation: Discovery World. We began the season in October by pressing an Old Wisconsin Apple Cider, using heirloom apples from Weston’s Antique Orchard in Waukesha County. Clocking in at 8.6% it was a delicious taste of Wisconsin’s autumnal bounty.
In November 2012 we brewed two versions of a Presidential Ale. The first recipe was quilled by George Washington in 1757 when he was on the front lines of the French & Indian War. With molasses and boiled “bran” as the principle ingredients, needless-t0-say the end result was both smoky and barely passable for a beer we think of today.
Six more gallons of the wort was fermented in a large pumpkin, resulting in a unique flavor of the squash used in brewing during the colonial period. The other 6 gallons of the George Washington Ale was fermented in a glass carboy, with the addition of cherry wood chips added to secondary fermentation.
In contrast to our first president, we also brewed a six gallon batch of White House Honey Porter, currently being brewed at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington DC. In 2012, the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, purchased home brewing equipment for the White House. With the help of local professional brewers and staff chefs, they began brewing a Honey Porter and a Honey Ale in the kitchen of the White House. While we were not able to source the actual White House honey, we used Wauwatosa WI wildflower honey, as well as American, English and German ingredients to create a delicious honey porter. Ale to all the Commander and Chiefs; past, present and future!
December 2012 brought cold weather 0nce again to Milwaukee, so we hunkered down and brewed up a Medieval German smokey rye ale called a Roggenbier. Resurrected from the depths of brewing history, this northern European ale recipe predates the Bavarian Purity Law, Reinheitsgebot, of 1516, due to the use of rye as the predominant grain. Much like a Dunkelweizen, this Roggenbier was dark in color with deep smoky caramel notes and a crisp rye finish. An addition of German Spalt noble hops and meadowsweet herbs, evoke the floral pallet of Northern European brewing traditions over 1,000 years ago.
2013 began a new despite the erroneous hype about the end of time, based on a Mayan inscription at the site of Totuguero (Tabasco Mexico) that states the end of Mayan’s 13th BakTun (December 21st 2012). Clearly we all survived Armageddon, so it seemed fitting to pay respect the ancient cultures of MesoAmerica that fermented cacao pods into chocolate beverages. These cultures also added maize (corn), dried peppers (ancho and chipotle), native vanilla beans and honey to their fermented beverages. Therefore, this recipe is based on archaeological and ethnographic research from sites in Honduras and southern Mexico. The resulting Mayan Chocolate Ale had a marvelous cacao flavor, spiced with a southern Mexican chipotle peppers and vanilla beans.
Our next brewing challenge takes place February 7th 2013 at Discovery World, when we tackle a Himalayan Tongba Ale, which is a millet beer still being brewed by the Limbu Culture in the Himalayan mountains of eastern Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet. A wild yeast obtained from Darjeeling tea leaves will be used in a portion of the traditional Tongba brew to ferment the millet and create this uniquely warming fermented beverage that is perfect for a cold Wisconsin February. This brewing session will include an in depth presentation with photographs that I personally took while trekking in this region of Nepal in 2000. REGISTER HERE before the seats are full and you miss out on taking home a sample of this very rare ale.