Starr Hill Brewery

The Friday Mash (St. John the Silent Edition)

Today is the feast day of St. John the Silent. So, in the words of Elmer Fudd, we’re going to be “vewy quiet”.


We begin in San Diego, where Stone Brewing Company co-founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner have invested $100 million in True Craft, a private-equity firm that will take minority positions in craft breweries that need funding to expand.

Brewery Vivant and the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra have released a collaboration beer, Carmina Beerana. This single-malt, single-hop beer was inspired by Carl Orff’s classic work.

Hopyard, a newly-opened beer bar in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, offers two of the hottest things in pop culture: craft beer and vinyl music.

Jeff Vrabel of GQ magazine unleashed a righteous rant about alcoholic root beer. He believes that root beer belongs to childhood and ought to remain there.

Last Friday, the Bar D’Alsace-tian in London put a team of Alsatian dogs to work delivering cold bottles of beer to customers in custom harnesses in the shape of a barrel.

Starr Hill Brewery is celebrating the Dave Matthews Band’s 25th anniversary with a beer called Warehouse Pils. “Warehouse” is the name of the band’s official fan club.

Finally, Danish beermaker Mikkeller Brewing is bringing its acclaimed Copenhagen Beer Celebration to Boston. The two-day festival, to be held in September, will feature more than 100 craft beers from over 50 breweries from around the world.

Mr. Jefferson’s Beer

In 1815, former president Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I am lately become a brewer for family use, having had the benefit of instruction to one of my people by an English brewer of the first order.” Nearly two centuries later, beer similar to what Jefferson brewed returns to Monticello, his plantation in Virginia. It’s lightly hopped and uses wheat and corn in the grain bill, and is brewed by Crozet, Virginia’s Starr Hill Brewery. Visitors to Monticello will be able to taste the new beer, called Monticello Reserve Ale, starting February 21, which just happens to be President’s Day.

Brewing beer was an important activity at Monticello, and was a staple of the Jefferson household. It was one of the “table liquors” served with meals. Records go back to 1772, when Jefferson’s wife Martha oversaw the periodic brewing operations. About twice a month, Monticello’s brewing operation turned out 15-gallon casks of small beer. Larger-scale brewing began during the War of 1812, when Joseph Miller, a British captain who was detained in Albemarle County, added stronger ale–which could be stored–to Monticello’s brewing operation. Miller also trained a slave by the name of Peter Hemings, Sally Hemings’s brother, in the arts of malting and brewing.

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