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Ales of the Revolution (Yards)

In honor of one of the biggest craft beer weeks in the nation, I felt it necessary to quickly post my notes of four quite interesting ales that I had the opportunity to sample at City Tavern in Old Town Philly. These ales were brewed using documented recipes from our Founding Fathers.

Notes are from brews right to left.
Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Ale
In the style of the common man's ale, this pale ale is brewed with Pilsner malt. Crisp & hoppy with citrus flavors & aromas.

Look and Smell: This pale yellow brew had a frothy white head. It had light lacing as I drank it. I smelled light citrus bitterness.
Taste: This was a very crisp brew. It had that light lemony hop taste. It was a very light beer. It was the hoppiest of the four.
ABV: 4.5%

Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce
Initially brewed to commemorate Ben Franklin’s 300th birthday—not to mention his affinity for fine ales—Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce™ is based on Franklin’s original recipe. It uses spruce tips and molasses as barley and hops were not readily available at the time.

Look and Smell: This brown ale left heavy lacing. The head was whitish and bubbly. It smelled spiced.
Taste: This was very interesting. I don't think I'd go out of my way to order it, but it was definitely worth trying. It tasted like...well....spruce. It was like a tea or a ginger ale. It had a very dry finish. It was very herbal.
ABV: 5%

Thomas Jefferson's 1774 Tavern Ale
Thomas Jefferson only made beer twice a year. While Jefferson vehemently opposed a strong central federal government, he apparently had nothing against strong ales like this one. Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale is a golden ale with dried fruits and toffee aromas inspired by Jefferson’s original recipe that called for wheat, honey, and rye from his Virginia estate.

Look and Smell: This gold-brown ale left heavy lacing. The head white head was made up of thick layers of tiny bubbles. The smell was very light, slightly sweet caramel.
Taste: It was sweet with a bitter spike. I'm guessing it was that earthy honey paired with the rye. It had a smooth light flavor. I didn't expect it to have an 8% ABV when I looked it up!
ABV: 8%

General Washington's Tavern Porter
Brewed from a genuine recipe on file in the Rare Manuscripts Room of the New York Public Library. A rich, dark brew loaded with flavor.

Look and Smell: This was a very dark brown. The head was a thin coffee-colored ring. It smelled very malty and sweet.
Taste: It was a good porter. It was slightly sweet with a bitter roast aftertaste. More on the coffee side than the chocolate side, but I could still detect slight chocolate flavor. The clinging bitterness was all coffee roast though. It was a thicker, rich brew perfect to end the tasting with.
ABV: 7%

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