This collaboration beer release celebrates an unsung maltster and brewer, Peter Hemings, a man enslaved by Thomas Jefferson who was noted for his particular “intelligence and diligence” in creating beer of uncommon quality.
The article “Missing Ingredients — The (Incomplete) Story of Thomas Jefferson’s Unsung Brewer” by scholar and homebrewer J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, Ph.D. led us to descriptions of the beer he brewed:
"Jefferson’s records reveal that barley was not grown on either of his properties and what recipes for beer have been recorded feature wheat-dominant grists. I imagined the cloudy, aggressively-hopped beer that Hemings may have 'spoiled,' and wondered if perhaps he was a visionary, brewing 200 years ahead of his time."
Taking on the historical and technical challenge, GBH and J. Nikol collaborated with Champion Brewing in Charlottesville, VA to approximate a beer that might just evoke Hemings' own. A flaked corn and wheat grist with enough Magnum hops in the bittering phase to create something to which folks at the time might have taken exception.
This event is a chance for us to celebrate an unsung brewer, raise a glass in his honor, and consider his role in colonial brewing history as a noteworthy and exploited person possessing both intelligence and diligence. Join us on February 22 at 5pm for a special evening at Champion Brewing’s Charlottesville taproom. We’ll have a special print copy of the story from J. Nikol, a special release glass for the first 50 guests, and some other mementos that will help ensure Hemings’ story is never forgotten.