The Return Of New Albion Ale

To put it in the chef’s language: this is a beer of love moment. Created with thoughtful respect for brewing tradition, by none other than Jim Koch of Samuel Adams, for the pioneering efforts of microbrewer Jack McAuliffe, founder of the short lived New Albion Brewing Company, credited for starting up artisan brewing in the United States, which, in the nearly 40 years since, has blossomed into a full scale industry. But this was not the case in those days, when there were only 44 breweries in the entire country, and small scale brewing equipment did not exist. Obstacles that made Mr. McAuliffe not only craft his beer, but the tools required to produce it.
Much of this is being written about. There are videos of the resurrection of this recipe at the Boston Beer Company, where the retired pioneer brewer shows Jim Koch an original label bottle, that has no government warning on it. Luckily, the original yeast strain has been preserved from that time, which makes me wonder: is this the yeast used in Ballantine Ale?
Tasting this beer is a reminder that the struggle to make flavorful beer is no accident. A small group of individuals were determined to not live out their days drinking beer without character. That determination continues to expand.
As for this revival, the beer itself is remarkable for its simplicity. Using only cascade hops, this pale (as in clear golden colour) ale has a nutty, honey note that is gentle and very drinkable. Quite subtle, compared to the hop bomb creations of this century, but so what? This was good drinking beer without any pretension, in an era when such creations were very difficult to find.
My advice, for whatever it is worth, is to try and see if you enjoy this ale. Putting aside its historical significance, and damn it, just drink this ale. Cheers!Image


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