If you think winter’s the quiet season for many destinations, then it’s time to think again as Jefferson’s Monticello is ready to add to his wine legacy with its first 21st century brew: Monticello Reserve Ale, the official beer of Monticello.
What’s really exciting about this new venture is the historic relevance of the announcement. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, in collaboration with Starr Hill Brewery and under the supervision of Master Brewer Mark Thompson, created an artisanal beer that matches what was produced and consumed regularly at Monticello: A lightly hopped combination of wheat and corn. Beer was considered one of the “table liquors” which means it was served with meals and considered a staple of the Jefferson household. It should be noted that wine was served after the meals!
Records go back to 1772 when Jefferson’s wife Martha oversaw the periodic brewing operations, about 15 casks of beer with a low alcohol content were produced approximately every two weeks. That changed during the War of 1812 when larger scale operations began and ale was introduced, a stronger beer that could be more easily stored. This enterprise was then overseen by Sally Hemings brother, Peter, who was trained by the British in the arts of malting and brewing.
Besides the historic value of such a roll-out, the public is invited to a free President’s Day Tasting, Monday, February 21 from noon to 3P. At 12:15 the first keg will be tapped! If you can’t make this special event, look for Monticello Reserve Ale on tap at local restaurants and for sale in 750ml bottles.
What an exciting opportunity to enjoy Monticello and be part of its continuing historic projects.