1757 gw Beer
One 12 oz bottle, $1.88++, 5.1% ABV
Purchased at Harvest Wine & Spirits
This is the ee cummings of Connectictut beer. As if George Washington didn’t capitalize his name? I don’t get the lowercase thing, but I’m neither artistic nor versed in the ways of marketing, so I’ll leave it alone.
I remember a year or so ago learning about this beer from my man Ian at Harvest. He did a good job selling it – the beer itself and the idea behind the beer – but something didn’t resonate with me. Nothing against Ian or the brewer, but the pitch didn’t really bowl me over. And actually, now that I’ve read everything about gw beer, I’m still not bowled over.
I’ve never really been sold on the whole Dogfish Head thing where they unearth ancient ale recipes and recreate them in Milton, DE. It all just seems so silly to me. Because really, are we to believe the Egyptians or, in this case, George Washington had a beer recipe that is better than anything else available to us? Of course not, but that’s the premise with this beer.
Continental Beer Company says:
At Mount Vernon, George Washington made his own beer in 30 gallon batches and in 1757 penned his recipe “To Make Small Beer” in his diary. It is from this recipe that we have created gw Beer.
Crafted lighter and smoother gw Beer bridges heritage and contemporary taste. Micro brewed for the mainstream, gw Beer is a golden amber American Pale Ale, lightly malty, with a smooth balance of toasted caramel and American hop flavor and aroma, creating a beer with high drinkability.
So you’d think gw beer would be somehow different, yet the same. I’ve had it on three separate occasions and had the same feeling each time: Eh, this is alright. It didn’t inspire me to take down the British or lead a brand new country during its first few perilous years. And frankly, I doubt it helped Mr. Washington do that either.
What we have here is a run-of-the-mill American pale ale. It’s contract brewed up at Cottrell (the dude who owns gw lives in or near Greenwich) and I’m not sure I’d be able to tell the difference between the 1757 gw and the Cottrell American ale. And let’s be honest here – even if you/I can tell the difference, it’s not at all pronounced and that’s my point.
If you want to market the gimmick – errr – historically interesting beer that George Washington brewed; even if you clearly state that you changed it a bit to appeal to EVERYONE and not just craft beer geeks and/or history craft beer geeks, you need to put something in the bottle that resonates with a different flavor profile or something. Was beer so carbonated 225 years ago? Would it have been more malt-heavy? Less alcoholic?
All that said, it’s not a bad beer at all. But it’s not worth the extra couple bucks for the wisp of an idea that our first president brewed anything remotely like this beer.
Overall Rating: C+
Rating vs. Similar style: C-