The New York Public Library has teamed up with Coney Island Brewing Company in Brooklyn to create a beer fit for a Founding Father – a porter based on George Washington’s handwritten “small beer” recipe, which can be found in the Library’s extensive collections.
The two institutions are brewing a very limited amount of “Fortitude’s Founding Father Brew” to toast the 100th birthday of the Library’s landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street.
“This partnership is a fun and unique way to bring our awe-inspiring collections to life,” said Ann Thornton, Acting Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries. “Not only will it give people a rare opportunity to experience history first-hand, but it will shine a spotlight on the incredible depth and breadth of our collections. We have a treasure trove of materials that can be accessed by the public and used to advance the worlds of scholarship, literature, invention, creation . . . or even beer-making. It’s a perfect message to send on the 100th birthday of our Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, which houses millions of these precious items. Cheers!”
The brewery – maker of such craft beer favorites as Coney Island Lager, Sword Swallower and Freaktoberfest and a part of Shmaltz Brewing Company, the “Best American Craft Brewer” according to Beverage World Magazine – is creating the beer in collaboration with two local brewers, Pete Taylor and Josh Knowlton, using Washington’s own instructions, which he wrote on a small piece of paper.
“To Make Small Beer,” reads Washington’s recipe. “Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste. Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses (sic) into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask — leave the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working — Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.”
The recipe sits along with Washington’s Farewell Address and other items belonging to him and his family in the Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Division.
“What an incredible opportunity that the New York Public Library has offered Shmaltz Brewing Company,” said Jeremy Cowan, founder of Shmaltz. “A chance to bring history, culture, and the written word from revolutionary times into today’s craft beer evolution. We are thrilled to transform Washington’s recipe into an even more complex and flavorful robust porter using a delicious array of the best small batch dark malts and hop varieties to produce a truly spectacular celebration for the contemporary beer connoisseur. By adding Brown Malt to the grain bill and the additions of Northern Brewer hops and rich molasses to the boil we were able to produce a beer that is modern but with ingredients that have been a part of brewing for generations. The 100th birthday of the Schwarzman Building is such a monumental occasion, let’s toast to 100 more successful years as a true New York cultural institution.”
Tastings of the beer will be served to guests at the Library’s Centennial gala on May 23 — exactly 100 years after “The People’s Palace” opened in 1911. The press will have an opportunity to taste the beer at an event on Wednesday, May 18 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Rattle N Hum, located at 14 East 33rd Street in Manhattan. The public will have a chance to get a free tasting of the special brew as part of an event by Shmaltz Brewing Company at 7 p.m.
Bank of America is the Lead Sponsor of the Centennial Gala. Additional support for the Library’s Centennial Festival has been made possible through an endowment established by family and friends of the late Richard B. Salomon, and by The Skeel Fund, MetLife Foundation, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Asprey, Wells Fargo, Celeste Bartos, The Wall Street Journal, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Titan, WABC-TV/Channel 7, Penguin Classics, Engine Yard and Gotham Magazine.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org.
About Shmaltz Brewing Company
Shmaltz Brewing Company was acknowledged by Beverage World Magazine as “Best American Craft Brewer 2010” and won the “Best In Show 2010” title, after being named “Breakout Brand” for 2009. Shmaltz was recently named one of the “Top 20 Fastest Growing Bay Area Companies” by San Francisco Business Times, and is a recipient of the “Distinguished Business Award” by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Established in San Francisco in 1996 with the first batch of 100 cases of HE’BREW Beer® bottled, labeled, and delivered by hand, Shmaltz has sold over 8 million bottles of beer to date. Along with their acclaimed line of HE’BREW Beers®, Shmaltz introduced its new line of sideshow-inspired Coney Island Craft Lagers® with seven featured attractions including Coney Island Lager®, Albino Python®, Sword Swallower®, Human Blockhead®, Mermaid Pilsner®, Freaktoberfest®, and Luna Lager(TM). Proceeds help Coney Island USA, a 501(c)(3) Arts Non-Profit fulfill its mission to defend the honor of lost forms of American popular culture in Brooklyn’s historic Coney Island neighborhood.
Shmaltz offerings are available in over 25 states through over 30 wholesalers at more than 1500 retail specialty shops across the U.S. including Beverages & More, Whole Foods, Total Wine, select Krogers, and Cost Plus.
Shmaltz Brewing beers have appeared in such distinguished media outlets as The New York Times, CNN Headline News, The Onion, Beer Advocate Magazine, Celebrator Beer News, Ale Street News, The Today Show, Bravo, NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” New York Magazine, Newsweek, Elle, SELF, Men’s Health, BUST, Playboy, Associated Press, Reuters, MSNBC, San Francisco Magazine, The Jerusalem Report, New York Jewish Week, Washington Post, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, MAXIM.com, Forbes.com, Smartmoney.com, Entrepreneur.com, and Epicurious.com.