There is a lot of talk these days about our founding fathers, nobody seems to focus on their beer habits, however.  Today on Beer Notes, we are going to discuss just what Thomas Jefferson thought of beer and how it is relevant today.

“At Monticello, beer was a “table liquor” served during dinner, and Jefferson’s earliest designs for his plantation included spaces for brewing and the storage of beer.”  So begins an article on the website, monticello.org, the online home for information and research about our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson and his Virginia home.  Jefferson was a known scholar and brewer, it appears. He used malt purchased from his neighbor, William Meriwether and hops bought locally. In 1805, he purchased the book, The Theory and Practice of Brewing by Michael Combrune which “introduced the use of a thermometer for malting and brewing practices.”  Jefferson even planted hops in his garden at home.

Beer was popular in Colonial America and readily accessible – from home brewed, to pub brewed, to local breweries and even imported.  Today, craft beer has become just as ubiquitous. The intelligence, curiosity, and preference for beer defines another of America’s presidents, Barack Obama.  He wanted an official White House beer and you can watch the brewing process for the White House honey ale and honey porter on the Telegraph’s YouTube page.  

Beer may have played a role in some of the weighty discussions of our Founding Fathers. Who knows what discussions were had or plans hatched over the homebrews of Jefferson and even George Washington.  Does it play a role today? Perhaps it should.  

Jessica Bauer
Author: Jessica Bauer

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