Saturday, November 04, 2006

Porter, Lewis & Clark, and powerful thirsts.

The New Albanian Brewing Company had a minor role in the weekend’s Lewis & Clark festivities in Clarksville.

A lesson on Lewis & Clark; Clarksville park dedication is tomorrow, by Ben Zion Hershberg (The Courier-Journal):

The celebration of the 200th anniversary of the return of Lewis and Clark after their groundbreaking exploration of the West began yesterday as more than 300 students visited the Clarksville riverfront where it all began.

I was contacted some time back by Jim Keith and asked to supply roughly a keg’s worth of beer for today’s “brew and barbecue” gathering of living history participants.

We kegged five gallons of Bob’s Old 15-B Porter in a used wooden pin from the JW Lees brewery. You may have helped to drain the Port- or Calvados-infused Vintage Harvest Ale that originally came in it during a Gravity Head fest at Rich O’s. We had deemed the Porter to be the most authentic period ale, as the era of Lewis & Clark obviously predated the arrival of German immigrants and their lager brewing techniques.

Of course, the best choice of all would have been Old Lightning Rod, the Benjamin Franklin tercentenary ale brewed by NABC and released last January, but none remained, and the 2007 release has yet to be brewed. In addition to the pin, I delivered a quarter-barrel of Porter with conventional hand pump, reasoning that the wooden barrel would be the best choice for photo ops and the stainless steel keg could be hidden behind a keg of straw.

Unfortunately, our wooden taps were all leaky, so I had to use plastic. It’s the thought that counts. It’s always entertaining to ram the tap home with a rubber mallet, especially for people who’ve not seen it done.

After I left the waterfront, there was a phone call from an event organizer. It had been decided to expand the availability of beer to more than the imagined inner circle, so could we come up with two more kegs? Porter probably wouldn’t be possible, I replied, but it soon became evident that choice was less important than the looming necessity of having a beer for 250 more people than originally planned.

It wasn’t a problem. I returned to the brewery and scrounged a keg each of Homecoming Common and St. Radegund, met the vehicle sent to make the pickup, and dispatched the barrels toward the festivities.

With luck, there was enough for the thirsty explorers.

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