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New Albion Ale lives again thanks to Sam Adams

23 Oct

Heroes come in many forms; some are of the super variety and fly around in brightly colored tights, while others quietly sit back and humbly accept their place in history. Jack McAuliffe is one of those quiet heroes.

In 1976 McAuliffe founded what is widely acknowledged as the first microbrewery in the modern era of brewing in the United States. His New Albion Brewing Company is now defunct, but his legacy, influence, and beer lives on. That he is remembered is thanks to another great pioneer in the American brewing industry Jim Koch.

On Friday, October 12, in Denver Colo., during the Great American Beer Festival, Koch and his Boston Beer Company immortalized McAuliffe at a brunch and ceremony in his honor. In his opening statements, Koch talked about the pioneering spirit displayed by McAuliffe; how McAuliffe overcame towering odds to take his brewery from the garage to Sonoma where it was christened New Albion after the name Sir Francis Drake first called the San Francisco Bay area.

Even though the New Albion Brewery eventually fell victim to a lack of expansion space and funding and eventually died an untimely death, McAuliffe left a lasting imprint on the microbrewing movement that picked up steam in the early 1980s and continues today. His brewery proved that a microbrewing facility could be built and operated and that the beer made there was of higher quality than the macro-lagers that were flooding the market.

In his typical fashion, the aging McAuliffe remained soft-spoken and humble to the praise lavished on him by Koch. During his talk at the brunch he thanked Koch and his company for the recognition and urged everyone to continue in his footsteps to continually innovate and keep the craft beer movement’s forward momentum going.

The brunch ended with the announcement that Boston Beer Company had reproduced New Albion’s brew from yeast strains kept and cultivated by the University of California at Davis of the McAuliffe’s strain. Attendees were encouraged to raise a glass of the resurrected brew to toast McAuliffe’s achievements and get a taste of the beer that started it all.

McAuliffe’s brew, New Albion Ale, will be available from Samuel Adams beginning in January 2013.

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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Beer, Beer News, Craft Beer Brewery

 

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