Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Video: We tried Spilled Grain's historical ale that'll bring you back to 1776

Have you ever wondered what the beer George Washington drank tasted like?

Have you ever wondered what the beer George Washington enjoyed tasted like?

Well, Spilled Grain Brewhouse has brewed up a batch of its Colonial Ale, a historical ale that uses ingredients the founding fathers would have used to make their beer, like corn and molasses, as well as English barley, hops and yeast.

We stopped by the brewery to try the beer, which is 6.2 percent alcohol and has 26 IBUs. You can watch our review above.

Colonial Ale isn't really like anything we've ever tried before, and doesn't fit into a contemporary style of beer (if you had to pick one, it's in between a brown ale and an old ale, brewer Jacob Schnabel said). It's a very dark-colored beer, but it tastes very light, smooth and refreshing – perfect for this time of year.

We both (Josette and Melissa) gave the beer a 3 out of five – it's something we'd definitely want to drink again (see our rating system here), but probably not every day.

If you want to try the Colonial Ale, get to Spilled Grain's taproom in Annandale soon. Schnabel only brewed a single batch of it, and last year – the first year he brewed the beer – "it went like wildfire."

You'll be able to buy it on tap, in to-go growlers and crowlers. And if you miss out, Schnabel says it'll be back next year.

How'd he come up with the beer?

Spilled Grain Brewhouse is located in Annandale – home to the longest-running Fourth of July celebration in Minnesota (this is the 128th straight year), which attracts thousands of people every year.

That was Schnabel's inspiration for the beer. He wanted to brew something to celebrate the event, and when you think of the Fourth of July, you think of 1776 – so why not make a beer that tastes like what people would have had back then?

Schnabel, who enjoys the challenge of brewing to style, did a lot of research to figure out what people in the 1770s would have used to make beer. So he brewed the beer based on the ingredients they used, without a specific style or flavor in mind.

To make the beer, Schnabel used specialty grains that would best mimic the under-modified, more rustic malts that people would have used 250 years ago. He also used corn and molasses in the beer, because those are ingredients that would have been easily available to people in colonial America.

"This was a little bit of a different challenge for me. I had to let go of my OCD for a little bit and just kind of let 'er fly," Schnabel said with a laugh. "It was a lot of fun to see what came out the other side."

The beer has flavors of toffee, toast and burnt marshmallow, and is on the sweeter side (not bitter), which people would have liked back then, Schnabel said.

But he admits that the Colonial Ale is probably "no where close to what they actually drank" in the 1770s because of the modern brewing practices he uses and the control he has, noting "we didn't just throw those out the window, obviously, brewing this."

Next Up

Chris Finch

Hawks bury Timberwolves in 3-point barrage

Without D'Angelo Russell, the Wolves couldn't keep up with the Hawks.

P.J. Fleck, Gophers football

Kirk Ciarocca returning to Gophers as offensive coordinator

The architect of the 2019 offense will look to revive the Gophers.

Klobuchar - MTP - NBC screengrab

Klobuchar says Congress should pass law to protect abortion rights

Her comments came as the Supreme Court appears poised to weaken — or gut — Roe v. Wade

MPD missing Heard - crop 1_

Police ask for public's help finding Mpls. woman missing a week

The 36-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from recently.

unsplash cold winter breath dark

Hello, winter: List of the coldest wind chills in MN Monday morning

The state went from a relatively mild start of the season, to downright frigid wind chills.

deer

1 CWD-positive deer in Brainerd Lakes area, so surveillance will continue

The CWD monitoring measures were supposed to end after this year.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

MN program will train, hire 1,000 nursing assistants for long-term care

The facilities are facing a severe staffing shortage.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

Minnesota State Fair reestablishes a police department

The fair had been contracting with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.

_DSC0318

Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

Related

Video: We tried – and rated – 38 summer beers

We drank all these beers so now you don't have to.

Video: We tried Gluek's, a 160-year-old beer that's making a comeback

"It tastes like beer." – an astute review from one of our producers.

4 questions: A flight with Spilled Grain Brewhouse 🍻

Get to know the brewer behind Annandale's Spilled Grain Brewhouse.