Skip to main content

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

Gov. Tim Walz and Scott Jensen.

Walz, Jensen clash over 'extreme' abortion views

The two clashed over the topic on Tuesday, following the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 12.24.27 PM

Movie filming brings memorable day for MN teen with leukemia

Ayotzin Limon-Millard was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last year.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 1.25.30 PM

Police trying to ID 'Playboy bandit' and 'no-pants raider' suspect

Police are calling the unidentified man "the Playboy bandit" and the "no-pants raider."

storm, severe, shelf cloud

Twin Cities under severe thunderstorm watch Tuesday afternoon

Large hail and damaging winds are the main threats.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 9.27.30 AM

Famous Dave's family brings new BBQ biz to the south metro

The newest Twin Cities location is the first to offer wine slushies on the menu.

storm, shelf cloud, severe weather

Large hail possible with strong storms in eastern MN, WI

Watch the forecast update with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

Tony Evers, Wisconsin governor

WI governor vows to protect anyone charged with abortion crimes

“You think it’s bad now? The four Republicans that are going after me, one of them we’re going to beat, they are going to make it worse," Evers said.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, June 28

The state will stop providing daily updates and move to weekly editions beginning Thursday, June 30.

FWV_YSOWAAI_CS-

Sports anchor Hobie Artigue announces FOX9 departure

Artigue has spent the past seven years covering Minnesota sports.

hennepin county medical center

Boy, 7, dies after being pulled from pool in south Minneapolis

The boy was pulled from a pool at a home in south Minneapolis.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 8.32.18 AM

Nashville man leaving wedding shot in the face in Minneapolis

He was leaving a wedding when gunfire erupted near the Stone Arch Bridge Saturday night.

image

Abogados Café in St. Paul is the first law-themed coffee shop in America

The new business is Minnesota's first Latina-owned coffee shop.

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.