You may remember that Tim Roberts of Yards Brewing Company came in to brew a collaboration with me last month. Don Russel, better known as “Joe Sixpack” came in and hung out with Tim and I on the brew day and his article on it just came out today. (By the way, I stole the below photo from him).
There’s lots of history in this beer and the system it was brewed on, both from the past couple of decades and the past couple centuries. Tim and I first met at the original Dock St Brewery & Restaurant more than 15 years ago. Both of us were waiters sharing the dream of becoming professional brewers. Tim took my job as the assistant brewer when I gave my notice to become the head brewer at the “future” Red Bell Brewpub in the Reading Terminal Market. Things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. Red Bell built the brewpub but failed to open it and it wound up in the hands of a bank. That sent me up to Harpoon Brewery in Boston to continue my career. Months later Dock St bought the facility from the bank and renamed it Independance Brewpub, and Tim got his own head brewer’s gig. Tim would often joke about how he’d stolen my job and brewery. Despite the ribbing we remained friends. I even brewed a couple of batches on his (what should have been my) system for him while he was on his honeymoon. Years later I got to return the ribbing when Independance went out of business and Iron Hill bought the used equipment. Ironically enough that equipment wound up in Maple Shade. It took a while, but I finally got the system I had been promised by Red Bell 11 years earlier.
So last month Tim finally got around to spending a day with me brewing on his old system. We decided that we should brew a recipe unique to Dock Street in the early days of our careers. We settled on the original Thomas Jefferson recipe as brewed at Dock Street’s original location on 2 Logan Square. TJ was a “colonial” ale meant to replicate the type of beer made by Thomas Jefferson’s brewery on Monticello. It was based on research, purchase orders and Jefferson’s brewing notes. At some point Dock St stopped brewing TJ and Yards began brewing their version. The current version Yards brews is a different recipe all together, but is also the result of lots of research of colonial beers.
So 2 Logan TJ is just about ready. It’s a strong, dark unfiltered ale brewed with wheat and aged on oak chips. (Most beers were packaged in wooden barrels in those days). We’ll be tapping it next Wednesday at 5:30 pm along with some other treats from Yards and a collaborative black & tan firkin (complete list below). Tim and I will be here drinking and talking about beer. Please join us!
Yard’s Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale
Golden ale with dried fruit and toffee aromas inspired by Jefferson’s original recipe that called for wheat, honey, and rye from his Virginia estate. 8% abv
A special nitrogenated version made just for us! Boasting superior taste and champion flavor, Brawler is crafted in the style of English session ales. This malt-forward, ruby colored ale features flavors of freshly baked bread and caramel that dominate the aroma and palate. One of my favorites. 4.2% abv
Yards of Iron
A Black & Tan blend of Yard’s Love Stout and Iron Hill’s Carranza IPA dry-hopped and naturally carbonated in the cask.
2 Logan TJ
A recreation of a beer Jefferson would have had brewed at Monticello two hundred years ago. Deep reddish-brown, rich and very full-bodied, with a hint of toffee and a complex, malty finish. Raise a glass to your independence! (9.0% abv)