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When the first Pilgrims from the Mayflower set foot in Massachusetts on December 19, 1620, the first native to speak to them was Samoset. (He had rudimentary knowledge of the English language from years of dealing with earlier English fisherman who fished the waters off the coast. He also learned that he really liked what those fishermen drank, which was beer.) His first question to the Mayflower crew was “Did you bring brew?” (or something like that). The Mayflower was void of all beer, which was the reason they set anchor at Plymouth Rock. In the ship’s log, it was written: “We could not now take time for further search or consideration, our victuals being much spent, especially our beer.”

New England wasn’t the only place that suffered from an early beer crisis. The earlier Jamestown, Virginia English colony was shaken to the core when it became evident that there was no one in their midst who knew how to make beer! They actually placed ads in London newspapers for brewers, begging them to join their company.

The first actual brewery set up in the New World was established in New Amsterdam, which later became known as New York. The Dutch colonists were mass producing beer there by 1612.

Until Martha, the wife of President Thomas Jeffer-son, died, she brewed about 8 gallons of beer every week. After her death in 1782, beer was not made at Monticello for thirty years. In 1813, the former president persuaded Captain Joseph Miller, a British brewmaster stranded here by the War of 1812, to teach the art of brewing to Peter Hemings, a slave. Once trained, Hemings slaved to make 100 gallons of ale every spring and fall. (And all you have to do is order yours from your favorite Beer of the Month Club!)

“BEER, IF DRUNK IN MODERATION, SOFTENS THE TEMPER, CHEERS THE SPIRIT, AND PROMOTES HEALTH.” Thomas Jefferson 3rd U.S. President (1743-1826)

ASK MR. BEERHEAD: MANUEL SVOBODA OF MOONVILLE, OHIO ASKED: “SOME DAYS I’D MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH FOR A CRAFT BREWED BEER. ANY LINK BETWEEN BEER AND OUTER SPACE?” Two things I know for sure:

Number 1: There is a solid link to beer and the Moon. Wilhelm Wolff Beer (1797-1850) produced the first exact map of the Moon between 1834 and 1836. The Moon’s Beer Crater is named in his honor.

Number 2:  NO extraterrestrials have returned to their planets and not embarked on a return visit back to Earth. They simply cannot get craft beer anywhere that’s better than what is available from your favorite Beer of the Month Club!

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Tracie Burket
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