A Beer for Ben

Benjamin Franklin Descendents Help Select Commemorative Beer

Two award-winning brewers with ancestral ties to Benjamin Franklin joined with a member of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Commission and others last week to select a recipe for Poor Richard’s Ale—a beer for Americans nationwide to hoist in January to celebrate the 300th birthday of that famous first American.

The winning entry in the competition was brewed by Tony Simmons of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. His recipe for an Old Ale included both molasses and flaked corn—two ingredients that the judges deemed to be likely ingredients of a Franklin-era ale.

“The judges were looking for a beer that resembled one Franklin might have enjoyed,” said Ray Daniels, Director of Craft Beer Marketing for the Brewers Association. “The winning recipe will be shared with breweries nationwide so that it can be available in every community.” (For the full details of Simmons’ entry, you can contact Ray Daniels at [email]ray@brewersassociation.org[/email]).

The winning recipe will be dubbed “Poor Richard’s Ale” and this recipe competition is the first part of a program to help celebrate the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth in January 2006 with a special beer. Starting next week, the recipe will be distributed to breweries around the nation and they will be encouraged to brew their own version of the recipe to be available to consumers at the time of the celebration.

Five Brewers Association members answered the call for entries in the recipe competition and their beers, plus descriptive information about the recipe and its ingredients were reviewed by a panel of five judges. The judging included a great deal of discussion between the brewers and the judges. The judges include:

Nicola Twilly, Programs Director for the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary.

William Brand, Oakland Tribune Staff Writer who writes “What’s On Tap,” a beer and cider column in the Oakland Tribune.

Steve Bradt, Brewmaster at Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence, Kansas and a member of the Brewers Association Board of Directors

John Mallett, Production Manager of Kalamazoo Brewing Co., Kalamazoo, MI

John Harris, Brewmaster at Full Sail River Place, Portland, OR.

Both Harris and Mallett are past winners of the Brewers Association’s Russell Scherer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing—and exclusive award given to one brewer each year. Both also believe Franklin to be a distant relative in their family tree.

The judging took place between 5 and 6:30 pm September 28th in the Presidential Dining Room of Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th Street (at Wynkoop) in Denver.

The Poor Richard’s Ale program has been undertaken by the Brewers Association in cooperation with the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, a private, non-profit alliance established to mark the three-hundred-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth. For more information, see www.Franklin300.com.

In addition to playing a key role in founding America, Franklin is credited with the oft-quoted phrase “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” That makes beer the logical beverage with which to toast this major anniversary of Franklin’s birth.

The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary is a private, non-profit alliance established to mark the three-hundred-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth (1706-2006) with a celebration dedicated to educating the public about Franklin’s enduring legacy and inspiring renewed appreciation of the values he embodied. The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary represents a consortium created in 2000 by the American Philosophical Society, The Franklin Institute, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the University of Pennsylvania. The consortium is supported by a $4 million gift to the nation from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Tercentenary’s projects will form the official national celebration for America’s first founding father to reach 300.

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