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New York Public Library re-creates historic beer

Publishing & Media

There are many ways the New York Public Library could have chosen to celebrate the 100th birthday of its landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street, but it’s a fairly safe bet that few would have been as innovative and engaging as the one it ultimately chose. Rather than simply handing out T-shirts or holding a standard press event, the library partnered with Coney Island Brewing Company to create a beer based on George Washington’s own, personal recipe, which can be found in the Library’s extensive collections. “To Make Small Beer,” begins Washington’s recipe, “take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste. Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses (sic) into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot.” The recipe goes on to outline the detailed steps involved in making Washington’s personal brew, and it was this the NYPL and CIBC used to create a very limited quantity of “Fortitude’s Founding Father Brew.” The recipe sits along with Washington’s Farewell Address and other items belonging to him and his family in the Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Division. Tastings of the beer were offered at the Library’s Centennial gala on May 23 — exactly 100 years after “The People’s Palace” opened in 1911. Whether it’s a public job contest, a crowdsourced doughnut or a pop-up treehouse restaurant, innovative options abound when it comes to celebrating special events and achieving promotional goals. Be inspired! Spotted by: Katherine Noyes




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