George Washington, Brewer Patriot

 (From the Notes for Bibliophiles blog)

Apparently Sam Adams doesn't have a lock on the "Brewer Patriot" title. George Washington has been in the news recently, thanks to a joint effort between the Schmalz Brewing Co. and the New York Public Library to recreate a beer brewed and consumed by the first president himself. The recipe is preserved in a 1757 notebook kept by the future founding father and now held by the NYPL (you can view the recipe online and try brewing some of your own).

Lest Washington's beverage preferences be too hastily assigned, here's an item from our Daniel Berkeley Updike Autographs collection that shows the commander in chief was as fond of the grape as he was of the grain:

The manuscript is a receipt for a pipe of wine (that's 2 hogsheads, or 126 gallons) received at Fishkill Landing near West Point on the 8th of September, 1779. The wine was intended "for his Excellency General Washington," and according to the notation at the bottom of the manuscript, it was delivered to Washington's headquarters the next day and signed for by Col. Caleb Gibbs. Gibbs, a Newport native, was the captain of the Commander in Chief's Guards (essentially, Washington's bodyguards, a sort of proto-Secret Service plus housekeeping staff). Gibbs and Washington seem to have  had a significant disagreement at about this time. Hopefully it didn't involve the wine.


jgoffin's picture
Jordan Goffin

Special Collections Librarian Jordan Goffin has been mining the wonders in the Library’s Special Collections since early 2011. If you’d like to stop in and spend some time with the historic and noteworthy books, manuscripts and ephemera at PPL, contact him by email at or by phone at 401.455.8021. Also, visit the Notes for Bibliophiles blog ( to read more about the exciting materials in Special Collections and to keep up with events and announcements.


Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options