Friday, February 22, 2008

George Washington: Supporting Local Brewers

As we've heard on our radios since President's Day, today is George Washington's birthday (thanks NPR). I'm not a great student of my own country's history, and I'm actually a bit ashamed of that fact, but I'm trying. I do love biographies and with the help of the vast array of tubes on our internets, I get to pretend often like I know more than I really do. Take for example my thought for the day.

I have known for some time that Washington was a brewer and general beer enthusiast, at the time is seemed the norm for families to make beer at home for their own consumption. In addition, small breweries were popping up and their beers being served in local taverns. I have an assumption that the beers made locally must have been 'better' in flavor if only because the long journey barrels of beer had to take from Europe to get here. At a time when we, as a country, were setting to make our own identity, one apart from the places we came from, there was more than a fair share of pride taken in consuming products made here.
"We have already been too long subject to British prejudices. I use no porter or cheese in my family, but such as is made in America; both these articles may now be purchased of an excellent quality." - George Washington
I love that quote. In fact, my good friend Mark, the Beer Geek, could just have easily said this on his own yesterday, with more than a ring of truth.

So, perhaps today, in honor of the man we love to celebrate, we should take his words to heart and enjoy a great American made artisan cheese and craft beer. Sure, we can appreciate the history of the product, it's roots from across the pond, but it's also a good time to reflect on just how freaking good we have it today - we, being the lovers of great food, wine and beer.