Named “Jane’s Percimon Beer,” it contains water, American persimmons, and hops, and it is fermented with yeast. The original recipe was found in the Viriginia Historical Society’s collection of books from the 1700s. The collection includes cookbooks and books filled with medicinal remedies; the beer recipe was scribbled on a cookbook belonging to Richmond’s prominent Reynolds family.
Unlike the extremely detailed instructions that are included in modern-day brewing recipes, the recipe for Jane’s Percimon Beer included just a few short instructions on ingredients and timing. The first trial run using about 17 pounds of persimmons yielded only three gallons of beer. But Ardent Craft Ale co-owner Tom Sullivan says, “With a lot of these recipes, the real fun of it is trying to figure out where the little pieces of wisdom hid in the recipes.”
The concoction is peach colored and has a touch of sweetness and tangerine-like notes from the inclusion of persimmons. The English Golding hops provide a touch of spiciness. The beer clocks in at 3% ABV, which would be pretty typical of alcoholic beverages of the time that were enjoyed with many meals.
Co-owner of Ardent Craft Ales, Kevin O’Leary, takes a sample of Persimmon beer at the facility in Richmond, VA. (Photo: AP)
Virginia has a rich beer history: archaeologists recently uncovered the remains of what looks like an 18th-century brewery on the campus of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. Earlier this year, beer caves built in 1866 along the James River in Richmond were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ardent Craft Ales Brewery hopes to experiment with other beer recipes found in the volumes of the Virginia Historical Society Collection.
“You can feel a connection across time when you’re drinking something that maybe hasn’t been drunk for a couple hundred years,” Paul Levengood, president and CEO of the Virginia Historical Society, told the Associated Press, ”It’s a fun way to bring the past into the present.”
[via ABC News]