ST ALBANS — It’s safe to say 14th Star Brewery Company’s latest creation for the St. Albans Raid 150th Anniversary celebration tastes a lot better than the beer made during the Civil War era.
Using ingredients used frequently in the mid-1800s, including molasses and spices, 14th Star will release its newest brew, ‘The Raider,’ created by brewmaster and Franklin native Dan Sartwell.
The amber ale, which has the subtle taste of gingerbread cookies, will be available at St. Albans restaurants and at the brewery this weekend.
Sartwell, who was named head brewmaster last week by brewery founder Steve Gagner, looked up beer recipes from the Civil War era, then used many of those flavors to make the popular local brewery’s newest creation from scratch.
“We knew we wanted to do something light-bodied that was approachable to the people of St. Albans. And I just thought of looking up some recipes from that time and put something together,” Sartwell said.
In the 1800s, before accurate temperature controls and carefully managed yeasts, beers often had unpredictable fermentation with low alcohol content. The 4.9 percent Raider was brewed much more cleanly.
“A beer of that time period would have had some strange flavors compared to the cleaner, more refined beers of today,” Sartwell said.
The beermaker has brewed about 200 gallons of The Raider, available at most restaurants in downtown St. Albans, including 84 Main, Jeff’s Seafood, One Federal and Twiggs. It goes out to the restaurants Thursday, Sartwell said.
In addition to the big event this weekend downtown, the turn toward fall weather also compliments the beer’s molasses flavor.
Sartwell described The Raider as “almost like a spiced cookie.”
With plenty of thirsty visitors this weekend, 14th Star hopes the Raider is received well at local restaurants.
“I think it should be,” Sartwell said. “It is not overly big. It doesn’t have any crazy characteristics to it that are going to put people off. It’s approachable.”
By Joel Lehman
St. Albans Messenger