In the summer of 2015, I decided to combine my passion for brewing, my fascination with history and my love of family by brewing a beer in honor of one of my ancestors. You see, for several years now, my family and I have been researching our ancestry, something I encourage you all to pursue if you’re interested in your “roots.” What we discovered was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Through our research, we learned that many of our ancestors participated and even helped shape some of most pivotal events in American history. I’ve never considered myself overly patriotic, but I confess I was inspired by these stories. To get in touch with my Irish roots, I traveled to Ireland in 2013 and absolutely fell in love with the country, so much so, that when I returned I came up with a beer recipe in tribute of my great, great grandfather, Patrick Athanasius Dwyer, an Irish immigrant who fought in the Civil War.
Two years later, I collaborated with Factotum Brewhouse in Denver, CO to develop “Dwyer’s Ire,” a vintage-style Irish red ale named after Patrick Dwyer. Not only did I get my 15 minutes of brewing fame, but three months later, the owners of Factotum, Chris and Laura Bruns, chose Dwyer’s Ire to represent their brewery at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. For any home brewer, entering a beer into the GABF is like a dream come true. It’s the Super Bowl of beer festivals. And of course, you can’t have a Super Bowl without a tailgate party. So, like any beer-loving fanatic, I promoted the hell out of it. I sent out press releases, created an official logo, made t-shirts and engaged in every form of shameless self-promotion I could. I even had friends from out of state fly into town just to support me (although I suspect those heathens wanted to drink a lot of beer too. I don’t think they would have been nearly as excited if I was in a Macrame competition. )
But do you think I was satisfied with that? Do you think I was fresh out of ideas? Do you think Donald Trump has great hair. HELL NO! So, in December I decided to brew a second beer in honor of my Scottish ancestors, the Bliss family. As direct descendants of the original Mayflower settlers, the Blisses have roots dating back to the colonial days. In fact, two of my ancestors, John and William Bliss, fought in the Revolutionary War for Knowlton’s Rangers, America’s first ever special forces unit. This regiment is credited for helping General George Washington gain his first victory over the British at the Battle of Harlem Heights. Kind of a big moment in American history, don’t you think? As a fitting tribute to the Bliss line, I created Pure Bliss Scottish Maple Porter, a beer brewed in the colonial American tradition. The inaugural release of Pure Bliss will be tomorrow, January 20th, 2017, on Inauguration Day. I’m sure even Donald Trump would like to get his tiny hands on a pint if he could, but unfortunately you’ll have to be in Denver to get your first taste. No matter what your political affiliations may be, I can’t think of any better way to celebrate and/or commiserate Inauguration Day than with a pint of Pure Bliss. Believe me, your rebellious forefathers would approve.