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Beer war heats up at Maumee Bay

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    Alicia Weiss draws a pint of the Old Siege Lifter Honey Brown at the Maumee Bay Brewing Co. The ale, which uses locally sourced honey, has an alcohol by volume content of 5.2 percent

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    King's Shilling Pale Ale and Old Siege Lifter Honey Brown are now on tap at Maumee Bay Brewing. The beers are not filtered, to stay true to the beer from the 1812 period.

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beer-maumee

King's Shilling Pale Ale and Old Siege Lifter Honey Brown are now on tap at Maumee Bay Brewing. The beers are not filtered, to stay true to the beer from the 1812 period.

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Getting some friction for your night at the bar? Just tell your spouse you were doing "historical research."

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the team at Mamuee Bay Brewing Co. has re-created two period beers — one English style, one American style.

If your allegiances fall to king and crown, try the King's Shilling Pale Ale.

A big Francis Scott Key fan? Order up the Old Siege Lifter Honey Brown. Both recently came on tap at the Maumee Bay Brew Pub in the Oliver House.

Neal Kovacik, general manager at Oliver House, said the brewery was contacted by folks at Fort Meigs Historical Site looking for a creative way to recognize the conflict, which officially began June 18, 1812, when the United States declared war on Great Britain.

With input from the historical society, Mamuee Bay's brewers did some research and decided on the two popular styles of beer from the early 1800s.

"We think they're pretty darn close," Mr. Kovacik said. "We tried to stay true to the beer of the period through the brewing process and not filtering, using the same ingredients we could get today. Our brewers have done a lot of research, and we think they're pretty representative of what they drank then."

The pale ale uses malt hops from the United Kingdom, while the honey brown features locally sourced honey.

"Essentially it's a fun way of refighting the War of 1812 by seeing which style of beer is more popular," Mr. Kovacik said.

The brewery rolled out the two beers to a tasting of the Fort Meigs board, which includes Oliver House owner Pat Appold. It also held a tasting at Fort Meigs itself, which was established on the south banks of the Maumee River in February, 1813. The fort withstood a nine-day siege by the British and staved off a second siege attempt before being dismantled after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's decisive victory over the British Navy in Lake Erie.

ale-1800-oliver-house

Alicia Weiss draws a pint of the Old Siege Lifter Honey Brown at the Maumee Bay Brewing Co. The ale, which uses locally sourced honey, has an alcohol by volume content of 5.2 percent

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Jon Koester, head brewer at Mamuee Bay, said beer making hasn't really changed much in the last 200 years.

"Outside of the malt being highly modified now, it's pretty much the same process as they did back then," he said.

Mr. Koester said he and assistant brewer Clint McLaughlin tried to faithfully re-create the beers of yore while trying to appeal to beer drinkers of today. He thinks they got it right.

"Everybody's talking about how great they are," he said. "They're not anything unusual or crazy. Just like back then, the beers are unfiltered. They really have a lot of body and flavor to them."

For now, the beers are only available at the brew pub, though they are to be rolled out to other bars that serve Mamuee Bay's products in the coming weeks. It will not be available in bottles.

Whether you want to fly the Star Spangled Banner or the Union Jack, you'll pay $4 a pint or $10 for a pitcher of either beer. King's Shilling is slightly more potent, with a 5.6 percent alcohol by volume. Siege Lifter is 5.2 percent alcohol by volume.

The War of 1812 officially came to an end in February, 1815, after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which stopped the fighting more than it did declare a winner.

The beer war, too, seems to be at a standstill.

"I have to tell you, it's kind of a toss-up," Mr. Kovacik said after a chuckle. "Every time we have a tasting, they drink all of both of them."

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.

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