Beer drinkers, did you know:

  • that, in 1805, Lewis and Clark, before pivoting and heading back east, spent their first winter on the Oregon Coast, trying to shield themselves from the unforgiving elements in what’s come to be known as the Cape of Disappointment?
  • or that, beginning in 1844 and ending in 1849, Clatsop Country, home to the historic city of Astoria and the Cape of Disappointment, was dry?
  • or that in the modern days of temperance, and just two years before the federal enactment of Prohibition, Clatsop County’s community leaders “narrowly” voted to keep Clatsop County a wet one?
  • or that in 2011, 200 years after Astoria’s official founding, Fort George Brewery‘s 1811: Pre-Prohibition Lager was named the city’s official bicentennial beer?

If you didn’t, don’t don’t sweat it. When slippery trivia eludes you, you don’t necessarily need a smartphone to aid you. Sometimes all you need is a beer.

That’s because the folks at Astoria’s Fort George Brewing drop all of this historical science at once, imprinting it on every lager can.

But what makes the 1811 so spectacular isn’t necessarily the impromptu history lesson (it sure is nice, though), or that it pairs really well with all things barbecue (it does!), but that the brew is crafted using old, historical, regional methods that the early European pioneers used to use when brewing their own beer.

Comprised of two-row malted barley, cracked maize and lager yeasts brewed at unusually high temperatures, the 1811 tastes an awful lot like the beer your grandfather’s grandfather would’ve enjoyed after a day of bartering at the trading post.

Crisp, light in color and served in 16-ounce cans (which we then tuck into a colorful Smokehouse 21 Koozie), the 1811 is, despite its 30 IBUs, a moderately bitter beer for lager. But not, of course, too bitter. And at a reasonable 5.1 percent ABV, it’s neither too strong, nor too weak. In it’s own way, it might just be the perfect craft beer to sip (or chug, if you must) while washing down your barbecued Half-Chicken or your Texan Hot Link Sausages.

Try one. And raise your can and say, “Cheers!” to the pioneers!

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