In heaven, they have no beer (as the song goes), so that’s why they drink it in Mount Airy.
A collaboration between professional and amateur brewers is yielding a kind of beer that has never existed before. They do it for good taste and a good cause.
The members of the Cliveden Brewers Guild meet at the historic Cliveden House in Germantown every other week. There they share quaffs and secrets of the alchemy of malt, hops and spring water. A quintessential BYOB, they bring samples of imaginative concoctions they have brewed in 5-gallon drums in their garages and basements.
Cliveden’s curator of history and fermentation, Phil Seitz, says the group received a proposition it couldn’t refuse:
“Earth Bread and Brewery came to us and invited us to make a beer with them, which is every homebrewer’s dream,” he said.
Earth Bread and Brewery is down the road from Cliveden. Every week, owner Tom Baker produces 220 gallons of beer: big enough to satisfy the customers of his wood-oven pizza shop on Germantown Avenue, small enough that he can do pretty much whatever he wants. He admits that sometimes he can go the safe route and brew popular varieties.
“When you find people passionate about the process and trying to make something different than the store, you get the experimental juices going,” says Baker, who wants to continue collaborating with amateurs. “Sometimes, as a professional brewer, you forget that. It’s good to have a homebrewer come in and say, try this.”
The collaborative brew, called Cuvee de Cliveden, is a dark Belgian ale with hints of chocolate and raisin. It will debut at Earth Bread and Brewery on Thursday, Jan. 13, served in customized, souvenir glasses. A portion of the sales will go toward funding historic programs at Cliveden House.
The beer will be available until the tap runs dry — about three weeks.