Champion Collaborates on Beer to Celebrate Enslaved Brewer Hemings

Champion Brewing Company and Good Beer Hunting have collaborated to create Intelligence and Diligence, a beer to celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s enslaved brewer, Peter Hemings.

“Missing Ingredients — The (Incomplete) Story of Thomas Jefferson’s Unsung Brewer,” by scholar and homebrewer J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, Ph.D., tells the story of Jefferson’s brew master Peter Hemings. Good Beer Hunting and Jackson-Beckham collaborated with Champion Brewing in Charlottesville the site of Heming’s enslavement, and Jefferson’s home at Monticello, to approximate a beer that just might evoke Hemings’ own.

“Jefferson’s records reveal that barley was not grown on either of his properties, and what recipes for beer have been recorded feature wheat-dominant grists. I imagined the cloudy, aggressively hopped beer that Hemings may have ‘spoiled,’ and wondered if perhaps he was a visionary, brewing 200 years ahead of his time,” wrote Jackson-Beckham.

“The Intelligence and Diligence brew represents another way Monticello and Charlottesville are making efforts to better understand the past and reconcile that with present realities,” said Hunter Smith, president of Champion. “We’re excited for our community to try this historic brew.”

Champion Brewing will celebrate the release of Intelligence and Diligence at a special event at 5 p.m. on February 22 at the Charlottesville Tap Room (324 Sixth Street SE).

“This event is a chance for us to celebrate an unsung brewer, raise a glass in his honor, and consider his role in Colonial brewing history as a noteworthy and exploited person possessing both intelligence and diligence,” said Good Beer Hunting’s Founder and Creative Director Michael Kiser. Printed copies of Jackson-Beckham’s article, a special release glass for the first 50 guests, and other mementos will be available at the release. The event is free to attend and open to the public.

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