San Francisco, CA - Great things often have small beginnings, and in true Dickensian fashion 21st Amendment Brewery’s Imperial Jack is no exception. This plot weaves around the friendship between a brewer and a pub regular, a homebrew collaboration, a kindly English grandfather and a final act that culminates in the winning of a gold medal.
Imperial Jack proves that some of the best stories are created over a cup o’ ale and a good meal. That’s just what happened over the course of numerous 21st Amendment Brewery lunch break visits by English homebrewer Richard Brewer-Hay who struck up a friendship with 21A co-founder and Brewmaster, Shaun O’Sullivan. At his homebrew headquarters, Elizabeth Street Brewery, Richard had been brewing an ESB (Extra Special Bitter Ale) named “Grandpa Jack” in honor of his late grandfather, Jack Newbould. Eventually Richard and Shaun decided to collaborate on a stronger version of “Grandpa Jack” at 21st Amendment – and this time named it “Imperial Jack”. In 2010, they entered it in the international World Beer Cup competition- and it won a gold medal in the Other Strong Ale category.
Richard Brewer-Hay notes, “Beer has been the foundation of my friendship with Shaun, though the ties now run deeper than that. Shaun’s the kind of guy who answered every one of my homebrew questions, tossed around all kinds of crazy ideas and ended up suggesting we take my recipe to his brewhouse. I can’t imagine a better way to get to know a person.”
Of the ale itself, O’Sullivan rhapsodizes, “Imperial Jack is a deep amber ale with an equal abundance of malt and hops, an ABV of 8.5% and 45 IBUs. The beer was brewed with a very special English heirloom malt called Simpson’s Golden Promise. We also use English crystal and biscuit malts, Belgian honey malt and chocolate malts. The hops are Warrior, Northern Brewer and Styrian Goldings and we use a classic English ale yeast to round out the profile”.
Richard’s life-long goal is to open a brewpub outside his home, in his San Francisco Noe Valley neighborhood. In the meantime, he will write a new chapter in the Imperial Jack story, traveling to his home country of England in mid-April with Shaun. There the two will brew Imperial Jack in a London brewpub. It will be Richard’s first time brewing back on English soil. We think Charles Dickens would definitely approve.
Imperial Jack will be released by 21st Amendment Brewery on draft only as part of the brewery’s Big Can Draft Series. 21st Amendment Brewery’s distribution territories include CA, OR, WA, AK, ID, MN, OH, MA, NY, NJ, DC, MD, DE, PA, VA, GA and NC. For up to date availability, events and promotions, visit 21A’s website at www.21st-Amendment.com.
About the World Beer Cup
The Brewers Association developed the World Beer Cup® International Competition in 1996 to celebrate the art and science of brewing by recognizing outstanding achievement. Every two years, a highly qualified professional panel of beer judges honors the top three beers in nearly 91 categories with gold, silver, and bronze awards. The World Beer Cup, often referred to as “The Olympics of Beer Competitions,” is the most prestigious beer competition in the world.
About Elizabeth Street Brewery
Since 2003, the residence of Alyson and Richard Brewer-Hay has been known to family and friends as The Elizabeth Street Brewery. For the first three years of operation, the ESB brewing facility consisted of one 5-gallon pot on the kitchen stove of their home. In December of 2006, the operation moved out of the kitchen and the new space has allowed for them to double their brewing operation to 10-gallon batches at a time. Located in the family-oriented San Francisco neighborhood of Noe Valley, The ESB is a pub for the people, by the people.
About 21st Amendment Brewery:
Hey, we’re Nico & Shaun. We live for great beer. When we opened the 21st Amendment Brewpub in San Francisco in 2000, we vowed to do things differently. To us, the 21st Amendment means much more than just an end to Prohibition. It means the right to brew beer, the freedom to be innovative, and the obligation to have fun.