Saturday, January 17, 2009

Days of the Beer, January 17

The beer for today is De Proefbrouwerij Captain Cooker.

On January 17, 1773, Captain James Cook and his crew became the first Europeans to sail below the Antarctic Circle.

This crossing was part of Cooks second voyage, which lasted from 1772 to 1775. Cook was there in search of Terra Australis, a continent that supposedly lied in the southern hemisphere. Earlier it was assumed that there had to be another large continent in the south to counter-balance the large land masses in the north. On his first voyage, Cook had charted much of New Zealand and what would later be named Australia.

On his second trip, he commanded HMS Resolution. His expedition (along with another ship) circumnavigated the globe. Cook nearly encountered the mainland of Antarctica, but turned north towards Tahiti to resupply. He then turned south again to try to find the mythical continent.

As to the beer:

De Proef is based in western Flanders, Belgium. It's name is the nickname of brewmaster Dirk Naudts "the Prof".

A truly unique beer combining the best brewing traditions of Belgium with the natural goodness of manuka leaves, fresh picked from the native forests of New Zealand. When Cpt. James Cook first landed in New Zealand over 200 years ago, he brewed a beer using the leaves of the manuka tree in a quest to protect the health of his crew from vitamin C deficiency. Little did he know that the indigenous Maori people had been using manuka for centuries for its health giving properties. In 1996 the Mussel Inn refined Cook's original recipe and has since been harvesting fresh manuka from the surrounding hills to produce a beer of unique flavour and quality. Today, the same beer is being brewed in Belgium using the best of its brewing techniques and the same manuka leaves from New Zealand.
So, for Captain Cook crossing the Antarctic Circle, have a De Proef Captain Cooker.

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