Saturday, February 7, 2009

Days of the Beer, February 7

The beer for today is North Coast Old Plowshare Stout.

On February 7, 1804, John Deere was born. Deere was an American blacksmith and manufacturer who founded Deere & Company, the largest agricultural and construction equipment manufacturer in the world. Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont and moved to Illinois, where he invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837.

When Deere was 4, his father disappeared on a trip to England. At age 17, he was an apprentice to a prominent Middlebury, Vermont blacksmith. Deere started a blacksmith business in Vermont, but didn't do well, so he sold the shop and left for Illinois, where he settled in Grand Detour. There were no other blacksmiths in the area, so he found work quickly.

In 1837, he developed and manufactured a cast-steel plow. It was wrought-iron framed and had a polished steel share, which made it good for the soil of the Midwest and worked better than other plows. He sold the first plow in 1838, and by 1841 was making 75-100 plows a year.

Deere left Grand Detour in 1848 and moved to Moline, Illinois, on the Mississippi River, by 1855, the factory sold more than 10,000 plows.

Deere left the company to his son Charles. He then went on to civil affairs and politics.

As to the beer:

North Coast Brewing Company is located in Fort Bragg, California. Old Plowshare was originally brewed for Whole Foods. It has since gone on to be sold at other locations.

Old Plowshare is a full-flavored Celtic style Stout. Smooth and firm-bodied with the bold flavor notes of dark roasted malts. Because Old Plowshare is organic it remains true to the time-honored Irish tradition of respect for natural ingredients. A great pub classic or the perfect Black and Tan.
North Coast produces some outstanding beers, Old Rasputin and Old Stock come to mind. In the Whole Foods line (currently AFA) there is also a Cru D'Or.

So, for the man who reinvented the plow, have an Old Plowshare.

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