Author Topic: Brewing Adventure - Arctic Alchemy  (Read 6380 times)

Offline mrbowenz

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Brewing Adventure - Arctic Alchemy
« on: March 15, 2010, 07:15:28 AM »
I wanted to share my somewhat unusal project with the Beersmith community, since it's beer related , feel free to give me your comments or thoughts on this adventure I am taking in July 2010.

Some of you may remember back in 2007 a bottle of Allsopp's Arctic Ale went up for bidding on Ebay, short discussion here:

Although I never bid on this item, I fell in love with the story and started doing research on the bottle , the history, and the brewer. After almost 2 years of extensive research I came up with a few things.

1. This is a much bigger story than meets the eye.
2. This is an almost international treasure involving 3 countries of unparalelled importance.
3. How could I tell this mysterious story in a way that would interest all ?

About 8 months ago I got this crazy idea to combine a few interests of mine to tell this story to the world. I thought about three things that I love, beer , history and motorcycles, to that end I present you with Arctic Alchemy..discoveries of the Red Hand.

Here's the story:
In July 2010, I am departing from Bethlehem with two friends on a 3 week journey about 2000 miles north to the Canadian Arctic. The purpose is to recreate a historic and somewhat mysterious ale that was originally commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1851 to ensure health and nutritional value to a team of Arctic Explorers. These explorers were on a rescue mission to find the remains of a previous mission some 9 years earlier. Sir Edward Belcher took 5 ships and several thousand bottles of Allsopp's Arctic Ale on the journey; the ale was almost 12% alcohol and packed with hops to provide a powerful antiscorbutic defense against scurvy, a leading killer of long arctic voyages.
Exploring the Northwest Passage, was a ridiculously dangerous mission, especially in the 19th century, Allsopp's Ale, withstood the sub-freezing temperatures and was regarded so highly for its taste and healing properties. Sir Edward Belcher failed on his journey, abandoned 4 of the 5 ships in the ice, and returned to England to be court-marshalled (some thanks... huh?). A few of the bottles of Allsopp’s Ale came back to England, where in 2007 a bottle came up on EBay, and reportedly sold for 503,000.00 dollars (this is what caught my interest). To my knowledge, there are only 2 bottles left in the world from the 1852 expedition.

I have researched this ale in the deepest of all journals and records, both here and abroad I now have a recipe for this Ale, and intend to brew it near the Belcher Islands of the Hudson Bay in the Canadian Arctic.

The story of this important ale is very obscure, but has deep historical significance, one of Belcher's ship's that was abandoned, the HMS Resolute, has been brought into the light recently with the modern movie " National Treasure ", not sure if you are familiar, but you can Google the Resolute , and the two desks that where made from the ships timbers . It's the desk in the Oval office of President Obama, the other one is in Buckingham Palace (the Queen sits at that one.)

Here's the rub,
• The modern journey is to be filmed into a 60 minute documentary We are driving adventure style motorcycles , being followed by a support vehicle/ filmmakers
• I am brewing outside in the element's on the shoreline of the Hudson Bay
• We are making several stops along the way , French Canadian breweries, historical stops, Inuit and Cree Indian villages for interviewing and cultural events
• We are bringing back about 100 gallons of our beer to bottle and promote the film, using water from the famous Rupert River.

The name of the documentary is “Arctic Alchemy, discoveries of the Red Hand ......" (The red hand was the trade mark of Allsopp's brewery, which went out of business in the late 1920’s

A few weeks ago we started filming some early footage , the history, the purpose, and who we are etc. I am working with a very experienced filmmaker from Utah and California, and two cinematographers from Russia. I am also traveling to London and Burton on Trent for some additional filming in May 2010

Plus, I now own an original " full and sealed " bottle of the 1852 ale, and have a recipe for the ale ( but not ready too share quite yet , that would spoil the film ).

here are some shots :

My bottle of Allsopp's Arctic Ale:

Me and one of my riding partners:

You can join me on Facebook here, we are launching a website shortly
Brewing up History