Tap handles for the new Fidelis Beer Company, founded by Marine Capt. Brian Magee. (Photo courtesy Capt. Brian Magee)
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Marine Capt. Brian Magee, founder of Fidelis Beer Company, has recreated the ale served at Tun Tavern. (Photo courtesy Capt. Brian Magee)
Almost 239 years old, and still hoppy and refreshing.
A Marine beer-brewer in Virginia dove into his history books to research and create “1775,” a new ale that replicates the brew the first Marines drank at Tun Tavern. And he’s releasing it in time for the Marine Corps birthday bash in November.
Capt. Brian Magee, a judge advocate who works at the Washington Navy Yard, created 1775 as one of his first brews for Fidelis Beer Company, a newly licensed enterprise dedicated to making good brews that support good causes. The project was inspired by the company Dogfish Head, which used authentic ingredients and techniques thousands of years old to create its popular line of Ancient Ales.
The first step for Magee was some serious research.
“There are beer historians out there, and there’s a lot of public information you can find about hops and the history of different hops varieties, and brewing in colonial America,” he said. “Here are some of the ingredients that were available, and it’s up to me to put them in a recipe that tastes good.”
He decided on an ale that used a common hop variety and a strong base malt. The resulting brew is tasty, with a biscuity flavor, he said.
For each of the four beers that Magee is planning to brew, a portion of the proceeds will go to support a different cause or organization, from caring from wounded warriors to preventing human trafficking. He has already decided that 1775 will help support the Semper Fi Fund, which cares for wounded, ill and injured troops and their families.
His next project is to make 1775 the official beer of the Commandant’s Birthday Ball, which will be held Nov. 8 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.
“I’ve reached out to the birthday ball committee,” he said. “We’d actually like to see it in bottles at the ball.”
Though Magee just received his license to brew and sell beer in Virginia, he aspires to see his company become a nationally distributed brand, competitive with the largest American breweries. So far, the reception to his concept has been warm, particularly among his Marine colleagues.
“They love the idea, they love the purpose behind it,” he said. “That resonates with other Marines because we joined this organization to have an impact, whether on the people we serve or on the world.”