Recently my beer judge/brew buddy Bill found at an estate sale, in a dusty cellar 2 bottles of beer from the Sebewaing brewing company, a regional brewery that was at the tip of Michigan's thumb.
He said he found it in the cool cellar of the house where the estate occurred, indicated that they were under thick coatings of dust and there were clues in there that the beer had been in there for decades and that the temps were more than likely in the 50's for the entire time. Good conditions for beer storage.
Bill with the two bottles of Sebewaing beers.
The township of Sebewaing, located on the Saginaw Bay side of the thumb, celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2003.
Sebewaing Brewing Company brewed Sebewaing Beer until 1965. The brewery began life as the E.O. Braendle Brewery in 1880. A fire destroyed the wood frame building in 1893. It was rebuilt with brick walls three feet thick and enjoyed a new life until Prohibition took its breath away. The Sebewaing name began during Prohibition when in 1927, the Sebewaing Products Company was organized to produce malt extract. As sales exceeded a million dollars per year, the brewery became Sebewaing’s main identity.
The last day of the Sebewaing Brewing Company was June 4, 1966.
There's not a lot of extant information about the brewery and the beers, though a couple years ago the Michigan Brewing Company brewed a limited release batch of at least one of the recipes.
The bottom of the bottles had the dates 63 and 64 on them.
We believe Sebawaing Beer was a lager.
While, Golden Pheasant we think might have been an ale.
Both beers appeared to be bottle conditioned, or at least had sediment compacted in the bottom of the bottles. We attempted to harvest yeast from the golden pheasant
They both were crystal clear as you can see by the pictures, though the lager did have some floaties. Both were flat as a pancake.
The Golden Pheasant was surprisingly an amazing beer. It had had a strong caramel aroma and flavor. It was delicious. We don't know what the original beer tasted like, but if this was any indication, it would be very similar I think to Yuengling's Lord Chesterton ale.
On the other hand the Sebawaing Beer did not hold up well through the decades. It was honestly nasty,very oxidized musty and musky. It hadn't gone bad, just didn't age well. I actually nearly vomited. Not because it was infected or anything, just that the oxidation was downright unpleasant. I now really know what liquid cardboard tastes like.
We're not sure, be we believe that the one that was still drinkable was an ale, while the one that did hold up was probably a lager.
It was an amazing experience to get to drink beer that probably very few if any still exist. And the fact that they were from an extinct brewing made it even more special.