Andy Tveekrem couldn’t take his eyes off the old-time advertisement painted on a brick wall at Great Lakes Brewing Co. The ad, faded by weather and time, touts the medicinal benefit of “Kennett Ales.”
At first, he guessed it was some long-forgotten beer brand from a Cleveland brewery. But no, upon further review, it turns out it’s a long-forgotten beer style.
Now Market Garden and Victory Brewing Co. in Downingtown, Pa., are reviving the style through a collaborative effort.
They hunted down two old recipes for Kennett ale — both calling for coriander and chili peppers — and got brewing at both locations.
Tveekrem and Victory brewer Adam Bartles (that's Bartles standing in front of the sign) attempted to stay true to the original recipes, although it's tough when you don't know exactly what variety of hops and peppers were used. Each brewed the beer with a slight variation because the two recipes were a bit different.
Tveekrem’s version included grains of paradise, a bit of Piment d’Espelette peppers and a touch of brown sugar. He described the Kennett style as a strong ale, with 8.5 percent alcohol by volume.
“The beer style originated in the Kennett/Reading area in England and came over here with some immigrant brewers,” Tveekrem said. “It was brewed by a few local breweries in the Cleveland area but I have yet to find anything on it being brewed elsewhere in the U.S. ... although I haven’t really tried too hard.”
Kennett Ale will be released starting at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Cleveland brewpub. Victory is releasing it at 5:30 p.m. today (April 2) at its location.
For the Cleveland release party, Market Garden will have both its own and the Victory version, along with a Kennett Ale firkin with additional spices available at nearby Nano Brew Cleveland.