First thing, let me put in a plug for the American Homebrewers Association conference June 27-29 in Philadelphia this summer. The theme is “Brewing Up a Revolution.” Just ’cause I can’t go (my other hobby has a command performance) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. It’ll be amazing, and there will be more people with answers to your deepest questions than you ever imagined. The AHA annual conference been growing like Topsy every year, and I expect this year will be even bigger and hopefully better (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt despite the debacle of registration for the national competition). There’s an impressive list of speakers, including Mitch Steele from Stone Brewing shilling his new and rather groovy book on IPAs. (He happily dispels a lot of the popular myths around IPAs, and it’s a good read.)
However – now that I’m pretty sure I won’t be asked to be a speaker – the organizers made just one little choice I really just don’t understand, and I wonder if I’m alone in this, if my brewing-history-geekiness has just got the better of me here. I proposed one topic that I was sure I wouldn’t get because I was dead sure that, the topic being so obvious, the organizers would get someone who was a real Philadelphia/colonial historian to talk it up really right. I, after all, am only a citizen blogger and an amateur historian.
They didn’t. They weren’t interested at all.
I really don’t get it.
The subject? The Tun Tavern. A place in Philadelphia where the First Continental Congress used to meet. Where Washington and Franklin and Jefferson used to get a beer and talk through the business of starting up a Revolution (and what to do after). Where the U.S. merchant marine got started. And (arguably even bigger news) where the U.S. Marine Corps was founded and where America’s first Marines were recruited. By the Quaker innkeeper’s son, no less. He is remembered by the Corps as the first U.S. Marines Recruiter. At least two black men were in that first wave of Marines recruited at the Tun. Every Marine can tell you that the Marine Corps was founded at the Tun Tavern on November 10, 1775. Just ask.
Every year on November 10, U.S. Marines the world around celebrate the birth of the Corps, and toast the Tun Tavern. We got any brewers out there who are Marines? Speak up, I can’t hear you!
The Tun Tavern also held early Colonial Masonic meetings, and both St. George’s Society and St. Andrew’s Society were started there (St. George’s to aid needy Englishmen newly arrived in the Colonies, St. Andrew’s to aid newly arrived Scotsmen).
Alas, the Tun Tavern burned down in 1781, and all that’s left is an historical marker there in Philadelphia. The U.S. Marine Corps museum in Quantico has a restaurant that looks like the Tun Tavern might’ve.
So you can see why I thought it’d make a good topic for one little off-peak-time presentation. The conference theme is about revolution, they’re in Philadelphia where the history’s thick all around, the story’s a good one, and it’s all about the beer, right? So someone really clever could even talk about how the Tun made their beer. Am I the only one who thinks they missed a seriously good opportunity here??
Semper Fi, y’all. Now pass me a beer.
In the interest of full disclosure, the author is not and never has been a Marine, though she’s been propositioned by a few.