17 May 2010

Announcing the next Indiana ReplicAle

An Indiana Microbrewers Festival tradition continues. The summer ReplicAle has been selected! It is a Bavarian Dunkel/Schwarzbier and Dave Colt from Sun King Brewing provides some background:

The summer ReplicAle recipe this year comes from the very first comercially brewed beer in the state. Here is some info about the brewer and beer:

The name of the brewer was George Bentel. His house is still standing in New Harmony. The Harmonist brewer and cooper, George Bentel, was born November 3, 1781 in Iptingen, the same village in the Swabian kingdom of Württemberg where George Rapp was born. Bentel lived at the northeast corner of Brewery and Grainery streets, where his house remains today, as upright as when Indiana's first brewer marched out to make his beer almost two centuries ago.

The German utopian communalists in New Harmony were Indiana's first significant brewers. Beginning in 1816, the Harmonists eventually brewed enough to sell all the way up to what is now West Virginia and down into lower Illinois. From the historical record, it appears the Harmonists brewed a porter-like dark beer. It must have been pretty good beer: An educated German, Ferdinand Ernst, stopped in New Harmony during his journey through the frontier region. “They served me a stein of beer,” Ernst wrote, “and I was not a little astonished to find here a genuine, real Bamberg beer.” He gushed that the Harmonists “must be happiest people of entire Christiandom.” A Louisville agent for the Harmonists reported, “Mr. Breeden, the most celebrated porter seller in the place says the strongest part of it would almost pass for porter and is the best beer he has ever seen in this country….”

Look for the Replicale from various Indiana breweries this summer at the Indiana Microbrewers Festival (tickets are available here: http://www.brewersofindianaguild.com/buytickets.html).

The George Bentel House in New Harmony, Indiana


  1. I'm very interested to find out the source of George Bentel as the brewer at New Harmony. Been through the archives on the site and haven't found the name of the brewer.

    I've found him listed as a cooper - they had large cooperage making barrels for beer, whiskey, butter, flour, apples, syrup, etc.

    On another note the power for the brewery was provided by "a large dog that walked a treadwheel on a platform twelve feet above the floor of the brewery, pumping water for the brew. Big as this dog was, he must have been spelled by another like him from time to time, for the Harmonist brewery produced five hundred gallons a day." - The Angel and the Serpent, William E. Wilson, IU Press, 1984

    Sounds like Omar could make the most authentic version based on this.


  2. The information about both George Bentel and the recipe comes from Doug Wissing's new book. Dave Colt and Doug talked a lot about this.

    As for who will make the most authentic version, you may be right. But I'm looking forward to trying every variety put out there!

    Thanks Bob.

  3. Where can we get the recipe?

  4. Even though the majority of breweries in Bamberg are not brewing Rauchbier, I am surprised to see Dunkel or Schwarz described as "real Bamberg beer."