Sleeman's Cream Ale
- ronoc Feb 27, 2007 10:43 AM
Had this beer in British Columbia last summer. Does anyone know if it is available in the U.S. (especially in Manhattan)? It's really good.
Sleeman's is good beer with a good story. They are now Canada's 4th largest brewery.
It was founded in 1834 by John Sleeman. Around 80 years ago, George Sleeman (grand son) was busted running beer into prohibition USA.
They made an example out of him and the business had to be sold to pay the taxes & fines on the contraband. The family mansion eventually became a Biker Gang clubhouse and stripper bar. The shame and humiliation was too much and family carried on pretending there never was a brewery, hushing it all up.
Fast forward to the 80's and hot shot real-estate investor, John Sleeman gets a mysterious box in the mail from his Great Aunt. She's old enough to speak her mind and does so, writing that his foolish family has a secret past and it's time he learned about his Granddad. She also included his "little black book" that she found in her attic. Not only did it contain all his beer recipes inside, but kettle designs, methods for making a clear bottle work and notes on distribution and marketing.
Young John was hooked and moved back to Guelph, and built a micro brewery.
He reinstated the signature clear bottle and added the Beaver Logo.
Since then, the company has bought micro breweries from every province in Canada and also has a value line. They distribute many famous brands of beer from Europe and the Orient.
I believe the company was recently bought by one of it's partners, Sapporo, possibly.
Corporate giant or Family Business, they make good beer, Upper Canada, Okanogan Springs, Shaftbury included.
I can't help you find any in the US, but if you came to Canada, you must try their Porter, it's excellent.
"methods for making a clear bottle work"?
I don't know about that- my first bottles of Sleeman's (hand carried back from Canada) were skunked pretty bad. It is an interesting story - living near the Canadian border in the late 70's, I knew the brewing industry up there pretty well but didn't pay attention much in later years (lots of interesting stuff going on down here in the meantime <g>). I knew that Molson had merged with Carling OKeefe, so the Big 3 was down to the Big 2 and suddenly there was this Sleeman's as #3. Quite unusual for a "new" brewery to grow so large (they even had a share of The Beer Store, Ontario's monopoly retailer) and I was surprised when I tasted the beers and they were pretty much all in the "macrobrewer industrial light lager" style.
About a year ago, they hit the market it New Jersey and seemed to disappear just as quickly in most stores.
They definitely have a few varieties of Sleemans in six packs at American Beer (Court St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn). I'm assuming it's at New Beer as well in Manhattan (Chrystie St.).