Great Barn Brewery
Where the Delaware Am I? IPA
New Hope, PA
George Washington’s first Christmas in the United States of America had no warm, cozy fireplaces, no sumptuous feasts, no stockings filled with gifts, and no family by his side. Instead, Washington was on a boat in the freezing cold, eating army rations, and surrounded by snow, ice and disgruntled soldiers in what is now considered to be one of the most important moments of the Revolutionary War, an event commonly known as George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River.
The start of the Revolutionary War went relatively well for George Washington and his Continental Army but a defeat during the Battle of Fort Washington in Manhattan on November 16, 1776 caused the Continental Army’s troops to back out of New York City and retreat into New Jersey. Hessian (German) troops loyal to the British and under the command of General Cornwallis then pushed the American rebels even further back, across the Delaware River and into Pennsylvania. Cornwallis and his troops, eager to settle in for the winter, abandoned further military pursuit and instead established a number of outposts on the eastern shore of the Delaware River. Washington attempted to regroup his army but found that morale was low, supplies were needed and many soldiers were quitting as their enlistments came to an end, not to mention a few soldiers who deserted their posts.
Following these events, public opinion of Washington and the Continental Army’s chances of winning the war were greatly diminished. Morale was low but a series of events gave the soldiers the much-needed boost they were looking for. The first event was the release of The American Crisis by Thomas Paine, an inspiring work that began with the famous line “These are the times that try men’s souls”. Washington ordered that it be read to all of his soldiers. In addition, General Charles Lee arrived on December 20 along with 2,000 other soldiers and General Horatio Gates brought another 600 more. Captain John Cadwalader later arrived with another 1,000 soldiers and Washington’s army now stood at about 6,000 troops in total. But perhaps the most important morale boost came with the arrival of much needed food, supplies and, best of all, blankets.
The river crossing by Washington and his troops was part of a surprise attack against the Hessian troops stationed in Trenton, NJ. Three crossings were planned, the largest would be led by Washington as a direct attack, the second would be led by Cadwalader near Bristol, PA and would create a diversion to the south, and the third, led by Brigadier General James Ewing, would secure the bridge at Trenton Ferry to prevent the enemy’s escape. A fourth route that was to be commanded by General Israel Putnam was scrapped due to a lack of available soldiers.
The crossing began at dusk and so did the rain, sleet and snow. Local sailors, dockworkers and shipbuilders joined the soldiers to help them navigate the crossing. The logistics of sending thousands of troops, horses and artillery across a partially frozen river were left up to Colonel Henry Knox and he performed beautifully. Aside from a handful of soldiers falling into the icy water, including 1st Delaware Regiment’s Colonel John Haslet, there was little trouble. Washington was among the first to land on the eastern bank of the Delaware at around 3 a.m. and the soldiers were ready to march within an hour.
The impending attack has become the source of legends. During the early morning hours of December 26, Washington’s army completely annihilated the Hessian resistance. Twenty-two Hessian soldiers were killed and 98 were wounded compared to three killed and six wounded for the Americans. In addition, over 1,000 enemy soldiers were captured and a plethora of desperately needed supplies were seized.
Washington actually crossed the Delaware River three times, twice to transport captured soldiers and supplies and then again to push back against British resistance. The crossings are regarded today as a high-risk but also brilliantly executed plan. The Continental Army’s victories poured new life into the country’s war efforts and greatly increased support from the soldiers, government and citizens across the new country. The area where Washington crossed the Delaware River, just to the south of Great Barn Brewery, is now known as Washington Crossing, PA and just across the river is the Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, NJ.
From the Brewer: The tradition of making farm to glass beers is highlighted here with an American Style India Pale Ale. Made from our finest farm grown pale malt, we add flavors of roasted barley and crystal malts to add color and composition. Hops varieties of Chinook, Citra and Mosaic provide a slightly bitter and hoppy aroma. Once more dry hopped with Mandarina Bavaria for additional aroma and bouquet. Fermented with an heirloom variety of yeast from a long forgotten brewery and time. From the top of our farm one can take in the beauty of the lazy Delaware River as it carves its way, we find that experience goes best with our favorite beer. ABV 7%, IBU 48
Steve Ferguson, Steve Ferguson II & Maryana Ferguson - Co-Founders