We are pleased to announce a new micro brew designed to pique the interest of area residents, provide a salute to history and create a collector’s keepsake that people will appreciate for years to come … all while raising funds to support the mission of the Northfield Historical Society. The brew is called James-Younger 1876 Rye Ale.

The idea for the James-Younger beer was borne out of the process of looking for new ways to get people excited about the history of Northfield, Minn., the site of the dramatic Jesse James/Cole Younger failed bank raid in 1876. Hayes Scriven, executive director of the Northfield Historical Society, said, “We are extremely proud of our heritage as community-minded citizens willing to stand up for what we believe is right. The introduction of the James-Younger beer is another way for us to increase awareness of our time-honored community festival ‘Defeat of Jesse James Days.’

Scriven learned that the Olmsted County Historical Society created a special-order wine and thought beer would be a way to reach a wider audience. He and board member Jon Snodgrass approached Jason Markkula with the idea of brewing a specialty beer. Ironically, Markkula runs the Bank Beer Company in the hamlet of Hendricks, Minn. “Perhaps it was fate that brought us together,” he said. “A town internationally known for its defeat of a bank raid getting teamed up with a brewing company with ‘Bank’ in its name.”

Specifically designed for the 2011 Defeat of Jesse James Celebration, the recipe for the James-Younger microbrew was created by Markkula and is brewed by Bank Beer Company near Hendricks, Minn. James-Younger is an American rye ale that is a medium-body beer with a dry, crisp finish. Markkula said, “The three hop additions along with a fourth dry hop addition give the beer a pleasant bitterness that is a nice floral citrus finish complemented by the spiciness of the rye. The spicy flavor from the malted rye really comes through with nice roasted notes from the chocolate rye. James-Younger is truly an American rye.”

The handcrafted beer will be available in limited quantities during the Defeat of Jesse James Days. All profits from the sale of James-Younger 1876 Rye Ale will go directly to the preservation of history through the Northfield Historical Society. Scriven said, “We are genuinely excited to introduce this new initiative. While we are not completely certain where this will lead, our hope is that we can make this an annual tradition for the Defeat of Jesse James Days and the Northfield Historical Society.”

Markkula commented, “We know that great beer is defined not only by what you put into it, but by what you do with it. We plan to develop a tradition of delivering quality beer brands and advancing our commitment to history and the great stories it tells. The heart of the past is passing on the stories told to each generation.”

A campaign to market James-Younger 1876 Rye Ale is currently underway. The beer will be available at the Defeat of Jesse James Days Entertainment Center September 8–10, 2011 and will also be sold through area bars and liquor stores. A special preview of the beer will be made available during the Northfield Historical Society’s Outlaw Run motorcycle rally on August 27.

The Northfield Historical Society is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and honoring the unique history of Northfield, Minn. It actively serves the Northfield area by offering educational programs and presentations, reenactments of special historical events, museum exhibits, and a historical library and archives. The Society also sponsors a museum store where shoppers can purchase commemorative items and entertaining and interesting merchandise at reasonable prices. For more information, check back on our website or find the James-Younger 1876 Rye Ale on Facebook

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