Jack McAuliffe never thought twice about opening America’s first post-Prohibition microbrewery. After enjoying rich and unique craft brews during a European tour while in the Navy, McAuliffe returned home to Sonoma, California, in 1975 and discovered the American craft brew scene was an untapped resource.
“All he saw was Budweiser, Miller and Coors,” says his daughter and Gates Mills resident Renee M. DeLuca. “So he made his own beer.”
McAuliffe’s New Albion Ale — a golden hops-forward American pale ale with pine notes — was the legendary brew that inspired others such as Jim Koch of Samuel Adams and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada to become homebrewers-turned-national sensations.
“He took an old European idea, when each town had its own brewery, and made it new again,” says DeLuca.
An adopted child, DeLuca first learned this history when she met McAuliffe, her birth father, for the first time in 2001.
“We immediately bonded over the story of his beer,” says DeLuca, who writes a beer blog as The Brewer’s Daughter. “I learned that beer is in my blood. The craft beer community is a sandbox where everyone plays nice. People who know craft beer know my father,” she says.