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 Chagrin Falls 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.”
So after Boston Beer Co. revived New Albion Ale with McAuliffe in a one-off run in 2013, DeLuca took over the rights of the recipe and brought it back to Platform Beer Co., the second-fastest growing craft brewer in the state and small-brewer incubator.
“The craft beer community is a sandbox where everyone plays nice,” she says.
In October, the 120,000-square-foot Platform production facility started churning out a revived New Albion Ale ($5 for 16 ounces) alongside two other original recipes from McAuliffe — the New Albion Red ($5 for 16 ounces) and the Oatmeal Stout ($5 for 16 ounces). For DeLuca, it’s the start of a new age and a sign Cleveland’s love for craft brews is still alive.
“People who know craft beer know my father,” she says.