Brew master Tim Mason pouring the new Mark Twain lager at Fox Brewery and Pub in downtown Carson City on April 12.
Photo by Scott Neuffer.
One doesn’t have to be a historian or beer connoisseur to appreciate the new Mark Twain lager at Fox Brewery and Pub in downtown Carson City. The light amber-hued lager fizzes on the tongue, and one could envision Twain himself enjoying a pint of it back in the Nevada Territory.
“The bulk grain they were using likely would have produced a beer roughly that color,” said brew master Tim Mason.
The “Langhorne Lager,” based on 19th century writer Samuel Clemens’ middle name, will be available during the Mark Twain Days Festival, April 21 to 23 in downtown Carson. A special tasting and toast will be 5 to 6 p.m. April 20. Nevada Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony, who sits on the Nevada Commission of Tourism, is expected to attend.
The brew pub is asking for a $10 donation for the tasting and toast.
“We’ll have beer ready to drink immediately,” said Steve Swinford, sales and marketing manager at the Fox.
Swinford said while craft breweries typically focus on ales because they take less time to produce, the Fox wanted to create something as close to history as possible.
“We’re trying to emulate as close as we possibly can a style of lager that was prevalent at that time that was not a steam beer,” he said. “There’s probably a lot of variations of style back then. They didn’t have labs to create repetition.”
A pint of Langhorne Lager on April 12. (Scott Neuffer photo)
Mason said the Fox is producing a small batch for the festival, approximately seven kegs, which translates to 868 pints. His recipe used two-row pale malt, Vienna and Munich malts. The alcohol content is about 5 percent, he said. The flavor is not as hoppy as a pilsner.
When asked if the Fox would consider taking the lager to retail, as it does with other beers, Swinford said, “We’ll see how it sticks, if people like it.”
This isn’t first time the Fox has honored Twain. In 2021, the banquet room in the historic St. Charles-Muller Hotel was renamed the “Mark Twain Room.” The Fox’s website says Twain likely frequented the bar on the first floor of the hotel, which was built in 1862.
Looking at the time Twain was in the capital city — he used his pen name in 1863 in a letter from Carson — Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ronni Hannaman also believes it’s likely the author drank at the hotel.
“He was known for his drinking” she said.
Swinford added, “There are only so many places he could have drunk.”
Hannaman noted the importance of history to a community’s economic and cultural life. She and officials at Visit Carson City hope the festival brings businesses and history together.
“Mark Twain Days is really to give people history,” Hannaman said.” This is where Nevada began, right here… It’s always been the hub and beginning of Nevada, and we don’t celebrate that.”
Celebrants at the April 20 event can head over to the Bank Saloon afterward. The Bank Saloon is offering a Mark Twain scotch whiskey cocktail, Hannaman said.
She said she would love to see more restaurants and businesses celebrating “the fact of our history.”
For information about Mark Twain Days, visit https://visitcarsoncity.com/mark-twain-days/.