Editorial Dept.'s picture

East Brother Beer Co. Unveils New Pre-Prohibition Lager

East Brother Beer Co. Unveils New Pre-Prohibition Lager

East Brother Beer Co. in Richmond, California has announced the release of a new pre-prohibition lager with a Six-Row variety of malt used from Admiralty Maltings. Full details on this release are below.


t's been a long three+ months and we've really missed seeing our community. Even though our taproom is closed, we’ve remained hard at work brewing, and this Friday's release of our Pre-Pro Lager - a beer that's been more than a century in the making - is a case in point.

When our head brewer, Paul Liszewski, heard that Admiral Maltings was trying to malt a 6-row variety of barley, he got super excited. When he learned that this was an heirloom, California-grown barley, his head just about exploded. Why is a 6-row malted barley mind-blowing? We'll need to roll it back more than a century to explain.

It goes without saying that Prohibition's impact on the brewing industry was devastating. As demand for malt quality barley diminished, farmers moved to other barley varieties that were typically easier and cheaper to produce. This also resulted in American brewers using other cereal grains (rice, corn) in their beers.

Our team wanted to produce an authentic recipe for East Brother Beer's Pre-Pro Lager, using the barley and hops that most reflect the ingredients prevalent and used before Prohibition completely changed American brewing. 

In walks a farmer. One morning in the winter of 2019, our friends at Admiral Maltings in Alameda had an interesting visit from a farmer, Ben Work. Ben's family farm near Paso Robles has dry-farmed barley for decades. Today, the same Atlas barley that his family has been growing forever, is still sown and harvested on his farm. Atlas barley was the foundation of the California malt and brewing industry in the early 20th century -- pre-Prohibition. The Spanish originally brought the barley over from Morocco where it got its name from the Atlas Mountains. Curtis Davenport, co-founder and head maltster at Admiral, prevailed upon Ben to allow them to test malt small quantities of the Atlas barley.  

Heritage Barley

On April 29, 2020, a century after the start of Prohibition, Admiral Maltings began malting the first full scale batch, approximately five tons of Ben's Atlas barley. Admiral malted this batch specifically for East Brother to make its Pre-Prohibition Lager from this historic, pre-Prohibition era malting barley.  Our hats off to Ben Work and the team at Admiral Maltings!

Legacy Hops

We chose Cluster Hops for this special edition beer, because it's one of the most important and oldest hops in US history - it really is the first hop that Americans can call their own. It's likely a cross between European Hops and a local wild hop, but it's very well suited for growing in the western region. Hops had been grown widely in California, but again...Prohibition. Hopland, CA, now a famous wine region, was at one time one of the largest hop producing regions in the US. 

East Brother Beer's Pre-Pro Lager

You won't find another beer on the market like East Brother Beer's Pre-Pro Lager. This one-of-its-kind Prohibition-era lager recipe has a crisp Cluster Hop presence, a bit of corn and barley flavor, and a clean finish. Starting June 26th, our limited edition, seasonal Pre-Pro Lager is available at local retail locations, and for order with curbside pickup from our taproom, or shipping anywhere in California, $15 for 4-pack. 

If you would like to receive a sample of East Brother's Pre-Pro Lager, please email [email protected], with details on best shipping address. (Please note that an adult 21+ with a valid ID needs to be present to sign for delivery).