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Mare Island Brewing Co.

The Beers

Because that’s what we’re here for…

General Order No. 99

Photogallery rendered here.

General Order No. 99

Naval General Order No. 99, issued by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels in 1914, banished all alcohol from Naval bases and ships. We hereby rescind the order on Mare Island. This is our finest porter, aged in former whiskey and pinot noir wine barrels for six months, blended, and then bottle-conditioned to perfection in a historic bomb shelter on Mare Island. Intense, with hints of chocolate, coffee, fresh-milled grain, vanilla spice, toast, and a distant, elegant echo of fine whiskey, this limited-production reserve brew has balance yet heft on the palate, with creaminess derived from extended barrel and bottle aging. You have your orders.

First (and often only) access to General Order No. 99 is through our Yardbird Club.

Vintage Note: The spring 2015 bottling of General Order No. 99 was aged in former Road 31 Pinot Noir Barrels and former George Dickel and Sonoma Prohibition Spirits whiskey barrels. It finished at an ABV of 6.5% and an IBU of 42. We anticipate ageability of 3-5 years from vintage date (though since this is our first vintage, we don't know for certain). While we don't mean to dictate how you should enjoy your beer, we intended this reserve brew to be served with only a slight chil (50-55 degrees). View Additional Technical Information.

Historical Notes: The original General Order No. 99 not only removed all alcohol from Mare Island, but also within a five mile radius of the Naval base; this shuttered Vallejo's Solano Brewery (in photo montage above), which was one of the bay area's highly successful producers of "steam beer" at that time (and the last brewery in the area before Mare Island Brewing Co. came along 99 years later). Also, legend has it that "cup of joe" originated as a not-so-complimentary salute by sailors to Josephus Daniels when his order suddenly made coffee the strongest drink on the ship...

Scattered throughout Mare Island are concrete bomb shelter bunkers that stand as stark evidence of the intense fear, after Pearl Harbor, of a Japanese invasion of the mainland. In our taproom hangs an intriguing historical picture of school children entering one of those bomb shelters during an air raid drill (photo montage above). One day, while walking just a few blocks from our brewery, we found--beneath a heavy canopy of brambleberry--the exact shelter from the picture. We quickly realized that not only were the two-foot-thick concrete walls great for providing the constant temperature needed for bottle-conditioning beer, but this was also the perfect spiritual home for aging our General Order No. 99. We commissioned a new metal door, fabricated by our favorite Mare Island metal-worker, and claimed the bunker as our own.