Ale bottles from 1886 shipwreck help spawn a new beer

Image 1 of 2

(FOX 5 NY/Jodi Goldberg)

Bottles recovered from beneath the sea floor where the Steamship Oregon sank off the coast of Fire Island more than 130 years ago allowed brewmaster Jamie Adams to join two of his passions: deep-sea diving and beer brewing.

"We would recover various artifacts from the wreck. All of the artifacts that I had recovered were broken bottles," said Adams, the co-owner of Saint James Brewery in Holbrook. "Doing that gave me the idea we could make beer if we actually found bottles that were intact and had their yeast still in them."

For the past four years, he has been working with a team of divers and in 2017 started pulling up century-old hand-blown bottles from around the first-class dining room of the ship, which had been inaccessible all this time.

His goal is to reinvigorate the yeast to make a modern example of a historic beer.

"At the time, they must've had some sort of paper wrapper around the bottle that signifies where it came from but the wrappers are long gone," he said. "It's our job to figure out what it is and where it came from."

Adams plans to debut his own reincarnation of the 1800s-era English ale at the New York State Brewers Fest next month. After that, it'll be available at the brewery and in many bars and restaurants from Manhattan to Montauk.

"It's clearly an English ale strain. It would have a malty sweetness to it, a bitter hop flavor and the yeast strain would add a fruity flavor to it as well," Adams said.

After the initial batch, Adams plans to roll out a line of various beers using the label SeaKing New York as a tribute to his dive team and rich Long Island history.