Fordham Brewing Company - Copperhead Ale

Fordham Brewing Company - Copperhead Ale

Beer Club featured in U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club


American Amber Ale


United States

Alcohol by Volume:


Fordham Brewing Company - Copperhead Ale

  • ABV:

  • Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):

  • Serving Temperature:

    45-50º F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Pilsner Glass, Flute
  • Malts:

    Caramunich III, Caramunich II, Wheat, Pale
  • Hops:

    Bravo, Select, Tradition
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Fordham currently calls this an American amber ale (which is a very broad category), but we think its prior designation as an altbier is on target. While Germany is known for lager beer, altbier is an older ale style hailing from Düsseldorf. The beer receives lengthy conditioning, helping smooth the beer out and delivering an almost lager-like finish. On the pour, Copperhead looks great with tons of pillowy foam and brilliant clarity. The hops deliver a very German earthy, herbal, and fairly spicy profile, overlaying clean pale and lightly toasted malt aromas. There’s a certain mustiness present, too, which is a hallmark of the style. The malts are fairly robust on the palate, contributing to a nice body and delivering plenty of lightly toasted character, mild caramel, and light nutty hints. Expect good balance between the mild malt sweetness and the drying earthy & spicy hops. The brewery recommends pairing with roast pork, gouda, and pear fritters, to which we’d add brie with crusty bread or an Italian sub sandwich. Cheers!

In 1703, England’s Queen Anne commissioned Benjamin Fordham to begin a brewery in America, in her namesake city of Annapolis. As the port city grew, so did the popularity and demand for Fordham’s beer, and he secured a position in the history of the region, becoming one of the city's first aldermen. Sadly, when he passed away in 1716 the brewery was shut down.

For nearly three centuries, the Fordham brewery remained closed. Or should we say, on hiatus? The Fordham name was resurrected in 1995 with the establishment of a new brewery by William Muehlhauser and Jim Lutz. In researching the history of Annapolis area breweries of days gone by, Lutz, currently the company president, discovered the story of this once famed brewhouse. As he puts it, “I just went back to see what breweries existed in Annapolis and ran across this Fordham Brewery. I contacted the Fordham family and asked them if we could resurrect their great-great-great-grandfathers name. The family was happy to oblige.”

After five years of strong growth, they moved to a larger facility in Alexandria, VA, and three years later they had outgrown that building too. Fordham’s brewing and bottling operations moved to their current facility in Dover, DE in 2003. In 2007, they formed an alliance with Old Dominion, and the two breweries now operate unified at their location in Dover. For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours call (302) 678-4810 or check out their web site at

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