Old Abe the War Eagle was a Bald Eagle that was the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry in the Civil War. Named in honor of President Lincoln, Old Abe went into battle with the regiment, participating in several battles and actions in
Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana from 1861 until he was “discharged” and sent home as the regiment’s original member’s enlistments expired. Confederates shot at Old Abe, whom they called the “Yankee Crow” or “Yankee Buzzard” but couldn’t bring him down, despite some close calls.
Old Abe was something of a celebrity after the war and, and was in demand for personal appearances, including one at the nation’s Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. He died in 1881, but is well remembered both in Wisconsin and beyond. A sculpture of Old Abe sits on top of the Wisconsin Memorial at Vicksburg National Military Park, a replica of Old Abe is in the state assembly chamber, and the eagle on the shoulder patches of the U.S. Army’s 101s Airborne is inspired by Old Abe. You can read more about Old Abe here.
Now to top all that off, the Wisconsin Brewing Company, a craft beer brewer in Verona, Wisconsin, has created a beer named in honor of Old Abe. It’s called Yankee Buzzard, and for you beer aficionados, it is an American style IPA, or India Pale Ale type of brew. It’s sold in 12 ounce cans and bottles, and is also available on tap at the brewery’s onsite tap room.
If there is a beer named in honor of Old Abe, can one honoring the Iron Brigade be far behind? It turns out that the Next Door Brewing Company, a brewpub in Madison, does offer an Iron Brigade Stout in its restaurant (on a rotating basis with other beers), and it is indeed named after the Union Army’s Iron Brigade.