A Dark Day Indeed

In my Inbox this morning, i received my daily “This Day in History” message from the History Channel.  While normally these messages concern themselves with political and military milestones, today’s was about something much more dark and sinister…canned beer.

It seems that on this date in 1935, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered the first cans of beer to the consumer market, marking a seismic shift in the future of the  beer industry.  Storing beer in cans was easier and cheaper in almost every aspect of the beer industry.  Soon, the entire country was drinking from a can.

Now, I am aware that I have a tendency to voice some controversial opinions on this blog a bit too often for the likings of the editors at the American Public House Review.  However, despite those occupational hazards, I am here to declare that this is the anniversary of a very dark day in history.  A very dark day indeed.

Beer is an ancient wonder of human ingenuity.  It is a constant that has stood the test of time and has evolved over the centuries to meet the tastes of an ever changing human palate.  It is our job as stewards of this legendary necessity to work towards its perfection.  To craft it in a way that either tells our story to future generations or simply improves the enjoyment of our fellow man.

However, in the winter of 1935, someone, and I will not name names, decided to cheapen this noble art rather than better it.  Yes, I understand there is something to be said about making beer more affordable in times of need.  But there are just some things in life where quality is more of an imperative than quantity.  So tonight, let us lift a glass bottle together in an oath to do our part to never again allow ourselves to dishonor   this most solemn art again.

By Dave McBride

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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What day of the year would you guess sees the highest beer sales?

One of the many great benefits of this thing we call the internet is that if you look around a bit you will find a wealth of fascinating, if perhaps somewhat less then earth shattering, nuggets of information.  And you don’t even have to look that hard. 

Take for example this little piece from Tampa Bay Online, the city hosting this year’s Super Bowl.  Did you know what yearly event brings the highest beer sales?  No, it is not football’s championship game with its parties full of salty snacks and aluminum cans of beer.  It’s not New Years Eve or even my guess, Saint Patrick’s Day with its day long drink fest full of corned beef, whiskey and lots of Guinness.

Actually, according to the Nielsen Company, it is Easter Week?  Now, can anyone reading tell me how this could be?  Do you drink lots of beer on Easter?  Do you know anyone who makes Easter into a holiday filled with drunken fun?  Well, the source of this statistic has obviously looked into this more than I have so I won’t dispute it too much, but it does make me wonder what other people are doing on Easter???

Rare Canadian Floppy Ear

Rare Canadian Floppy Ear

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Posted by: David McBride

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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High Society Comes to Toronto

groucho_guinness

Here is one of those things that it is simply hard to believe no one has thought of before.  According to this morning’s Canada.com, a theatre in Toronto is experimenting with a new idea, serving alcoholic beverages to movie patrons.

“It went very well,” said Pat Marshall, vice-president of communications Cineplex Entertainment. “Our guests were happy and we’re delighted.”

Movie-goers who are of legal drinking age can pay $5 to sit in a VIP auditorium where in-seat food service is already offered and order alcoholic drinks. Beverage service stops once the movie begins. A beer costs $4.69 plus taxes.

First if all, I can’t believe how long it has taken someone to figure this out.  Yes, adults, who are the ones paying mind you, like to have a bevy now and again while watching a movie.  There certainly is no lack of drinking going on in the movies themselves.  Is that too much to ask?  We can get a beer at a baseball game, why not a movie?

Secondly, kudos to the theatre for selling the beer at such a reasonable price.  I would expect, like everything else that is sold in movie theatre, to pay some astronomical amount of money.  Now I can get a snickers bar and a beer for, I don’t know, somewhere in the 25 dollar range?!?!

– Written & posted by David McBride

Photo courtesy of Dr. Macro.

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Published in: on December 16, 2008 at 9:18 am  Comments (1)  
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Hurling a Harpoon at the recession

Harpoon Brewery, one of the many great Massachusetts beer makers, are expanding their brewing capacity by about 20% this week as they install two new fermenting tanks.  According to the Boston Globe, these are some ridiculously big tanks!

The Harpoon Brewery plans to install two new 500-barrel unitank fermenters at its South Boston facility tomorrow, weather permitting.

The tanks, which stand 38 feet high and weigh 28,000 pounds, are the largest tanks to be installed in the brewery’s history, twice the size of the largest tank at Harpoon now, the company said in a press release.

So why am I reporting this to you?  Because it can only be seen as good news.  During this sharp economic downturn, you would think breweries like Harpoon, not a major producer but certainly not a small one either, would be feeling the pain.  But instead they are expanding. 

ale

And for anyone who may not have tried Harpoon’s beers, they make a really solid product.  Like many of New England’s breweries, they produce great and consistent ales.  And what makes a better cure for an economic downturn than buying delicious American ale?  Now, there is even more on the way.  It’s a win-win all around.

by Dave McBride

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Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 11:55 am  Comments (1)  
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The Tavern at the Sergeantsville Inn

On Black Friday, I ignored shopping invitations from Mr. Macy & Mr. Gimble and whiled away the afternoon talking and taking photos in the warm & cozy tavern of the historic Sergeantsville Inn with APHR cohorts Chris Poh and Ed Petersen, as well as friend Don “Juan” Garrido. The Sergeantsville Inn is quietly situated in the heart of rural, yet posh Hunterdon County, New Jersey, ranked as America’s wealthiest suburban county in 2007.

Don "Juan" Garrido Sipping a Guinness © Kathleen Connally

Don Juan Garrido Sipping a Guinness © Kathleen Connally

Sergeantsville was first called Skunktown because it served as a market center for skunk pelts in the late 1700s, but was renamed in 1827 for Charles Sergeant, a local landowner and Revolutionary War soldier. The Sergeantsville Inn was originally built as a private home but was later used as a grain & feed store, a grocery store and an ice cream parlor.

Old Speckled Hen Tap © Kathleen Connally

Old Speckled Hen Tap © Kathleen Connally

While I was sipping on a beautifully poured pint of Old Speckled Hen, Chris mentioned that a section of the handsome stone structure once served as the town’s ice house, and that some of the Inn’s staff have experienced ghostly encounters in that part of the building.

I was thrilled to learn that Ed is researching and writing a full story about the Sergeantsville Inn for an upcoming issue of APHR, where he’ll interview the employees about their adventures with the shadows and spectres that live there.  I’m looking forward to Ed’s story and to returning to the tavern later this month as I search for the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Chris Poh in the Ice House © Kathleen Connally

Chris Poh in the Ice House © Kathleen Connally

– Written & Posted by Kathleen Connally

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Beer Pairings for Thanksgiving Dinner

Manfred's Black Turkey © Kathleen Connally

Black Turkey © Kathleen Connally

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and if you’re looking to pair beer with a traditional turkey dinner party, help is on the way courtesy of Fred Tasker at the Dallas Morning News:

Aperitif

As guests arrive, hand them something crisp and cold, light as air. They sip and whet their appetites, but don’t fill up. The world’s lagers are made for this.

•Stiegl Goldbrau Premium Lager, Stieglbrewery, Salzburg, Austria, alcohol not listed: bright golden color, big, creamy head, light flavors of malt and hops; $3.19 per 1-pint- 9-ounce bottle.

Hors d’oeuvres 

As you pass around the canapes, you give your guests pale ales, somewhat fuller in body, hoppier, able to deal with shrimp with sauce, cheese balls and the like.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, California, 5.6 percent alcohol: amber in color, full-bodied, malty, hoppy, spicy; $1.60 per 12-ounce bottle.

Lagunitas Maximus India Pale Ale, California, 7.5 percent alcohol: deep amber, brutally hoppy, with flavors of pine and citrus; $3.99 per 1 pint, 6-ounce bottle.

Dinner 

For the full, complex, fatty flavors of an all-out Thanksgiving main course, you want a muscular beer, with the hops and alcohol to cut through. The category called Belgian-style strong ales works here.

Collaboration Not Litigation Ale, Colorado, 8.99 percent alcohol: dark brown color, sturdy beige head, starts fruity, then the powerful alcohol kicks in. It’ll handle Cajun turkey, even red meat; $8.49 per 1-pint, 6-ounce bottle.

Ommegang Brewery Rare Vos Belgian-Style Amber Ale, Cooperstown, N.Y., 6.5 percent alcohol: coppery color, fruity, spicy, muscular, flavors of burnt sugar; $5.79 per 1-pint, 9.4-ounce bottle.

Dessert 

With beer, as with wine, the drink should be sweeter than the dessert. The following will handle pecan or pumpkin pies.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Delaware, 7 percent alcohol: a full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg, it tastes like all of them; $10.49 per 4-pack.

Rogue Chocolate Stout, Ore., 7 per cent alcohol: Yes, they add real imported chocolate to the brew, plus oats and hops, and it tastes like all of its ingredients, with the smooth power of alcohol and a bittersweet finish; $5.79 per 1-pint, 6-ounce bottle.

Digestif 

When you mellow out after the meal, watching the game, you need something big, rich, soft and sweet to settle your stomach.

Dogfish Head Raison d’Extra Ale, Delaware, 18 percent alcohol a big, brown ale brewed with of malt, brown sugar and raisins; $6.25 per 12-ounce bottle.

Great Divide Brewing Old Ruffian Barleywine-Style Ale, Colorado, 10.2 percent alcohol: smooth, sweet fruit and caramel flavors give way to powerful hops; $5.29 per 1 pint, 6 ounce bottle.

—-

(If you get this far,  I hope you’ve taken your guests’ car keys and have the local cab company‘s phone number handy.)

 Article by Fred Tasker / Links Kathleen Connally

– Posted by Kathleen Connally

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Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FROM THIS PUBLICAN’S PERCH, November 2007

Chris PohAt some point during the cobbling together of this particular issue someone requested a file name for November’s content. After a cursory review of the articles my response was call it “The War Years.” Whether by intent or fortune this author and our merry band of stringers seemed to have wandered into pubs that have a profound connection to the armed conflicts that have defined this nation. It seems that guns, guts and glory have always been the convenient forte of the fourth estate.

Contained within these pages are the memories and stories of those who have fought, and in many instances given the last full measure on behalf of country. Framed in perfect settings of wood and stone, and accented with the trophies and artistic depictions of battle, these stories take on a lore and grandeur that soften the suffering and hardships of battle. But in many other locations throughout this land are much simpler rooms that serve as the final post for those that truly understand the brutality, bloodshed and tragedy of war. To these veterans and legionnaires we raise our glasses.

Next month our reporters take on rough seas and salt water. Our roving scribes will be anchored in bars from the beaches of California to the rugged coastline of Maine. As for me, the only salt that I’ll taste will be on the rim of a Margarita glass from the relative calm of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Till then we wish you a great November and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FROM THIS PUBLICAN’S PERCH, October 2007

Chris Poh

A friend inquired about the possibility of featuring a particular establishment in this publication. I think he was surprised by the rapid response which questioned the merits of this well respected edifice of fine food and drink. “If a great space, with a fantastic location, featuring outstanding product and service doesn’t warrant inclusion what does,” he asked? My answer was simply this, “…community.”

The worth of a public house is measured by the efforts of its patrons, owners and staff to establish a space that welcomes everyone as equals and treats all who enter with the same regard and respect. It is a community that provides comfort, wise counsel and camaraderie. It is the family front porch of a bygone era, and the parliament of the common man.

In this first issue, our staff’s explorations remained close to home. This being a shared belief that one should celebrate and appreciate one’s own backyard before venturing over the fence. Future editions will include images and stories from pubs located throughout North America with occasional forays beyond.

As the content of this first run came together it was apparent that it was heavily influenced by the spirit and the traditions of those who inhabit the British Isles. This was much more a case of serendipity than a function of design. Had this outcome been a matter of planning, we would not have overlooked those bold Tudors who ascended the English throne under Henry the VII. Before our time is done, the editorial staff will make every effort to recognize the people of Wales and their generous contributions to the life and legacy of the public house.

Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 10:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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