Filling My 12 Ounce Bucket List

Ballantine IPA

A while back an older friend, who had just gone through some serious health problems and was having to face those inevitable questions that trouble all of us–inquired as to the contents of my bucket list. Other than my wish to have spent more time with loved ones that had already passed on, or my unrealistic hopes of getting the definitive photograph of the Loch Ness Monster, or having an actual encounters with alien beings, I realized that for the most part my bucket was empty.

But then I did recall that there was one experience (even though it seemed even less attainable than the alien or lake creature thing) that I had always told people that I wanted to repeat before permanently giving up my allotted space at the bar–and that was to enjoy at least one more encounter with my first true American ale infatuation–the Ballantine IPA!

During the past seven plus years of publishing American Public House Review, it seems that whenever beer was the topic of discussion my longings for that superlative pale ale would be exuberantly voiced, and on occasion, as noted below, those passions would find their way into the final draft of an article.

  • Here was a world-class recipe that rivaled my long lost and much lamented first true beer love – the Ballantine India Pale Ale. Since the 1983 demise of that well hopped heavyweight, (60 IBUs during its prime recipe years}), I’ve been on a personal quest for the next great IPA. Thankfully, we live in a time when so many American brewers are emulating the style and techniques of those early masters of the craft…     From a 2010 article about Wagner Valley Brewing in Lodi, New York
  • In the February-March 2000 edition of“Celebrator Beer News,” Fred Eckhardt wrote, “Ballantine IPA would be a good choice for the greatest and most enduring American brewing triumph of the early and mid-20th century.” From a more personal perspective, Ballantine IPA continues to this day to be the most memorable and pleasant beer drinking experience of my life.  From a 2008 article about the Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Rhode Island

So it is with many a heartfelt thanks that I raise my glass to the memory of Peter Ballantine, and those very talented, present day brewers at Pabst whose efforts and expertise  have reshaped and resurrected this American classic. Because of you my bucket list is now full–and my recycling bin is overflowing!

Posted by: Chris Poh

Blue Tag

A Post St. Patrick’s Day Confession

barflyConfessionalLogo

While it is probably more a function of the passing years, this particular St. Patrick’s Day was a rather tame, yet extremely pleasant, undertaking. Four pints and one wee dram of Tullamore Dew was accompanied by a bowl of Irish Stew at McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub in Bethlehem, PA. But there were those other years when my behavior was fraught with a lack of good judgement.

I was reminded recently of one such endeavor by an old friend who had agreed to escort, and would eventually wind up maintaining the upright position of me and another staff member of American Public House Review as we attempted to traverse the island of Manhattan during one of our March 17th adventures nearly twenty years ago. As I recall, that exceedingly warm afternoon’s long stretch of the legs began at Peter McManus Cafe in Chelsea and ended at Molly’s Shebeen on New York’s West Side. As to the finer details of the return trip, one would have to direct such inquires to the steadfast and sturdy host of The Barfly Confessional.

As part of a long overdue thanks and perhaps a bit of penance, we are pleased to announce a new partnership between our magazine and this superb podcast. And as the latest episode of The Barfly Confessional explores the life and challenges facing a priest in today’s Roman Catholic Church, hopefully, our partnering will be the source of many mutual blessings–or at the very least a few well deserved indulgences!

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

Stand Your Round and Sing those Songs

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“Let it flow outta ya as it’s been flowin’ inta ya for the last couple a hours!”    (The late Tommy Makem’s signature appeal for audience sing-along participation)

I was in conversation a few days ago with a Joe Jencks, a very passionate and talented singer/songwriter who can also tout his fair share of Erin’s heritage. He spoke of a recent house party at which the host made multiple requests that he sing some of the old Irish drinking songs. Rather than regale his parlor audience with those raucous strains, he chose instead to give his host a history lesson.


By his account, those particular songs only speak to the diabolical behavior of the British during the Great Famine of the 19th century in which the English government kept a starving population from engaging in a violent civil uprising by keeping them pleasantly plied on whiskey and beer. While there is probably some degree of truth in that particular point of view, there are many political, social and economic factors that fueled this terrible human tragedy. During the famine years, Ireland was in fact a net exporter of food to England. And during the first nine months of what was to become known as “Black 47″ the actual export of grain distilled spirits from Ireland was 1,336,220 gallons.

This great starvation was not a matter of there not being enough food, but instead it was a matter of there not being enough human compassion coupled to an over abundance of prejudice and greed.

So it would still be my inclination  to stand my round and to sing those merry songs that may have been rooted in a very sad bit of Irish history.


We wish all of our friends and readers a very joyous St. Patrick’s Day!


And to help you along with the festivities of the day we invite to listen to and download some of our favorite Celtic artists from our podcasts at Sit Downs and Sessions.


Green Tag

Their Swords into Plowshares and Their Kalashnikovs into Candy Canes

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At this time of the year my period of decompression during those late night rides home, after a lengthy session of dealing with an assortment of barroom customers,  affords me the added pleasure of  being able to view those displays of light that adorn the structures of the socially and economically diversified inhabitants that populate my piece of eastern Pennsylvania. Unfortunately. during one of those recent drives my pre-Christmas cheer was somewhat dampened by a story heard on my car radio by way of the international news service provided by those rather proper folks at the British Broadcasting Company.

It appears that Mr. Putin’s imperialistic incursions into the Crimea might lessen the holiday bounty of those hardworking craftsmen responsible for the production of the AK-47. Just as they were getting ready to introduce a new version of that legendary rifle to the American market, the economic sanctions barring the importation of certain goods into the United States from Russia may have just put the kibosh on the Kalashnikov. And while a few less weapons being made available to our buying public during this season of peace and goodwill might appear to be a good thing for mankind, I suspect that those guns will eventually find their way into the hands of those individuals and groups that are far more likely to engage in the taking of life and the ongoing slaughter of the innocent. At least in the American marketplace, the majority of gun purchases are simply about the need to fill the toy chest, to make that occasional political statement, or to perhaps prop up one’s overly sensitive self esteem.

So how do we go about controlling the commerce of carnage and mitigating the merchandising of our misery?

Christmas CandleWhile it may appear that those answers are beyond our reach and comprehension, it is as it was on that winter’s night some two-thousand years ago. Our joy resides within the lives of our children, our hope within the counsel of wiser men–and our peace within the beat of a loving heart!

Wishing all our Family and Friends a Joyful Holiday Season!

Christmas in Lahaska

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

A Haunting in New Hampshire

Mount Washington Hotel

With a motto like “Live Free or Die” so ingrained in the mind and spirit of those who hail from “The Granite State”, there is probably no other place in the Union that expresses a more cavalier attitude toward the inevitable outcome of life. So it is of little wonder that some of  the state’s more stalwart former residents refuse to leave, even after they no longer have the corporal wherewithal to cast even a single vote in the New Hampshire primary.  One particular local that seems to be a gathering place for those restless specters is “The Cave“, a Prohibition era bar cleverly concealed below the porch of the  Mount Washington Hotel.  I recently received a call from David Correa, one of our readers  who along with his friend Brian Gregoire, may have captured some very interesting photographic evidence of these uncanny after hours activities.

In the course of our conversation we exchanged some theories and feelings about those veiled possibilities of life after death. I as usual took the position of  that skeptic that suspects that most of what we believe to be otherworldly is nothing more than the  result of malfunctioning technology. David on the other hand was of a more open mind, and upon hearing about some of his experiences during his own spiritual journey, I was better able to deal with those occurrences and personal losses that so often haunt my own life. And while our current technologies may not be able to provide portals to the dimension of the disembodied, they can connect us with those kind souls who can offer comfort and good counsel during those times of need.

May all your dealings with the spirits, whether they be liquid or ethereal in their nature, always be to your liking! Happy Halloween from the rogues and wraiths at American Public House Review!

Posted by: Chris Poh

Below are the images from The Cave at the Mount Washington Hotel.

The Cave_1

 

The Cave_2

The Cave_3

So What’s the Good Pirate to do on a Day Such as This?

The Atlantic Squadron

“I go so far as to say that I do not regret having been his prisoner for some time… He is not a bandit, not a murderer, but a patriot forced into acts of brigandage to save his native soil and his people from the yoke of tyranny.”   Ion Hanford Perdicaris

During the spring political campaign of 1904,  in an effort to bolster his chances to be an elected president after assuming that office from his assassinated predecessor William McKinley–Theodore Roosevelt  sent several Marine companies and a squadron of naval warships steaming toward the North African port of Tangier in order to rescue the abducted  American playboy Ion Perdicaris from the clutches of Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni (the leader of the Jebala tribal confederacy in Morocco) and  referred to by many of his detractors as “The last of the Barbary Pirates.”

The celebrated hero of San Juan Hill would use the incident to prove to both his party and the public the effectiveness of his   “Big Stick Philosophy” when asserting United States power abroad. But for anyone who has been following Ken Burns’ latest  documentary film about the Roosevelts,  it is clear that Teddy, like so many overly ambitious politicians, was willing to forego some truth when trying to influence public opinion. As it turned out, the P resident learned early on that the supposed victim in the affair was not even an American citizen. Mr. Perdicaris had given up his US passport many years earlier so that he could firmly reestablish his Greek citizenship.That fact remained hidden from the American people until the 1930s.  Furthermore, while government officials blustered that they wanted Perdicaris alive or Raisuni dead, the captor and his captive had already established a respectable friendship, and the so-called “Last of the Barbary Pirates” had vowed that no harm would befall Ion Perdicaris while he was in his care.

Ultimately,  Perdicaris was set free after the United States Government secretly prodded France and England to put pressure on the Sultan of Morocco  to cede to the financial and political demands of Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, his release was viewed as being the outcome of some very tough and well-orchestrated gunboat diplomacy. And as is so often the case when trying to decipher the dealings of mankind, it was difficult to distinguish between the villains and the virtuous.

But for you more principled pirates that are attempting to transcend the behaviors of those less than seaworthy scalawags in Washington, we offer the following revised code of  ethics.

  • Always put your best peg-leg forward.
  • Press your pantaloons.
  • Compliment the fit and finish of your shipmate’s puffy shirt.
  • Never fly your Jolly Roger above the Stars and Stripes.
  • Buy the next round of Grog.
  • Extend your hook to one in need.
  • Stand on the side of your shipmate’s good eye.
  • Share your booty with the less fortunate.
  • And always let your parrot have the last word!

Wishing all of our fellow buccaneers a most bountiful Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Click or strike the colors to view some past musings about the day. 

Richard Worley FlagHenry Every's Flag Calico Jack Rackham's Flag


 

Aaarrr!

Posted by: Chris Poh

Good Housekeeping 101

The_Clean_Sweep

A house divided against itself cannot stand.”   Mark 3:25 – as referenced by Abraham Lincoln in his speech to the Illinois Republican State Convention June 16, 1858

To the honorable ladies and gentlemen of the 113th United States Congress,

Now that you are back home in your respective districts, and I assume fully engaged in this year’s midterm scuffle, I would like to share my thoughts on what I believe might serve as a better strategy to bring some dignity, decorum and decency back to “The People’s House” come this fall.

At the age of sixty, I am both the beneficiary, and the occasional casualty of the character of this country. The inherent opportunities and resilient nature of America has allowed me to receive a quality education, become a teacher, writer, hold elected office in the state of New Jersey, own a tavern in the shadows of where Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton, and to function as a voice in public broadcasting during the last twenty-three years. But at the same time, I like so many Americans face a fairly insecure future as a direct result of the ongoing dysfunction and distrust in Washington.

So rather than spending countless sums of donor’s money on trying to defend against the pitchfork politics of those who want to dismantle our governing institutions, those politicians who truly believe in the hopes and aspirations of the Founders should rededicate themselves to the simple idea of providing bipartisan working governance—putting both people and principles before party! This is the spirit that will cause your constituents to live up to their side of the contract by returning them to the voting booth—thus restoring representation that reflects the true will and needs of the majority.

On some of those more practical political issues that will be the focus of slickly produced, half-truth sound bites in the upcoming weeks–here are my recommended responses to those carpetbagging cash cows attempting to influence the outcome of local races from afar:

  •  On Healthcare – While the President’s attempt to tackle an issue, that at  one time was agreed upon by both parties as being in need of major reform, might have its flaws, those relevant points of the legislation, such as providing care for those having preexisting conditions, should be protected. Unfortunately, there still remains too much disparity and inefficiency in our healthcare system. People will continue to die because they cannot access or afford the best treatments available today in this country. That is totally unacceptable! The mantra must be, “repair and improve” this landmark legislation.
  • On Immigration – Every American must ask themselves, what they would do if their children were faced with the conditions and violence that plague those who are crossing our southern borders, before reducing the issue to a matter of simply demanding that the government prosecute and remove legitimate refugees who are portrayed by some as part of some criminal class.

 Secondly, a comprehensive approach to immigration is extremely practical when addressing the future needs of both entitlements and the economy. Any country that has a diminishing birthrate will simply not have enough healthy, young workers fueling its economy, or paying those taxes that offset the financial requirements of those programs designed to provide a degree of well-being and income to an aging population. And in the United States, where today fewer and fewer companies are providing guaranteed security for their retirees by way of pensions and extended health benefits, our own system of Social Security and Medicare must be shored up and strengthened.

In short, our future growth and economic welfare is somewhat dependent upon those who come here from other lands in order to find a better way of life. But hasn’t that always been the American story—and one worth retelling again?

Members of the Continental Congress at the City Tavern in Philadelphia

Members of the Continental Congress at the City Tavern in Philadelphia

While I tend toward George Washington’s point of view on political parties that ultimately they would do more harm than good to the republic, I do support a worthy opposition that brings a different approach, new ideas and rational thought to the table. If enough of our elected representatives were to take the political high road (like those astute gentlemen who came together at Philadelphia’s old City Tavern after adjourning the Continental Congress) those now joining together at that table would be able to dine together, drink together, dialogue together—and yes perhaps even govern together!

Posted by: Chris Poh

Blue Tag

 

 

This Stuff Really is Self-evident

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When you get right down to it,  like many of mankind’s  defining  (yet seldom read)  documents,  our Declaration of Independence is that perfect fusion of optimism and enlightened thought attached to our need to complain about those who hold the power. So it is no wonder that an extremely vocal segment of  society will pervert the words of  Jefferson, Franklin and Adams in order to justify their own delusional rants against some imagined ongoing tyranny. But the true measure of  American virtue will not be decided by that handful of angry voices. The realization of our founder’s aspirations lies  with those who in their own pursuits of life, liberty and happiness do nothing to limit the potential and freedom of their fellowman.  Two such fine people, Adam Price and Susan Kimani, recently paid me a visit at the Indian Rock Inn.

For me this delightful young couple represent everything that is right with America. Susan is an artist and fashion designer who found her way to New York City by way of  Kenya, East Africa. Adam’s origins are somewhat less exotic. This extremely accomplished jazz musician, and may I add fellow bartender, is from Boyertown, PA. During our brief time together, we conversed about history, travel, music and beer. And since  all of us were devotees of the American cause, we reveled in our memories of consuming the Ales of the Revolution at Philadelphia’s renowned City Tavern.

RUNA_Promo_Photo_2014So to Susan and Adam, and all the followers of American Public House Review  we wish everyone a very joyous 4th of July! And to further aid in that celebration, we’ve included an absolutely wonderful version of our nation’s anthem. Click here to listen to the work of Francis  Scott key as performed by the Celtic group–Runa.

Posted by: Chris Poh

 

Closed for Repair (Take Two)

 

Closing Time at the Indian Rock InnIt was brought to my attention by a number of readers of the last post that something might have gone terribly awry with my attempt at condensing my thoughts into a bit of poetry. I want to assure those kind folks that I was not in anyway trying to emulate the unconventional style of E.E. Cummings, nor had any of my own fragmented behaviors and tendencies now become manifest in my writings. Apparently the problem was a matter of browser perspective. In my world of Google Chrome, everything appeared as it was meant to be. But for those using other browsers and smart phones that may have not been the case. So hopefully, this change from straight text to an image file will assure everyone that I am only mildly disjointed in my thinking.

Closed for Repair

Closed for Repair_3j

Blue Tag

 

 

Published in: on July 3, 2014 at 5:09 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

The First of the Day

Noel at the Brazen Head

With only a few more hours remaining before the raising up of that first pint in celebration of  another St. Patrick’s Day, I find myself soothing my own melancholic disposition with the usual measure of Irish music. And even though  it’s been some forty plus years since I first heard Tommy Makem  put his voice to “Four Green Fields,” I’m still in awe of a people that can extract mirth from misery, and create sweet song from the suffering and sorrow that has all too often been the consequence of Irish history. So in keeping with the spirit of the day and Erin’s fine musical tradition, we present a couple of our favorites from the archives of Parting Glass Media.

  • (a reprise of Rebels at the Rock)  – Why this particular video hasn’t gone viral is beyond my grasp of what the viewing public finds entertaining. But here in its entirety is a well-lubricated group of lads attempting to pay homage to that hero of Irish independence, James Connolly.

Irene Molloy And a perfectly sublime rendition of the “Fields of Athenry” from Irene Molly.

Wishing all of our friends a very joyful Saint Patrick’s Day from the staff and contributors of American Public House Review and Parting Glass Media!

Glasses Raised…Spirits Lifted…Journeys Shared!

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