Would Samuel Adams be the perfect tonic for Presidential summit?

Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a full-blown media frenzy surrounding what kind of beer will be served at today’s White House meeting between President Obama, Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  (Not to overstate the obvious, but I think it is pretty clear that we here at Pub Talk have been further out in front of this story than even the largest of news organizations!)

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Today, CNN gets into the act with another story about what kind of beer the White House staff should serve.  I think if you look below you will find some terrific selections already offered by our staff, but the CNN story concerns another angle to this subject that we also covered long before CNN thought to report on it.  As I am sure you know, the President has stated a love for Budweiser products.  That’s all well and good.   But in the midst of trying to defend his status as a natural born citizen, we here at Pub Talk thought he would be best served politically by enjoying something produced by an American company, which Budweiser no longer is.

My suggestion was to go with something brewed in Hawaii.  It serves the duel purpose of being American, and showing a strong working knowledge of his own home state.  But there are apparently other options coming from other areas of our great brewing nation…

In a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal strongly urges the president not to drink Budweiser, now owned by a Belgian company. Nor should the White House consider serving Miller or Coors, Neal writes, both owned by a United Kingdom conglomerate.

Instead, the White House should serve the three men — all with ties to Massachusetts — the local favorite, not only because of its popularity in the region but also because it remains the largest American-owned and brewed beer, Neal says.

Samuel Adams Jim Koch has even offered to brew a special batch just for the occasion.  I suppose that is not such a bad idea, but I still think a Hawaiian brew would be the right choice to help settle many of the President’s current political issues…or whatever you call them!

By Dave McBride.  Follow Dave on Twitter!

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Can choosing the right beer help White House avoid political nightmare?

So you have all heard by now that President Obama plans to meet with Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge police department and Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University at the White House over a couple of beers and hash their problems out…okay, well maybe its intended to stop a media firestorm, but I digress.  Either way, the meeting is scheduled for this week and all attention now turns to the details.

Over this past weekend, America Public House Review editor Chris Poh offered a most noble of public services by suggesting some brews that might help ease the tension of said meeting.  Yes, suggesting they serve Loose Cannon Ale may seem to the White House staff to be, on the surface, somewhat snarky.  But perhaps a little humor and self-deprecation should be on the menu. 

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According to this morning’s Boston Herald, none of our suggestions seem to be at the top of the list.  But there still is time…

The beer selection for Thursday’s meeting is not known. Crowley prefers Blue Moon beer. Gates likes Beck’s and Red Stripe. The president drinks Budweiser.

First of all, I find it hilarious that some reporter actually cared enough to ask Gates and Crowley what beer they like.  (I also find it somewhat sad that these same reporters felt their time was best spent asking such a question…)  And I suppose taking their tastes into account may be a good way to break the ice.

However, there does seem to be a potential political disaster here for President Obama.  Doesn’t the president or at least someone in the West Wing realize that Budweiser is no longer an American company?  Couldn’t this lead to rumors that Obama was actually born in Belgium and not Honolulu??  Maybe he should switch to one of the fine beers offered by the Kona Brewing Company…just another public service from your friends at the American Public House Review.

by David McBride

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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IS THERE TROUBLE BREWING FOR YUENGLING?

YuenglingMy wife, Inez’s family and its extension by marriage has an enduring Thanksgiving custom. Each year, every able-bodied, adult male and, verily, a few intrepid females participate in a traditional touch football game that has long been known as the “Turkey Bowl.”  Nez is the oldest child of a large Irish family; one of nine. So, with my seven brothers-in-law, an assortment of their grown offspring,  my fellow “outlaw brother” who married into the menagerie by way of a sister, a gang of included friends, and myself, we have an epic encounter the size of which rivals the Battle of Waterloo. Now, perhaps as important as the game itself is the Miller Time which immediately follows. I say Miller Time, but in the past it could more accurately be referenced as Yuengling Time as that company’s lager was the one and only beer of choice for our annual post-game toast. This year however there were a variety of beers and nary a Yuengling among them.

It’s not my job to bring the beer. Four of my brothers-in-law are union carpenters and it has always been their generosity that provided the essential elixir of our yearly communion. When I questioned the obvious break from tradition, they informed me that although Yuengling is now the largest, domestic, privately owned brewery in the U.S. (Sam Adams is bigger, but is publicly owned and all of the familiar big boys have been sold to foreign corporations), a boycott movement is beginning to ripple through the ranks of American unionized workers. My brothers told me that on May 29th, 2007 Yuengling Brewery tossed the Teamsters Union out of their operations. It took more than a year for the news to spread throughout the concerned population, but it is now becoming widely known, and at least some beer-drinking folks who build and maintain our country’s infrastructure, businesses, and domiciles are reacting – at least those who are members, or are in support of unions.

Personally, I really enjoy Yuengling’s products and am proud to have our nation’s oldest brewery in my neck of the woods. Whether or not the company’s fall from the graces of certain, previously loyal aficionados represents a significant threat to their market position remains to be seen.

Ed Petersen, Creative Director of American Public House Review

                                                                     

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American Public House Review celebrates first anniversary!

Today we begin our one year anniversary of the American Public House Review.  Last October our journey began and it is hard to believe that we have been at it for a year already.  But this is a labor of love, and as is the case of with most fun things time really flies.
details at the Braveheart

details at the Braveheart

In observance of this anniversary month, we here at the Pub Talk blog will take a look back at some of our favorite places we visited in this last year.  To begin, we travel back to a place we enjoyed in our very first issue.  It is a fabulous Scottish Pub in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley called “Braveheart Highland Pub”.

With big towns like Bethlehem, Easton, and Allentown right near by, it is easy to pass over Hellertown.  But if you are a lover of great pubs, that would be a mistake.  “Braveheart” is an attraction onto itself.  Whether you want great food, a terrific beer selection, or football from the United Kingdom you’ll find it there.

Posted by: David McBride

Goodbye to the big ballpark in the Bronx

Well, old friend, I guess this is goodbye.  Throughout my life, there have been few I have looked forward to seeing more than you.  Each year when winter would finally break, nothing brought a smile to my face like the site of you on opening day.  What will the world be like now without you?

No matter how hard things got, there was always you.  When we sat in the bleachers watching a last place team, it was worth it because of you.  When we had to live with disappointments like Andy Hawkins losing a no-hitter, we always had you.  And in these last few years of prosperity, you shined all the brighter, proving to the country that there truly is only one “stadium”.  You can keep your parks and fields.  I got a stadium.  And not just a stadium, THE stadium.

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

Even though money and space has kept us apart more than together these last few years, my affection for you has never diminished.  Sure there is nothing quite like a trip to seeing my old friend, but you always seemed to love the television cameras as well.  And the cameras loved you right back.  Even those never lucky enough to visit the greatest baseball field in history knew what you were all about.

I’ll admit that I did not come to see you this season and say goodbye.  It was just too hard for me.  Seeing that gorgeous field and touching the monuments to our past heroes was something I didn’t want to forever remember as a sad event.  Instead I have nothing but fond memories.  Do you remember that day when I was only maybe 8 years old, when Dad, my brother, and I came to see the Yanks play the Royals in the blistering July heat?  I know our boys lost by a bunch, but this kid was thrilled just to see Reggie hit a couple into the right field bleachers.  Or how about that time I came to see you for game 6 of the 2000 ALCS?  We all knew the Mets were waiting for us, but we needed to win and close out the Mariners.  When David Justice launched a ball into the upper deck to take the lead, I could feel the floor shaking under my seat.  I could just tell you were lovin’ it!

I’ve never been one for tearful goodbyes, but as these current Yankees departed your company last night with the high class defined by that uniform for last time, I could feel a tear fall down my cheek.  Fare thee well, my old friend.  And thank you for all you have given me.  You will never be forgotten.

by David McBride

Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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When a Good Tavern also Makes a Good Courtroom

In our article from the Dublin Pub in Morristown, NJ we touch a bit on the part the town’s taverns played during the American Revolution.  One in particular was, according to records, located at the corner of Spring and Water streets.  It was called the Norris Tavern (though I have also seen it referred to as Dickerson’s Tavern) and it was the location of perhaps America’s most famous court-martial.

Benedict Arnold was a hero, a sort of rock star, during the America Revolution.  But despite his lofty status amongst the common patriot, he had many detractors in the Army and Congress.  It seemed Arnold could never keep his nose clean, despite the many amazing achievements and unparalleled acts of bravery he performed for the Continental Army.

Benedict Arnold from Library of Congres

Benedict Arnold from Library of Congres

 Arnold’s storied career began with the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in New York, whose guns were used to break the British blockade in Boston.  But to Arnold’s chagrin, Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys received most of the credit.  Arnold then led an expedition of men on an impossible trek up the Kennebec River through Maine’s unforgiving wilderness to invade Quebec.  The fact that he made it to the walled city was nothing short of miraculous, but Arnold was wounded seriously in the leg during the failed attempt to take the city.  In the aftermath of Arnold’s hard fought defeat, he was accused of financial improprieties. 

In October of 1776, Arnold pulled off perhaps his most incredible feat.  Knowing that the British were looking to sail down Lake Champlain and on to the Hudson River to cut off the northern colonies from the southern colonies, Benedict Arnold literally built a fleet of warships out of the woods.  He fought the British Navy at Valcour Island, and though his boats were literally smashed to pieces, he inflicted enough damage to send the British back up the lake and give the Americans another winter in control of the important Hudson River.  But despite this, he was passed over for promotion in 1777.  His anger got the best of him and he resigned from the Army, only to have an appreciative George Washington convince him to come back.

Saratoga, New York was probably Arnold’s most famous moment.  His inspirational leadership no doubt helped win the most important battle the Americans had won in the war up to that point, and he was shot again in the same leg wounded in Quebec.  But in order to commit these acts of heroism and sacrifice, Arnold had to defy the orders of his superior.  Soon after the battle he was promoted, but his defiance of orders and history of insubordination made many in the army and congress question the value of his promotion.

Soon Arnold was too injured to carry on in active combat duty.  He was then assigned to command troops within the recently reacquired city of Philadelphia.  It was a cushy job to say the least, and Arnold seemed to enjoy it.  He led a luxurious life filled with expensive belongings and lavish parties, which made many suspicious, especially those who already did not hold him in the same high regard Washington had.  To make matters worse, Arnold had a habit of being friendly with the city’s loyalist population.  He even married the daughter of one Philadelphia’s most prominent Tories.  So it should have come as no surprise when Arnold was brought up on charges of what we might call “war profiteering”.

Still a firm supporter of Benedict Arnold’s, General George Washington urged him to submit himself to a court-martial in order to properly clear his name, something it appears Washington was certain of.  After months of delays, which certainly did not help to improve Arnold’s mood, the trial began right before Christmas of 1779 at the Norris Tavern in Morristown, New Jersey. 

Colonial Tavern

Benedict Arnold, who labored to walk thanks to the wounds he suffered, no doubt painted a dashing portrait of a man who had given nearly everything he could for the cause of independence.  His impassioned defense made an impression on those who saw it, but the court still found him guilty on two of the charges.  Washington was instructed by the court to reprimand him, which he begrudgingly did.What Washington, and those who sat on the court, and everyone who was moved by his defense did not know was that while all this was happening Arnold was plotting to betray everyone in that room.  And that is exactly what he did.

Blue Tag

 

Posted by: David McBride, Marketing Director

Comedian George Carlin dies in California at age 71

The world has lost yet another giant, as the legendary comedian George Carlin died yesterday of heart failure in California.  He was 71 years old.  Take a look at the Associated Press article for a nice look at back at his life and career.

photo taken from GeorgeCarlin.com

For me, Carlin was at the very top of the list in his profession.  I waited for the new HBO specials with anticipation and made sure I read nearly all of his books.  Besides being incredibly funny, Carlin was an amazingly astute observer in the world.  Behind the sarcasm, wit and the occasionally obvious frustration with the world, you always had a sense that Carlin, despite has attitude, was hoping to make the world a better place.

So we here at the American Public House Review offer our prayers to the family of George Carlin.  And to the man himself, who will likely go down as the most influential comedian of his time, we say “thanks for the laughs”.  (And here’s hoping Saint Peter has the same sense of humor I have!!!)

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 7:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Learning to appreciate a genius

I did not begin my time watching Tim Russert as a fan of his.  The first few times I watched him on “Meet the Press”, I was not blown away.  In fact, I was often left frustrated and aggravated with Mr. Russert and his questioning.  But after a while I came to realize the brilliance of this incredibly important journalist who we may never replace.

I couldn’t figure out what is politics were.  Sometimes he would grill people, and sometimes he wouldn’t.  The now famous interview with David Duke showed a man who was the equivalent of a media pit bull, going after the gubernatorial candidate with such veracity and intelligence that Duke nearly melted on camera.  But other times he would not confront people, instead allowing them to answer his questions and move along to other topics, whether they were telling the truth or not.  I couldn’t figure it out, and it frustrated me.

But soon I started to realize that nearly every time a politician was caught in a lie or drastically changing his or her position the proof came from a past appearance on “Meet the Press”.  Whenever someone was confronted with their own answers, it always seemed to be Russert’s voice that asked the question.  They were on the record and the country benefited time and again from that record.

You see it wasn’t that Russert thought less of Duke then others, though he may very well have.  He just wouldn’t stop until Duke had answered the questions so the state of Louisiana had the information it needed to make a critical decision.  When others chose to answer more swiftly, whether Mr. Russert knew the answer was correct or incorrect, he simply let them answer and then would stand by and let history be the judge.  He knew history was often a much more damning judge than any one man could ever be.  Rather then confronting people with a personal and thinly veiled agenda, Tim Russert gave everyone an equal chance to pass or fail the nation’s test of integrity.  He never made himself the judge.  How few in the media can say that about themselves now?

So from a man who needed some time to appreciate you, I offer a most heartfelt “thank you” to the man who set the bar for all the rest of the media to be judged with.  God go with you, Tim.  You are an inspiration for all of us.  Oh yeah, and “Go Bills!”

by David McBride of the American Public House Review

Published in: on June 18, 2008 at 7:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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A ghostly tale from behind the walls

With all of the talk on this blog in recent weeks about ghosts and hauntings, I thought I would relay to you one of my own paranormal experiences.  It took place in a town we have talked about quite a bit, in a building whose sad story has already been told on the American Public House Review.  It was my first trip inside the Carbon County Jail in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

Now let me begin by saying that I am not a self proclaimed medium.  I am not at all sensitive to so-called spirit activity.  I have never once walked into a place and felt a “presence” and I am somewhat suspicious of those who do.  And to the credit of the people giving us a tour of this historic site, there wasn’t really much talk of ghosts and haunting.  This was instead mostly an important local history lesson, and a compelling one.  Outside of the famous handprint on the wall, very little was said about the supernatural. 

The jail is a fascinating place.  It does have an amazingly macabre feel right down to the architecture and simple details.  But as we toured through the main part of the jail, nothing seemed at all disturbing to me outside the incredibly disturbing details of what happened within these thick walls.  Then we made our way downstairs into the basement or the “dungeon” as they used to call it.  This was where people were kept in an incredibly harsh solitary confinement.   As we descended the staircase, the air began to feel heavier to me.

I was at the end of the line, lagging behind as usually happens to me on these types of tours.  I always end up reading or looking at something for too long.  So I hurried to catch up.  As I moved down the stairs, I could feel my nerves building, though I was not at all aware of why.  I could hear the tour guide speaking about the dungeon, but didn’t comprehend much of it at all.  As I crossed into the dungeon a feeling of fear hit me.  I looked around the place, as the group listened in very dim lighting to tales of human suffering.  For a brief moment, in a cell behind the tour group to my left, I thought I saw a man, mostly cast in shadow, kneeling on the ground. There was no doubt it was a man, but I couldn’t make out a face.  I knew it was not a fellow tourist.  But who was it? 

Within an instant, I flinched to my right, putting my hand to my face as if to block something or someone from hitting me.  But nothing was there.  For some unforeseen reason, I felt as if I had to guard my face from an assault.  Now I was just downright intimidated.  Tour or no tour, I was getting out of there.

I walked quickly out of the dungeon and back up the stairs.  I could hear the tour guide asking my friends if there was a problem, but I was not going back no matter what.  As soon as I made it back up the stairs, the feelings stopped.  And then I went through all the ways I could think of to rationalize the experience.  Was that just a shadow reflecting on the wall in the cell?  Was I feeling some kind of claustrophobia down there?  Was that just a bug I saw out of the corner of my right eye?  I had no idea.  All I did know was that it was time for a drink…

by Dave McBride

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