Setting Sail to Safer Seas

Narragansett Bay – photo by Mark Paltridge

Perhaps it was just the usual flurry of televised bad news and the seemingly never-ending baffling behavior by the gentleman at the helm of our foundering ship of state that caused me to consider forgoing my usual morning cup of coffee in favor of a way before noon tankard of grog. But then I remembered it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day! So before the sun sets over the yardarm, let us once again review my own personal code of buccaneer decorum so that you’ll be better equipped to navigate these troubling tides as you make way for safe harbor and happy hour.

  • Always put your best peg-leg forward.
  • Remember to 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 your crew the next round of Grog.
  • Extend your hook to one in need.
  • Never wear more than one eye patch while steering the ship.
  • Share your booty with the less fortunate.
  • And always let your parrot have the last word!

Included below are a few of our favorite shanties guaranteed to woo any wench or prancing privateer.

A Very Hearty Yo Ho and Aaarrr from the Crew at American Public House Review!

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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

Life is Just a Bowl of Chili

“Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili”  Harry James, American Musician/Bandleader (1916-1983)

“Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili”       Last words of Kit Carson, American Frontiersman (1809-1868)

Beverly Blais - Jimmy's Saloon - Newport, RIMy eternal quest for the quintessential bowl of that historic mainstay of Texan cowboy cuisine recently brought me to Jimmy’s Saloon in Newport, Rhode Island. There Miss Beverly Blaise, “The Contessa of the Con Carne” makes her magic utilizing the traditional trail ingredients. The end result is nothing less than piquant perfection!

But chili, like most concoctions at the hand of man, is subject to a bit of interpretation–and ultimately a whole lot of competition–giving rise to that great national culinary contest known as the “cook-off.”                 

Don GarridoI have not been lucky enough to attend one of those splendid events in the southwestern United States, but on a couple of occasions I’ve enjoyed the yearly Super Bowl Sunday chili competition held at Pearly Baker’s Alehouse in Easton, Pennsylvania. It was there that my good friend Don Garrido first introduced me to his own legendary method of taming the capsicum pepper plant. And like all fabled recipes there were more than a couple of surprises in the mix–one of them being SPAM. So clean out your old footlocker, or just reach into your Carnival Cruise Line survival kit, because Don Garrido has agreed to share his epicurean secrets with the readers of American Public House Review.

523 Chorizo SPAM ChiliSPAM Shot Glass

 4 dried chipotle chilies
2 dried ancho chilies
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 ¼ pounds chorizo, casings removed and meat coarsely chopped
1 can SPAM, cubed into ½ in cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1- 15 oz can garbanzos (or black beans), rinsed and drained
1- 14 ½ oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1- 15 ½ oz can corn niblets, drained
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons Nutella
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce with garlic and onions
1- 12 oz beer (or ale) 

Place the chilies in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 30 minutes to soften. When soft, seed and stem the chilies. Puree the chilies with the barbecue sauce in a blender or food processor. Set aside.

In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven sauté the onions in butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chorizo and SPAM and cook over medium heat until browned, about 8 minutes. Drain off most of the fat. Add the chili puree, garlic, garbanzos, tomatoes, corn, chili powder, Nutella, instant coffee, Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beer, as needed, to keep the chili moist, but not wet.

(A couple of Recommended Beer Pairings)

Rogue Dead Guy AleWagner Valley IPA

<Rogue Dead Guy Ale

      Wagner Valley IPA>

Posted by: Chris Poh

Looking for God on the Gulf Coast

The need to establish a deeply reflective relationship at water’s edge has deposited me on many different shorelines over the years. Like a man in search for the right congregation, I’ve walked beaches from the Gulf of Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, looking for my purpose and position in God’s grand scheme. Currently my favorite place of worship is the stretch of ocean and sand at Easton’s Beach in Newport, Rhode Island. Their morning services consist of long contemplative strolls, afternoons are toes in the tide baptism, and evenings are spent raising a cup to creation from the choir loft at Flo’s Clam Shack.

Sadly, these waters in Narragansett Bay, like so much of our oceans, have been impacted by the misdeeds and miscalculations of mankind. As we embark on the celebration of a return to warmer days in our hemisphere, the staff at American Public House Review will keep in our thoughts and prayers our fellow citizens whose lives will be effected by the ongoing environmental catastrophe along our southern shores. 

And to those  who work to preserve and protect our beaches, marine life and sacred waters, we raise our glasses and wish them fair winds and following seas!

Posted by: Chris Poh

Summertime Submarine Watching

Ohio Class Nuclear SubmarineA gentle rain fell on the streets of New London as Fran and I sipped our pints of Cottrell Old Yankee Ale at the bar of the Bank Street Road House. During breaks in our conversation, I would cast my gaze beyond the back deck and across  the channel of the Thames River in hopes of spying a Virginia or Ohio class submarine making its way upstream to the Electric Boat facility at Groton. On this particular  August afternoon, the behemoths of “The Silent Service” would not rise from the depths. Though south of my position something was stirring up Atlantic waters.

A Russian Intruder?An interesting photograph found its way onto the internet of a surfer in the waters off  Strathmere, New Jersey. In the background appeared to be what was  possibly a  Russian nuclear submarine. Staff writer John West, who was on assignment at McMenemy’s Pub in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was summoned back to New Jersey to take  command of naval operations from aboard the Escape Goat (the flag ship of  American Public House Review’s Atlantic fleet). As fate would have it, the boat was conveniently docked across from Maynard’s Cafe in Margate, New Jersey–in close proximity to the supposed Russian intruder.

Commander West on Patrol in the Waters off Strathmere, NJCommander West began his investigation at Maynard’s,  knowing full well that this legendary local hub of hard partying and well respected repository of useless information was the kind of joint foreign agents might target in order to glean military secrets. When he was satisfied that nothing sensitive was compromised, other than the inside line on next week’s Notre Dame game, he moved the “Escape Goat” to the docks adjacent to Twisties Tavern in Strathmere. Once more his inquiries did not turn up anything unusual other than a report of a group of pale skinned tourists asking how many rubles were needed to purchase a Twisties tee shirt and a bottle of vodka. Commander West concluded that what was being mistaken as a Russian intruder was nothing more than a deep sea dredging operation.

After filing his report with the Coast Guard,  John returned to Portsmouth to complete his story about  McMenemy’s Pub. According to his findings, this fine old Irish tavern may be haunted by a number of  the ladies that provided companionship and comfort to the sailors who served on the more than seventy submarines that were built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard during the Second World War. One of which, “The Galloping Ghost of the Japanese Coast” the USS Torsk now keeps a watchful periscope on our favorite pubs in Baltimore: The Wharf Rat, Slainte Irish Pub and the Cat’s Eye.

USS Torsk - Inner Harbor Baltimore

 

For those of you that are still not convinced that our shores are safe from an incursion by the Soviet Navy, our own intelligence gathering unit, operating out of the Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Rhode Island, has confirmed that the only Russian sub operating in U.S. waters this summer was the Juliette class K-77. She was commissioned on October 31st, 1965, and assigned to the Soviet Northern Fleet. The submarine remained on active duty until 1988, and was decommissioned in the early 1990s. In 1994, the boat was sold to a Finnish businessman, and it was operated as a rather unique restaurant and watering hole, (this writer’s idea of a great “Dive Bar.”)

Juliette Class K-77

In 2000, the K-77 was moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where it was used in the film K-19: The Widow Maker, the fact based film starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson. Then in 2002, the boat began its final assignment as a museum ship operating with the USS Saratoga Museum Foundation in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2007, the K-77 sunk after a combination of high tides, heavy winds and a storm surge flooded the submarine . The boat was raised in 2008, but the extensive damage made restoration and repair economically unfeasible. Sadly, the Juliett Class K-77 made her final voyage on August 11th, 2009, down the Providence River to a site owned by RI Recycled Metals to be dismantled for scrap.

Juliette Class K-77

The staff and writers of American Public House Review salute all those intrepid souls that have served in “The Silent Service”– and we raise a glass to those that are still on patrol!

Thanks to stevehdc for his photo of the Torsk.

Posted by: Chris Poh

The Lion In Summer

Hammersmith Farm - Photo By: Susan Sipprelle

For the second time now I’ve watched an American flag fly at half-mast over the waters of Newport, Rhode Island marking the passing of yet  another member of the Kennedy family. On a July afternoon ten years earlier, my wife and I looked on from the deck of the Rum Runner as Hugh D. Auchincloss III, the stepbrother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, lowered the flag at his property at Hammersmith Farm. It had been confirmed earlier that day that all souls on board the Piper Saratoga piloted by John Kennedy Jr. had gone down in the Atlantic off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Now on this perfect August morning as I stood near the lowered colors at Newport’s Easton’s Beach, my thoughts turned to the life and legacy of the last lion of the U.S. Senate.

Easton's Beach - Middletown, RI

Even in this New England community that continues to celebrate its strong ties to the Camelot era of the political dynasty, the Kennedy name evokes strong emotions.  From bootleggers to the beatified, the family is either vilified or venerated. And Ted, as much as any one of his bloodline, fulfilled our need to imbue our public figures with those qualities that allow us to imagine them as devils or angels – depending upon one’s particular political persuasion.

By my take, based upon the hours of conversations and comments overheard at the bar at Flo’s Clam Shack in Middletown, RI on the day after his death, Senator Edward Moore Kennedy will be remembered as the greatest legislator and statesman of the last fifty years, or just another fortunate son of privledge that was not held accountable for his sins of the past. The immutable forces that apply to human nature dictate that the truth, as always, is somewhere close to the middle of our perception and observations.

JFK at Hammersmith Farms - National Archives, Public Domain

It is interesting to note though, that his  longevity in the senate may have come about as a result of his greatest failing. The tradgedy at Chappaquiddick rendered him impotent as his brother’s  heir apparent to the White House; but the citizens of Massachusetts entrusted him with a reign that would allow him to develop his legislative prowess.

Even as I write this piece I find myself at great odds about my own  feelings toward the late senator. Anytime one truly makes an effort to consider and delve into the lives of those that we’ve elevated beyond the status of  being human, we leave ourselves open to the probability of internal conflict  and disappointment. With the possible exception of  “His Excellency” George Washington, all those that were worth their salt as leaders seemed to have been equally proportioned with the potential to be a saint or a scoundrel on any given day.

So it is probably best that we continue to honor, commerorate and give thanks to those that have dedicated their lives to serving this nation, and allow providence to sort out those flaws that are inherent  in all of us.

Ted Kennedy - Congressional Photo, Public Domain

 

Give praise to the regal lion – just remember that he is still  a lion!

Thanks to Susan Sipprelle for her photo of Hammersmith Farm.

Posted by: Chris Poh

One Man’s Pirate…

Errol Flynn from Captain BloodLike so many of my fellow countrymen, I couldn’t help but feel some degree of personal pride and satisfaction knowing that our boys on the fantail of the Bainbridge had bested those freebooting  buccaneers from Somalia. And with the liberation of  Captain Richard Phillips another chapter in this nation’s struggle against Africa’s nautical thuggery  has been brought to a successful close. With the speculation already in progress as to who should be cast in the role of the good captain, so that this tale of treachery on the high seas can be delivered into the comfort of our living rooms, we would do well to remember that one man’s pirate is another man’s privateer.

On the streets of Mogadishu and in villages throughout Somalia the members of this ad hoc ragtag navy are the heroes. If this chaotic shattered nation had any form of functioning governance these seafaring brigands would be operating with a Letter of Marque. The rape of the fish stocks  and the dumping of toxic waste in Somalian waters by foreign concerns fostered the  relationship between starving  fisherman and the street militias whose common goal it was to drive the invaders from their shores. Unfortunately the resulting financial bounty associated with their initial efforts cultivated the current climate of  criminal  behavior.

“For inside the body of many an honorable privateer lurks the soul of a dishonorable pirate.”  Captain Chris “Yo Ho” Poh

Our own history reveals a more than accomodating attitude towards piracy when it served our national interests. From the early eighteenth century during the infamous Triangle trade, through the American Revolution and into the War of 1812 we allowed the maritime mercenary to do our bidding. Perhaps the customary eye patch is less accoutrement and  more  metaphor  for what happens when nations turn a blind eye to the improprieties of scoundrels.

So here I am once again facing that simple fact that we live in a world where there is no black or white other than what we hoist up the mast before firing that first shot across the bow. A Jolly Roger

So I will, as I have done so many times in the past, embrace my inner pirate by pouring myself  a pint of Clipper City Loose Cannon Ale and singing a few verses of “A Pirate’s Life For Me.”

Clipper City Loose Cannon AleYo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage we plunder, we rifle and loot.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We extort, we pilfer, we filch and sack.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
Maraud and embezzle and even high jack.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We kindle and char, we inflame and ignite.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
We burn up the city, we’re really a fright.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

We’re rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
We’re devils and black sheep, really bad eggs.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

We’re beggars and blighters and ne’er do-well cads,
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
Aye, but we’re loved by our mommies and dads,
Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
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Posted by: Chris Poh, Yo Ho

 

 

Finding our way to the Trinity

This week’s installment to the American Public House Review takes us on a journey through Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay and up the Providence River to the state’s capitol city.  We follow Chris Poh from bay to river to city streets, and at the end of the trail lies what most of us hope to find after a long excursion over land and sea…good beer.

Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, RI

Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, RI

In his article entitled “Beyond the Pale”, Chris gives us a little taste of Rhode Island’s brewing past and then introduces us to its delicious brewing present and future found at the Trinity Brewhouse on Fountain Street in Providence.  Rhode Island may be a small state, but it never fails to impress every time I make it there.

Here’s Two for the Soul

For the better part of October American Public House Review has been sharing  memories of some of the outstanding pubs that our editors and writers have visited during the first year of this publication; but I thought we might take a break from the nostalgic and interject some upcoming content.

The photo at the top of the post was taken by Barry Botelho, photographer and purveyor of the famed “Twin Lobster Rolls” at Easton’s Beach in Newport, Rhode Island. 

The piece of music that you are about to experience, “In the Beginning” is by JP Jones, an acclaimed singer songwriter who also resides near this stretch of beach.

Both artist’s work will be included in an upcoming article about Flo’s Clam Shack, which just so happens to be located on this side of the rainbow.

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher

The Dim Light of Truth

 

In a recent episode of the HBO series,”John Adams,” Laura Linney in the role of Abigail Adams displays a deftness for diplomacy as she dines with Admiral d’Estaing, just after the French Royal Navy puts into Boston after their unsuccessful campaigns against the British Fleet at New York and Rhode Island. Meanwhile, her husband John is doing a less than admirable job of courting French favor in Paris. This brilliant production explores the powerful political and personal partnership of America’s first couple. It also presents an accurate accounting of the faults and frailties of the architects of this republic. Had these men been subject to today’s standards of  behavior and decorum we would still be paying too much for tea.

But alas, history tends to expunge the misdeeds and misgivings of great men. By most accounts even the French fare well in the telling of the American Revolution.  

White Horse Tavern in Newport as seen in American Public House Review

 In the November issue of American Public House Review this author, after a few single malts at the famed White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island, expounds on the virtues of The Comte de Rochambeau and other assorted Frenchmen that aided America’s cause for independence. Hopefully this recounting holds up to the light of historic truth, or at the very least – the light of a dimly lit tavern.

White Horse Tavern at night as seen in American Public House Review

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