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Friday, July 4, 2008

The Session #17 -- Declaring my Independence

It's The Session, beer blogging on a common topic, and this month it's "drinking anti-seasonally." See all the links soon here.

Rob DeNunzio ("Pfiff!") declared that this month's Session would be about "Drinking anti-seasonally." Rob has a bit more than the usual beer geek's animus towards light lager, and I think he wanted us all to drink heavy in the heat.

Screw that. I chose to interpret this differently, aided by the calendar and Thomas Jefferson. Today is Independence Day in America, The Glorious Fourth of July, and I chose to celebrate for The Session by going to a brewpub owned by Englishmen and drinking English-type real ales brewed on an English-made system with English yeast. That's anti-seasonal, in my book.

My wife's brothers are here for the long holiday weekend. This morning, Carl and I loaded up our bikes and headed to Stockton, NJ, up along the Delaware River. We rode the Delaware & Raritan State Park trail 12 miles to Frenchtown, then 4 miles up a decidedly more dodgy single-track to Milford. We racked and locked the bikes, changed into fresh t-shirts, and parked our butts at the bar of the Ship Inn. We each got 20 oz. pints of cask Best Bitter, and got thoroughly stuck into them.

The Ship Inn is a Ringwood yeast brewery, a yeast that raises the hackles of many a geek. To use Mr. DeNunzio's title: pfiff. Beer is as beer does, my momma always said (no, she didn't, but what the hell, Tom Hanks never played ping pong with the Chinese, either), and this is good beer. So good we had another, and then got a 5 liter polypin to take home.

I'm a solid American, a patriot, and I'll be picking up my craft beer (Sierra Nevada Summerfest and Flying Fish Farmhouse) later today. But those pints of English ale, hard-won by a long ride and standing determinedly session-strength against a craft onslaught of "Bigger! Bitter! Stuffed with more flavor than you can taste!", were a counter-move that made my day. Glad we smoothed things over with the Limeys.


Alan said...

Hail from Ontario's Loyalist Plymouth Rock.. But to balance off, I made sure I got my fill of US craft beer as well as a rather tasty mint julep tonight. Happy fourth of July. Happy that you all left it at that.

Ron Pattinson said...

Wish I could get a cask beer regularly, even if it were Bitter. I'm still hoping someone will open an Edwardian pub for me to drink in. That's a pub selling Edwardian-strength beer. A nice 5% Mild and a strong-handpulled Stout.

We prefer to be called Poms. Well, don't prefer it. Just more used to hearing it.