Sunday, March 23, 2008

Beer and pubs

When my parents first came to visit me in the US back in the early 90s we did some travelling around the northeastern United States. Everywhere we went, my dad asked what the local beer was. He was often greeted with a blank look. The only beer anyone ever seemed to suggest was Sam Adams. He was rather disappointed.

Last summer when they came to visit he had much more choice. There are far more microbrews available now - we have not one but THREE brewpubs practically within spitting distance. (Well, within a reasonably short drive anyway.) The Beer Advocate says:
Brewery and brewpub-wise, rough numbers show that ...

- Connecticut has 5 breweries and 12 brewpubs
- Maine has 14 breweries and 16 brewpubs
- Massachusetts has 18 breweries and 18 brewpubs
- New Hampshire has 6 breweries and 9 brewpubs
- Rhode Island has 3 breweries and 4 brewpubs
- Vermont has 14 breweries and 11 brewpubs

What's really cool is that these 130 breweries and brewpubs (give or take) in New England are making upwards of 2,000 different beers, within roughly 90 different styles of beer!
DH loves the fact that I do all the driving when we go to the UK. Having one beer with lunch and driving is not usually a problem for him - but when driving on the 'wrong' side of the road it would not be a good idea. He buys the latest version of the Good Pub Guide and spends a lot of time planning our itinerary around where he would like to have lunch and dinner. There was a wonderful place we had lunch the very first time he came to the UK with me. I was the one who had researched it that time as back then he didn't even know that such a thing as the Good Pub Guide existed. Sadly, we will probably never manage to find it again. He was convinced I was nuts as we drove what appeared to be miles out of our way to a tiny village that didn't look as though it could possibly support a decent pub, only to have an extremely enjoyable lunch. (Come to think about it, it was one of those pubs where children are absolutely not welcome, so it'll be years before we could go there again anyway!)

On our last trip we had dinner at The Mole and Chicken in Buckinghamshire which was a lot easier to find, even in the dark. They had fairly recently won the Buckinghamshire Dining Pub of the Year award, and we were not disappointed. The menu was excellent, the beers good, the attention to detail outstanding, and they were definitely a child-friendly place early on a quiet Sunday evening. Although obviously the designation of "Dining Pub of the Year" is likely to ensure that a pub is very busy, it's one that we will look for on our next trip to the UK.


Anonymous said...

Sounds lke an interesting 'pubcrawl' for your dad, complete with chauffeuse.
We have two small breweries near us and it's well worth a 40 minute drive to sample our favourite. You can buy it in some supermarkets but bottled is not as good.

Expat mum said...

My (American) husband says he always has to practise beer drinking before we go back to England as it's much stronger and people drink much quicker. Any excuse, is what I say.

Unknown said...

Small World, I regularly frequented the Mole & Chicken as I was living in Bucks. An excellent pub with wonderful food.

I miss Pubs here!

Almost American said...

Sablonneuse - yes, dad liked it that he didn't have to drive when he was visiting us here. (Just as DH loves it that I drive when we're in the UK!)

Expatmum - my DH liked that quotation from your husband - says it's one he'll use!

Sarah - yes, sometimes it is a small world isn't it? So many pubs in the UK, and one of my readers has been to one that I have! BTW, I admire you for having the courage to move to rural Oklahoma - more culture shock than I could deal with I think! (I have a very good friend who lives in Tulsa, and I can't fathom why he didn't leave OK years ago given his comments about life there!)

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