“The flavor of hops from England’s finest hop gardens…”
I’m celebrating “Independence Day” by drinking brew from the country we fought to be independent from, Britain. And only through Britain’s colonizing of India (theoretically) have we been blessed with the India Pale Ale, true bitter glory of hopped up brewing. India, another country that was a “British Colony” that won it’s independence the hard way as well. I’ve selected an India Ale also because of the "independence" common denominator.
I’m also very much aware that without the great tradition of brewing that came from England along with the first Colonists, we’d be without beer. A sad commentary indeed! The one swell thing about America I want to celebrate this year on "the Fourth" is that we've never been without beer, thanks to where this country got some of its brewing roots.
When I was in the UK years ago, I stopped into a London pub not far from Parliament to have a pint and wait out the uncomfortable Tube rush hour traffic. I rationalized I’d been on my feet all day working as a tourist and needed a little tonic for my joint aches and pains. The pub I found had Samuel Smith’s Pure Brewed Lager on tap, and the fantastic hour-glass shaped pint glass with pictures of growing barley and hops was my “selling point.” I wanted what everyone else was having out of that magnificent glass. Two pints later I was in love with everything English, including waiting on the Tube platform amongst the remnants of rush hour. The only buzz kill was the detours on the Tube due to lines “out of service.” Nonetheless, the magnificent buzz off of that lager created a glorious memory of my experience, and when I was back in California, I found out that Samuel Smith was available in retail liquor stores—specifically BevMo which has most of their bottled imports. http://www.bevmo.com/
Because of colonization by the British, there was a considerable trade in beer to India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The only way ale could be preserved for the three or four month trip around the Cape of Good Hope and through the Indian Ocean to Bombay was to add quantities of hops while brewing, distinguishing the IPA (India Pale Ale) style.
A pure filtered amber color draws you to the tasting experience of Samuel Smith’s IPA: a balanced restraint of malted hops with a lingering mid-palate rich honey malt finish. This is one of my favorite kinds of “sipping ales”—a kind of luxury where all you need is the brew in front of you and a few good mates to drink with. The rest is pure enjoyment of what pub brewing is all about.
Give Samuel Smith brews a try and get to know great British brewing tradition. http://www.merchantduvin.com/pages/5_breweries/samsmith.html
Also, for your viewing pleasure I found a cool virtual vacation website featuring the Great British Beer Festival 2009, and some of the local notable pubs: http://www.classiccitybrew.com/gbbf09.html
Here’s the link for the Great British Beer Festival, Earls Court, London, 2010:
Put a little bit of "British pub" in your glass collection for the luxury of enjoying imported brews...