Thursday, 12 May 2011


I'm doing this all backwards. Or at least not in the right order. Just letting you know.

The Tuesday of my holiday was an exciting day. One I'd long awaited. A chance to try East India Porter. Someting I've dreamt of since I was a child. Ok, maybe not quite that long. For a couple of years. Since I finally twigged what EI stood for.

The release of the third beer in the Pretty Things Once Upon a Time series, 1855 Barclay Perkins East India Porter, was timed to coincide with my holiday. Boston being a bit too far from Washington, I was pencilled in for the second launch in New York. Held at the Rye House on 17th Street.

I took the train up. The normal Amtrak service rather than the high-speed Acela. That's hardly any faster and more than double the price. I did most of the route last year, though not all in one go. Pretty. That's exactly what the route isn't. Unless, like me, you're into urban and industrial decay. It's like the grottiest bits of South Yorkshire multiplied by the Ruhr and Strathclyde. Philadelphia in particular has some fine examples of crumbling terraced streets, with perhaps one house in ten occupied. Dead factories with shattered windows stare mournfully at the passing trains, the rails of their sidings rusting into the earth. It got me right into the mood for stepping back into 1855.

I arrived with just enough time to dump my bag at the hotel before moseying on down to Rye. It was packed. At first I thought it was just the after-work yuppie crowd. I was wrong. They were there to try the beer. Bit of a shock, that. Pleasing, but still a shock.

Dann soon pressed a glass of EIP into my hand, drawn from a pin on the bar. The beer didn't disappoint. There was the distinctive, roasty taste of brown malt that hovers in the space between cocoa, coffee and chocolate. And hops. Lots of those. And a stack of bitterness, piled up almost to the ceiling. A few more glasses threw themselves with unseemly haste down my throat.

"Take as many bottles as you want." Dann said the next day. How many could I comfortably carry? Seven seemed like a good number. Lucky for some. Lucky for me.

1 comment:

Gary Gillman said...

Good review Ron. I would keep those bottles for up to a year or more. It would be interesting to see if bitterness softens down, as the authorities claimed, and if elderberry sub-acidity would settle in. Being an export item, one would presume its palate was intended to be different than when new.