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Ales from England provide a glimpse into the joys of traditional pub culture

EnglandTied houses. Firkin. Soft spile. Last orders. Like the many differences in the common language spoken by Americans and the English, the lingo of beer varies between the two brewing nations. Apart from this, England is the most difficult of all great brewing nations to represent adequately on a bottled beer list like the one at Rich O's Public House, because the glorious history of English brewing is preserved and perpetuated by its "real ales": Draft beers conditioned in their casks and served in a traditional manner (cellared, prepared, served only when ready and delivered to the waiting glass by hand pump). You can forget what you may have heard about other, lesser contributions to world culture and civilization on the part of the English. Real ale is England's crowning achievement, and those kids you see in English pubs who are drinking lager are consciously insulting the heritage of their nation as surely as if they were torching a flag or spitting on Princess Di's grave.

From brewery to pub, the real ale experience demands time, effort and knowledge. Owing to its delicate nature, it doesn't travel well, although some importers have inaugurated direct air shipments of real ale from England to selected areas on the eastern seaboard of America. Here in the heartland, we probably won't be seeing any of these in the near future. However, there are more bottle-conditioned ales available to us than ever before, and we're trying to add these to the list as they arrive.

Historically, England has not been a style-conscious brewing nation when it comes to cask ale. Pale ale usually is a relative term (not as dark as our other ale), and various designations of "bitter" have more to do with alcohol content than with hops. Export bottled brands offer more specific terminology, but not Germanic brewing precision. In spite of the obstacles and linguistic barriers, it's possible to offer a pleasing hint or three of the English brewing heritage.

Selected web resources:

Beer and Pubs UK
Real Ale Database


U.S.
U.S.

Belgium
Belgium

England
England

France
France

Germany
Germany

Scotland
Scotland

Ireland
Ireland

Swiss
Swiss

Czech
Czech

Austria
Austria

Europe
Europe

World
World Beers

 

 Rich O's Public House
 3312 Plaza Drive
 New Albany, IN 47150
 (812) 949-2804
 info@richos.com
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