Beer and New England go way back. In fact,
when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock centuries ago, it was because they
had run out of beer. In their own words, the crew decided to make an early
landing because, in their own words, “Our victuals being much spent,
especially our beer.” These are definitely guys after my own heart and had
their priorities in the right place. Maybe then my love for beer has
something to do with heredity, since I can trace my family lineage to one
William Bradford who came over on the Mayflower and later became governor of
the Plymouth Colony.
Once settled in New England, the colonists went right to work on the
important stuff: brewing beer. Admittedly, the beers they made at first
might not have much resembled what we call beer today, since malt was a
rather scarce commodity. Molasses was often used as a substitute and later
corn or other fermentables. A ditty popular in those days went as follows:
Oh we can make liquor to sweeten our lips,
Of pumpkins, of parsnips, of walnut-tree chips
The pumpkins sound appetizing at least. In later days, around the dawn of
the 18th century or so, a beverage known as flip became popular. Flip was a
mixed drink so to speak, combining about two parts strong, bitter ale with
one part of a mixture that might include sugar, cream, eggs, molasses,
pumpkin, and rum. Keep in mind that in these days beer was an important
component of the diet and supplied calories and vitamins. A drink like flip
could satisfy important nutritive needs. Once mixed, a hot poker was usually
placed into the mug off flip to make it froth and bubble.
OK, by now you’re asking yourself what the heck does all this have to do
with Sea Dog Old East India Pale Ale? I’m getting there, rest assured. You
see, there I was drinking my glass of Sea Dog’s wonderful IPA and reading a
book that mentioned colonial drinking habits. Then I thought about flip, and
decided to make one. Though IPAs were not yet around in the days of flip,
bitter beers were and the Sea Dog certainly fit the bill in that department.
I mixed about 8 ounces of beer with an ounce of light cream, a well-beaten
egg, and a spoon of sugar. I had microwaved the beer for about 30 seconds to
bring it to room temperature, and now I needed the hot poker. Not having a
fireplace or a poker, I baked a cast iron turning fork for about 15 minutes
at 400 degrees in the oven and then inserted it into my earthenware mug of
flip. Wow! The stuff bubbled and hissed like crazy. Now it was time for the
moment of truth. How did my flip taste? Pretty good actually. The bitterness
of the Sea Dog IPA melded nicely with the sweetness of the sugar and
richness of the cream. Some of the sugar had caramelized it seemed and gave
the beverage a wonderful burnt character. Next time I think I’ll add a dash
of rum, too.
You don’t have to use this wonderful New England Ale in an old New England
recipe to enjoy it, however. Sea Dog’s East India Pale Ale is fine all by
itself. Though Sea Dog does have several brewpubs in Maine, their bottled
beer of late has been produced by Shipyard Brewing in Portland.
Sea Dog Old East India Pale Ale pours to a deep chestnut color with a light
head formation and a malty Ringwood-yeast laced nose. The palate is rich and
full-bodied with a solid mouthfeel and strong notes of buttery diacetyl,
wonderfully bold toasty malt, chewy caramel, mushroomy Ringwood notes and an
impressively bitter hop finish. A complex, delicious brew with multiple
flavor layers coming at you from all directions.
Try it, you'll like it.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.