Monday, June 25, 2012

Beer in Providence: English Cellar Alehouse

Tina made a recent trip to Providence to attend a conference at her alma mater. Walking up the street, reminiscing, she noticed what had been a quaint cocktail lounge when she was at school there in the 90s was now an English style pub. English Cellar Alehouse is tucked in the basement of a building and would be easy to miss save for the signage on the street. She stood there and debated entering her old haunt, but finally said “what the heck!” and descended the stairs. This was definitely a cellar, and upon entering, she felt like she’d entered an old pub much like the ones she and Nate and frequented on their honeymoon in England. There was even soccer on the TV and rock on the radio as she sat at the bar. A cozy fireplace and communal tables only added to the quaintness of the pub. The only hint you were not in England? The Ivy League students speaking American!

Tina's beer, atop the menu.

Tina would not classify herself as a beer drinker, by any means. Yet, the 11 page beer menu (200+ beers!) was impressive, featuring 10 rotating beers on tap (in “small” and “large” sizes). There was also bourbon and single malt scotch--but no wine in sight. That was OK, she was prepared! She chose a small Weihenstephan Hefeweizen (pronounced "V-eye-in Shteff-an") from Germany as a small tribute to their recent trip and then chose a simple cheeseburger from their burger menu, offering several variations on the simple theme. The service was the appropriate level of helpful and “leave you to yourself.” The burger was exactly what she was looking for, the fries lightly drizzled in a blue cheese for an extra value add.
Served on fake newspaper, English style.
In terms of the pairing, Tina realized that Weihenstephan Hefeweizen has a citrus quality. While she's enjoyed it with BBQ (the acid in the tomato sauce plays well), it was not as well paired with the burger. The beer was great, the burger was fine, but the pairing was not well-matched. Another learning opportunity.

As she sat at the bar and remembered many college evenings spent there in what was the psychedelic cocktail lounge sharing a Cosmo with a friend, Tina found comfort in the fact that while most things change, there is hope in what the new brings.

Tina's notes, written on what was available.

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