TRIUMPH BREWING COMPANY'S
DECK IS RIGHT ON THE TRACKS
|After giving it some very careful consideration, I’ve
come to the conclusion that brew pubs and vintage railroads without
question go hand in hand. So for the first feature article, in what
will be an ongoing column entitled Tracks and Taverns,
I’ve decided to
write a piece from the bar of the TRIUMPH
BREWING COMPANY, which was
constructed as part of the gentrification of a former industrial site
located across from the main depot and station of the New Hope
and Ivyland Railroad.
|As I sit trackside sipping a Bengal Gold IPA, my eyes
glance back and forth at the steel vessels that power both of these
enterprises. I am struck by the similarities between brew kettles and
steam locomotives. Whether the end result be foam from a tap or smoke
from a funnel, the impact that boiling water has had on civilization is
really quite amazing. Nations have forged out territories, wilderness
and wild spirits have been tamed, wars won, and disputes settled, all
as the result of man’s ingenuity, imagination and ability to harness
the primary elements in combination with a few of nature’s ingredients.
But before I get carried away in a torrent of grand sweeping
generalities and proclamations used to support this analogy, let me
bring into play my own personal experience.
NEW HOPE & IVYLAND'S STALWART DIESEL
|My interest in trains and beer were on a parallel
heading from an early age. As a youngster I would gather quite often
with a few friends along the freight tracks that ran through the
western edge of Teaneck, New Jersey. On occasion there was the sharing
of a warm can of Pabst, Piels or Knickerbocker that had been pinched
from the garage or basement of some unsuspecting parent. At some point
we would hear the tale of woe from the poor unfortunate lad who had
discovered that parents are seldom unsuspecting. But during those
devilish days of our youth, the rewards always outweighed the risk. And
for those brief moments, as we would raise a can of beer to those that
manned the great engines that pulled the cars of the Norfolk Southern,
Reading and Jersey Central - one had a sense of the possibilities that
awaited us on the other side of childhood.
A few years later, at a time when I
was expanding my
taste in beer beyond native shores, I also began to travel unescorted
by rail. American lagers in aluminum gave way to English session ales
in glass, and family jaunts on the New York City subway were replaced
with excursions on Amtrak’s Metro-liner. It was then that I came to the
personal realization that nothing soothed the sometimes melancholic
nature of young adulthood better than riding on a finely engineered
train or drinking a well crafted beer.
TRIUMPH OFFERS A FINE SELECTION OF
NEW HOPE & IVYLAND RAILROAD'S OLD STEAM
|With the advent of brew pubs in the 1980s came the
resurrection of the
brewer’s art. Following the traditions and styles of the brew houses of
Colonial America, once again small batches of handcrafted products were
made available for consumption at their point of origin.
At about the same time, while this country was experiencing the
continued decline in passenger rail service, a new interest in
America’s railroad history was being cultivated. Nationwide stretches
of abandoned track were being purchased by private concerns that sought
to promote, preserve and honor that legacy from the age of steam.
Over the years I’ve straddled many a
barstool, and whenever the
opportunity presented itself I’ve taken a ride on the rolling stock.
It’s been an abounding journey of bar rails from Maine to California
and steel rails from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the banks of the
Firth of Forth.
|As I continue my tasting at TRIUMPH,
having now moved onto their
delicious Amber Ale, my ponderings about the commonality of brew pubs
and railroads persist. My contemplations about the particular rails
which I am presently flanked by bring about some concluding insights.
Both brewers and trainmen share an exceptional passion for their
product, a dedication to proper service and a common commitment to
generously impart to the public knowledge and understanding of their
Having long been a customer of both
the NEW HOPE & IVYLAND RAILROAD
and TRIUMPH BREWING COMPANY – I
highly recommend the ride
on either rail.
TRIUMPH BREWING COMPANY
400 UNION SQUARE
NEW HOPE, PENNSYLVANIA 18938
HOPE & IVYLAND RAILROAD
32 WEST BRIDGE STREET
NEW HOPE, PENNSYLVANIA
(215) 862 2332