Looking for hidden gems in bars has been my goal throughout this writing project of mine, but also finding bars that are off the town’s radar is a great byproduct of my search as well.
My travels have taken me for this installment of A Man Walks Into a Bar to the Miracle Pub located at 201 Route 37 West.
This pub is not hidden in the sense that you can’t find it from the road because it certainly stands out from the bland doctors' offices and building in the area near Community Medical Center.
You can’t get a sense of how large the bar is initially and if you were to come in using the front entrance, you might think it was just the liquor store from the package goods area in the front. For a long time, when I was just a Boy Wanting to Walk Into a Bar, I was under this impression also. With age came wisdom, a minor drinking problem, and a desire to expand my pub horizons leading me to try it out. I am quite happy that I did.
I set out on my latest highly scientific research mission with a friend this time. As a nod to the show Dragnet, I will change the name to protect the innocent and we will call him Guy.
I started the tab for the night and at the end of the night when it was time to settle up, the bartender identified us as “Tom and Guy” and thus a nickname was born.
Upon arrival, we did a thorough scan of the taps behind the bar and were left uninspired. They have all the Mega-Brews and a few nice seasonal selections, but nothing at this time that was on par with the high standards that have been set forth by my sophisticated readers. Feeling defeated on the unique brew front, I resigned that it was going to be a Miller Lite kind of night and bellied up to watch some NBA Playoffs and would have to wait another day to make a Grand Beer Discovery.
After doing our best to give our lovely bartender tennis elbow with how often we were asking her for refills, I realized that I was falling into a trap that I had warned you, the reader, against in my very first column. I was relying too much on the beers offered on tap and neglected the bottle selection!
Once I got over the shame of my omission, I asked the bartender if she could tell me what the best, most uncommonly ordered beer in the cooler was. She met this question with the level of confusion and slight annoyance that is to be expected at such an odd and vague request before she responded with the sentence that turned the night around: “Anything we offer in the liquor store, you can get at the bar.”
And with that, she turned water (Miller Lite) into wine (McSorely’s Irish Pale Ale). A true beer miracle. Surely you didn’t think I’d go this whole column without making an awful Miracle pun, did you?
The beer we enjoyed is the commercially available version of the beer found at the famous McSorely’s Old Ale House in New York City located at 15 East 7th Street in Manhattan. First opened in 1851, the history of this bar is as rich as the balanced flavor found in its Irish Pale Ale. No decorations have been taken off the walls since 1910 and many dignitaries have visited it over the years ranging from Abraham Lincoln to John Lennon. I cannot confirm that Honest Abe or a Beatle has ever been in the Miracle Pub, but as long as the delivery guy who brings the Six Packs keeps showing up, it’s good enough for me.
I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Guy pointed out a golden rule when it comes to ordering quality beer from a bottle: Always get a glass and pour it out.
The opening of a beer bottle does nothing to provide you with the aroma of the beer, and scent plays a significant role in getting a true feel of the flavor. Visually, getting a look at the color of the beverage also helps to play a role in how we judge it. The Irish Pale Ale had a reddish, copper color while the nose had some subtle caramel sweetness present.
By consuming in the bottle, these details would have gone undiscovered and over looked.
We both agreed that there was a strong malt presence in the flavor with a little bit of hop bitterness on the end to make the finish crisp. I felt this was a good session beer (drinkable over a long period of time in one sitting) where Guy felt it was a beer best accompanied with a meal. At 5.5% ABV and an abundance of flavor we both strongly agreed on one last thing: There was no going back to Miller Lite on that night after having the McSorely’s Irish Pale Ale.