The Ship Inn British Brewpub (NJ). Anyone been there?
I am a huge fan of English beer. So when I heard about The Ship Inn (61 Bridge Street, Milford NJ) I became very intrigued. I went to their website and they say little about what they actually brew (i.e. what's on tap now). In addition to their own brew they have a huge bottle list of beer from Britain. Has anybody been there and if so how is their brewed beer and how well maintained are the bottle selections?
I used to stop in whenever I was in that part of the state (it's why I used to agree to shop in Flemington- lunch at Ship Inn after a bit of a drive!), even before the brewpub license when they did have an impressive collection of UK beers, draught and bottled for the time.
I've got to say, tho', that the last few times I visited, I've been very unhappy. Both times were in the afternoon (can't recall if it was weekday or weekend) and the place was unpleasantly loud and crowded (as opposed to the old image I had of being "a quiet sleepy pub"). Granted, that's probably not seen as a negative to the owner. My other big complaint was poor service at the bar - the bartender seemed more interested in friends at the bar than serving me. I asked for a "beer menu" and after several attempts at having one of their beers, with said bartender coming back each time, sort of disgusted at *my* choices, with "We're out of that" "Empty" "Not today" (Geez, how 'bout having an accurate beer list?)... I just left.
Should you go? How far out of the way is it/is it going to be a destination or are you just in the area? Despite my dissatisfaction the last few times, I'd still stop in and hope for the best if I was in the area but wouldn't make a separate trip. Reviews on the beer/bar sites show that most people have been luckily that I am (altho' a lack of their own beer is noted often), so don't take my b*tchin' as gospel.
I like to do some cycling in Hunterdon County and then have lunch or dinner; some real ale is always appreciated. The food at the Ship is nothing to go out of your way for, IMO. After living in England for several years it did indeed remind me of mediocre pub fare, so in one sense it is authentic. And on several visits the selection of beers has been thin, without even featuring a cask ale (not all of their beers are on cask). Since I could care less about the UK imports we normally get here in the US, I had one or two of the Ship's own and moved on. Having said that, they are capable of producing a good beer at times.
If you're an English beer fan, then The Ship is the place to go in the tri state area. They stock only beers from Great Britain. The selection both on tap and in bottle is pretty extensive but frustrating when you settle on a beer and they've sold out. It was explained to me that some beers are not easy to get on a consistent basis. As for their own brew, well the brewer seems to have a hard time keeping up because everything he brews is popular. His latest, Randy's PanHead Porter, named for one of the regular customers, is the latest hit. As for the food, we've never had a bad meal. it's unpretentious, ample and tasty food. Goes great with the beer. Maybe it was noisy and crowded because people are catching on.
Well I finally got to the Ship Inn to grab some growlers for an English beer tasting that I hosted. The place CALLS me now. Sure the food was just ok but it was like being in Britain a little like when the waitress brought out the HP sauce and my son and I ate many pastry things with pork inside them and the look of the place just sort of put me there. But I loved the beer mainly both on tap and bottles. Where else could I have gotten a "Best" and a "Special" Bitter on draft?
Just imagine that the Delaware is actually the Thames and your there.
See you soon "Ship".