BRAINS BITTER IN THE STATES
Has anyone ever found Brains Bitter from Wales in the States?
Seems like this came up a few year ago (or maybe someone was looking for "Welsh Ale", a brand name Brains has used here).
Pretty sure that there've been a few Brains beers exported to the US- one labeled "Traditional Welsh Ale" and a "Celtic Dark" but I don't think they've been available for several years. (Usually UK brewers don't call their bottled products "bitter" in the US, since that term has negative connotations here. Don't know if any draught ever made it over.)
The last company listed as importing it was Manneken-Brussels, Imports. Not much on their current website - http://www.mbibeer.com/
The OLD BAY in New Brunswick, NJ had Brains on draft breifly back in the early 90's. I believe that it was by special arrangement, and possibly even exclusively (at least initially).
Some background... At the time, the OLD BAY had an aggressive and knowledgeable bar manager who sought out and courted many American, European, and British brewers to obtain products otherwise not available either in the regiou and in some cases, unavailable in the USA at all. As long ago as 1992, they were serving cask conditioned real ale flown in from Young's, Fuller's, and others . A number of British and European beers actually made their U.S. debut in little old New Brunswick, NJ at the OLD BAY.
The place is still a nice place to tip a few back, even if it seems more mainstream these days. But back in 1988 and for a good number of years thereafter, there was no place like it anywhere for such a mind boggling array of great draft brews as they featured.
I have no financial interest in the place...just a happy customer for 21 years.
re: Jim Dorsch
Yes Jim, it was indeed Chris Demitri. Really had a passion for the beer selection there and was a trendsetter. It was a sad day when he left the OLD BAY, but it seems he was under some pressure to dumb down and scale back the beer thing. In that, the OLD BAY has succeeded. Still a good place, just a shadow of itself.
re: The Professor
I agree that Old Bay, for NJ, still has a pretty good draught line-up (tho', it no longer being open in the early afternoon, I've not stopped in for several years and that alone admittedly affects my negative view of the current place) But the "beer knowledge" of the place has gone down drastically since the Dimitri era. The handpump has long been "for decorative purposes only", IIRC.
Here's their website/beer menu's description for Pilsner Urquell from earlier this year that's just cringe-worthy on several levels (beer and geo-political):
""Pilsner Urquell - $3.25/$4.50
The original Pilsner style beer brewed in Czechoslovakia since 1842, golden colored, with the rich bouquet of Zatec hops which gave the bitterness needed to balance the soft malt body. Czechoslovakia's is like the dark horse of the brewing industry. I mean, the first pilsner ever! Who would have thought? Tell you what, I don't know about you, but I'm going to be keeping an eye on the Czechoslovakians. It's like one day you're like, "What's Czechoslovakia?" and the next day you're saying, "Damn, those Czechoslovakians! They're so wise."