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of Ship Inn - Milford, NJ
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"I’ve been going to the Ship for about 10 years now. It sits right on the Delaware River about 45 minutes from Allentown, PA (where I live.) If you are really into beer (I’m a beer judge), you’ll notice that this brewpub uses open fermenters which is something you don’t see at many brewpubs. If you really want to make an honest to god British Ale, you need this type of fermenter. The open fermenter is short and wide allowing a huge krausen (head) to form on top of the fermenting beer. Exposure to the air coaxes the yeast to produce lots of fruity esters, which are a trademark of Brit Style Ale. The drawback is that the beer doesn’t keep very long before going wild. This is do to the presence of harmless bacteria that fall into the fermenter and start to grow. When fresh, the bacteria add to the flavor, but eventually they spoil the beer by adding off flavors. You might experience this at the Ship, so be forwarded. I’ve found that they won’t charge you for a bad beer, though. However, this is all standard stuff for authentic Brit Ale, which tends to get drunk up long before it spoils! Typical brewpubs use sealed fermenters, which make it difficult to get the body and esters required for IPAs, etc. For example, one local brewpub here puts apricots into their IPA! A properly made IPA in an open fermenter will be full of fruit flavors, particularly apricot.
At the Ship, the result of this is wonderfully full-bodied ale. It’s old time England, right down to the Ringwood Yeast. The Ship has a trademark Best Bitter which is always on tap. Typically you’ll see an ESB, some type of brown, porter or stout and some type of light beer creation which you should pass on. If you want light beer, you’re in the wrong place! Their beers are rather high in alcohol content, I would say around 5%. So you might want to bring a designated driver along.
The food is authentic Brit style, however wings and nachos are also available. I’d recommend the Stilton Skins or Fish and Chips. Make sure you understand what Stilton Cheese is before you order, though!
This establishment was originally in the U.K., only to be transplanted to its present location. The owners are British, thus the authenticity. They claim to be New Jersey’s first brewpub, which I can’t dispute.
So if you want real Brit style ales, go to the Ship. The prices are very good, especially compared to nearby NYC, and the experience is unique.
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