Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bridge on the River Delaware

The strains of the Col. Bogey March may not dance through your mind's ear as you cross from Riegelsville, NJ into Riegelsville, PA, but they would certainly be appropriate. The fantastic Riegelsville Bridge, designed by none other than the famous John Roebling, is undergoing much needed, and, according to a local resident, long overdue, structural rehab. That work, however, will not prevent you from crossing the Delaware via that 100+ year-old span.

Good thing, too. Because just on the other side is the Riegelsville Inn. The Blue Eagle powered me to this historic (1838) site, where I gave my butt a break and hoped to slake my thirst with a good beer in a cool pub.

Having been both delighted and disappointed by other spontaneous breaks from motorcycling, my fingers were crossed at this place. Signs that it was going to fall on the "delightful" side of the ledger began with my meeting of the lovely Yolanda. She was both welcoming and friendly, and directed me straight to the pub on the first floor. Though I could have sat outside on the veranda, I usually opt for the friendly--and hopefully air-conditioned-- ambience--of a pub, especially in an old building.

This one, small and intimate, was tended by a comely young lass named Meredith, who balked at having her photo taken. Can't say as I blame her, either. A grizzly old biker, clad in jeans and a leather vest, with a camera and a line about being a writer--about beer, no less-- does little to inspire faith in these days of internet snooping, geo-mapping and online stalking. Being a gentleman (even in my biker attire), I honored her request; but I apologize to my readers for not having her picture available, as she was, quite simply, a stunner. Nice kid, too.

My disappointment was short-lived, however, as I noticed a healthy lineup of bottled beers, and, lo! Troeg's Sunshine Pils on tap! Still-camera-shy Meredith poured me one and gave me a menu.

I opted for the Riegelsville Inn homemade chili, with some fries on the side. Sweet and spicy, topped with melted cheese and sour cream this was easily one of the best chilis I have had anywhere. It worked perfectly with the Troeg's, too. And unlike that place in New Hope I panned last week, the tab for this lunch was under $15.

The building itself is so old that the floors, stairs and bannisters are pleasantly uneven. My trip up the second floor loo was a trip back through time, and I could only imagine the ghosts of all those who trod those boards.

And speaking of trips back, I took a stroll out behind the Riegelsville Inn and discovered a dining area adjacent to a canal. The canal's water was clear and fast-moving (for a canal, anyway), and I asked a worker on break if the diners back here were bothered by bugs and mosquitoes. He allowed that when the canal was not moving, the bugs were controlled by citronella candles, daisycutters and surface-to-surface missiles.

Perhaps I exaggerate, but for me nothing destroys a great meal faster than having to swat away pesky insects, and I would willingly level a place to kill that one fly that keeps landing on my food. But, the good news is now that the canal had reopened permanently, the Inn is no longer bugged by bugs.

I'd still opt for inside, though. It's so old and quaint, the very walls seem to talk. You can see the pics here.

And maybe the next time I go back, which I assuredly will, Meredith will have had a change of heart and allow me to include her photo as well.

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