My brother-in-law Brian, knowing of my involvement with and interest in good beer, invited the missus and me down to his hometown to quaff a pint or four in the local pub. He asserted that it had a decent beer list, and that it offered victual that would satisfy. So down to Bordentown we went.
The Pubscout is a sucker for old-ish towns that look like they could have been alive in the American Revolution, and Bordentown (City), NJ fits that bill. Tree-lined streets, slate-roofed houses, mansard roofs, carriage blocks and hitching posts are visible everywhere.
The architecture is both stunning and fascinating. The shape of the homes and businesses hearkens back to the days of an America not yet 75 years old. Quaint is a word that’s often overused, but entirely apropos here. It was not hard to envision horse-drawn carriages pulled by their clip-clopping, snorting, pie- dropping engines on the streets, nor to imagine Thomas Paine or Ben Franklin ambling over the slate sidewalks on their way to an important meeting—most of which usually took place in a pub. Over beers, ales and spirits, news was disseminated and the revolutionary spirit was defined, debated and adopted. It is no stretch, therefore, to say that American Independence itself was born and bred in brew. Surely brewing played a major role in the brewing revolution.
And the pub we ambled to this day is called The Farnsworth House, named for an English Quaker by the name of Thomas Farnsworth who was the first person to settle the area in 1682. I thought it odd that the town itself wasn’t named after Farnsworth, who arrived 35 years before the town namesake Joseph Borden. But life isn't always fair, I suppose.
If you go, especially if you walk up from the Delaware River, you’ll know you’re at the right place when you see the four-storey image of the Quaker Oats man sans his glasses on the side of an old brick building. But if you park on Farnsworth Ave. in front of the place you might miss it. No problem, however, because you’ll also miss something else—parking meters. Nary a one in sight. Refreshing, that.
Almost as refreshing as many of the beers on the Farnsworth House’s interesting beer list. I began our visit with a Six Point Sweet Action, ordered the missus a Weyerbacher Blanche (which she liked very much) and Brian ordered a River Horse Summer Blonde. The menu looked enticing, but we opted for a lunch of pub-grub. Our lunches were very good and mine was accompanied by a 21st Amendment Back in Black, which was outstanding. Brian’s second was a Schlafly Pale Ale. For dessert, I ordered a 9.2% ABV Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine, and the missus tried a 10% ABV Dogfish Head Red and White. It didn’t tickle her fancy, so yours truly commandeered it. Just to make sure it did not go to waste, of course.
Our Founding Fathers would have frowned on wasting good ale, I’m sure.
And in a neat town like Bordentown, you don’t want Frowning Founding Fathers. But you do want to make a return visit ASAP.
If you enjoy Frenchtown, Lambertville, New Hope and the like, pay a visit to Bordentown and the Farnsworth House.