Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bermuda's Hog Penny Pub

Hog Penny Pub Interior
Taking advantage of the adage that says “those who save for a rainy day die in the sun,” the missus and I recently headed for the island of Bermuda on a cruise.

And, once in the quaint, picturesque town of Hamilton on Burnaby Street, we took advantage of Bermuda’s ancestral ties to England to experience an authentic English pub that was actually cobbled together from chunks and parts of other pubs in England.

Joanna Wellman
The Hog Penny, which has been variously a bicycle shop, a meat slaughterhouse and a discotheque, has two distinct seating levels.
According to its literature, it was the inspiration for the Cheers Pub in Boston, and if the personable and friendly Joanna Wellman is on duty, the Hog Penny may also become the place where everybody knows your name. 

The pub is one of five owned by a conglomerate: The Victoria Grill, the Barracuda Grill, The Pickled Onion (all in Hamilton) and The Frog and Onion out on King’s Wharf in the Royal Navy Dockyard.

Dockyard beers served here
The Hog Penny serves a variety of beers, but Dockyard Brewing is the house brew. Based in the Frog and Onion, the brewery originally began in the North Rock Brewery and Restaurant, but it outgrew that venue as demand increased. 

Dockyard produces five regular beers: Trunk Island Pale (IPA), Black Anchor Porter, Somers Amber (English Bitter), St. David’s Lager (Czech Pilsener) and Whale of Wheat (Hefeweizen). My IPA was very good, and the missus enjoyed her Hefeweizen—and apparently the folks at Beer Advocate agree. 

Hog Penny's Award-Winning Fish Chowder
I paired my beer with a delicious dish called the Hot Melt, but if I had it a do-over, I’d hook it up with the Hog Penny’s award-winning Fish Chowder, a spicy mix of ingredients that would have been a perfect match.

At the next table over, we got to chatting with shipmates Annette and Rich Sontag who looked too young to be celebrating their 49th anniversary with two beers and two fish chowders. But they raved about it. Rich, perhaps buoyed by the beer, ecstatic over the chowder and caught up in the spirit of the spontaneous celebration (which the affable Joanna Wellman officially recognized) even left me his personal credit card—which I gave back to him on the ship after a wild shopping spree through pricey Hamilton shops.

Annette and Rich Sontag
Only kidding. (But I’ll admit I was tempted to give it to the missus and tell her to have at it.)

But the Sontags were surely good people, which is what good pubs with good beer are supposed to be about, and The Hog Penny qualifies as not only a good pub, but a great one. You can get quality beer and food, become immersed in the unique ambience of Bermuda’s oldest licensed pub and enjoy the bric-a-brac lining the walls from its storied past. If you’re a true pub lover and you’re ever in Bermuda, don’t miss it.

(And if you smile at Joanna, she may give you the Fish Chowder recipe.)

The PubScout

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