In my memory I will always see
the town that I have loved so well
Where our school played ball by the gas yard wall
and we laughed through the smoke and the smell
Going home in the rain, running up the dark lane
past the jail and down behind the fountain
Those were happy days in so many, many ways
in the town I loved so well
— “The Town I Loved So Well,” by Phil Coulter
We at NABC love, and seemingly just as often loathe, our own town of New Albany. It’s a topic requiring more thought than time permits, not to mention occasional bouts of psychotherapy.
Beer helps, too.
Long ago, Celtic (KELL-tic, not SELL-tic) cultures expanded into many European territories. The advent of the Roman Empire gradually pushed them toward the continent’s western periphery, to remote green islands and misty, isolated coasts. In modern times, we think of the Celts as comprising Gaels (Irish, Scottish and Manx peoples), Welsh and Bretons.
It’s far more complicated than all that, but for our purposes today, it’s enough to know that a few central elements of convivial living, including music, beer, conversation and food, are stocks-in-trade of the Celts, and that among Celts, the Irish stand out as the most visible and enthusiastic proponents of these timeless virtues. While Irish origins are quite common in New Albany, descendants of all the Celts are here, drinking beer. Haggis Laddie is the one for them.
This anecdote, as relayed by Sean Cannon of the band known as the Dubliners, aptly explains it.
“In the Irish love triangle there are three parties involved: A man, and a woman – and drink.
“And so the girl gives an ultimatum to her boyfriend: It’s either the drink, or me.
“And he chooses the drink.
“But afterwards, he relents. They get married and live happily ever after … the three of them.”
Haggis Laddie is released annually on St. Patrick’s Day, and is available ONLY on draft at NABC’s two New Albany locations. Drink some before it’s gone.
Irish Red Ale
Flavor: Light- to medium-bodied, malt-accented.
Compare to: Smithwick’s, Kilkenny.
Description: From the Liffey to the Ohio, in ¾ time.
Recipe Suggestion: Add equal literary elements of James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, John Synge and W.B. Yeats to gifted instrumental musicianship, complete with fiddles, tin whistles, guitars and banjos, which on occasion can lead to jigs and reels. Spice the emerging concoction with everyday speaking voices that transform common English into lilting melodies, even when reading the Dublin phone book, and listen as golden-throated singers render these tunes into the realm of the ethereal and sublime. Enjoy the results as often as possible, with pints of Haggis Laddie at the ready. If necessary, munch on some crisps.