Before reaching Gettysburg during terse April ’06 family trip, spent warm spring afternoon in Carlisle, thirty miles north, stopping by midtown staple, MARKET CROSS PUB & INN (established April Fools Day, 1994).
Located ground level inside an adorable red brick building housing second and third floor garden apartments, its quaintly provincial English-styled bar is front-center with TV’s on each side and dining sections to the right and left rear. Keg handles bedeck the walls alongside cool artifacts. A large mirrored Bass insignia at the bar, several Fullers banners above my table, olden wood furnishings and low ceilings provide the perfect English pub setting.
Well-respected British brews on tap included Boddington’s, John Courage, Guinness and several Young’s while sundry mixers worth trying were Lava Lamp (Framboise/ Stella Artois/ Guinness), Chocolate Covered Raspberry (Framboise with Young’s Chocolate Stout), Red Eye (Harp with tomato juice), and Smoothie (Guinness with cider). Large bottled selection featuring 100 Belgian, German, Scottish and Pennsylvania microbrews plus several phenomenal Unibroue’s from Canada impressed me even further.
A retired fellow at nearby table quaffed excellent Rogue Brutal Bitter while my family enjoyed English pub food and I munched Earl Of Stafford crab spread with Swiss cheese on sourdough roll. Back garage accommodated British hot water brew tanks plus wood and silver holding tanks containing fine beers and ales.
Basic soft-toned citric-tinged Market Cross Red merely set the stage for worthier hand-pumped cask-conditioned Excalibur Stout, a warm black cherry-fronted, raspberry puree-backed, black chocolate-y medium body gaining mocha-hazelnut illusions ‘til vanilla bean-embittered tar-like finish.
Better still: majestic Munich-fashioned Saaz-hopped Lion Heart Lager, a sharp red-fruited, cereal-grained, spice-tinged, vegetal-finishing, Helles-styled brew that tops nearly all in its class.
During September ’12 revisit, trivia night takes place while the first Monday Night Football game of the season is shown on both small TV’s at the cozy bar. My friend, Fred, and I munch on English cuisine such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, chicken pot pie and Shepherd’s pie after three orders of fabulous drunken clams.
Long-time brewmaster, Kevin Spicer, readied three previously untried beers (and one flagship standard) for tonight’s session. For a fruity appetizer, Midsummer Knight’s Wheat Apricot retained a soapy apricot-peach tartness saddled by soft-toned hops over a delicate honey wheat base. On reinspection, Market Cross Red balanced sweet and sour citric spicing with salt-watered brining, picking up a muted perfume hop waft over biscuit-y malts.
Along with dinner, Old Yeller IPA contrasted brisk grapefruit-peeled bittering with floral peach-apple-orange tang for an appealing medium body hopheads and regulars will enjoy. Cask Conditioned Bessie’s Best Brown Ale stayed smooth, offering a well-watered butternut smidge to distant dried fig, toffee and vanilla flourishes as well as musty cellared fungi undertones.