Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain.
Quaintest thoughts, queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away.
What care I how time advances:
I am drinking ale today.

For years the above ditty was attributed to Edgar Allen Poe. It was supposedly written to pay a bar tab at a tavern in Lowell, Mass., circa 1848, the year before Poe died at age 40. The original manuscript supposedly hung on the tavern wall until it disappeared in 1892. A man who said he was a bartender at the establishment related the piece from memory as a work by Poe.
Great story because it relates both to Poe’s storied penchant for drink and his impoverishment, but the Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore rejected the ale poem as a Poe work in March 2013 when someone provided them with the actual poem by George Arnold, which is titled “Drinking Wine” and was originally published by a Boston publisher in an 1867 collection of Arnold’s work, the unfortunately titled Poems Grave and Gay. It is virtually the same poem but for the final line. Instead of ale, Arnold’s kicker is, as his title indicates, wine.
The “Poe ale poem” made the rounds among craft beer fans for years, so it’s hard to hear that it started out as an ode to wine. I relished the thought that Poe got such a kick from beer.
I wondered about these things as I enjoyed The Poet, a beautiful, raven-colored oatmeal stout from the New Holland Brewing Co. There is, in fact, a raven on the label, intoning something – perhaps “Nevermore” – in silhouette against a full moon.
The Poet is a big beautiful brew rich with dark tones of chocolate and coffee. The fact that Poe never turned out a paen to beer doesn’t sting so much when The Poet works its magic.
As it turns out, George Arnold was a multi-faceted drinker because he wrote about beer before his wine piece in an 1866 collection called  Drift: A Sea-Shore Idyl and Other Poems. Read it and you’ll see why some smart brewer ought to brew a nut brown ale called George Arnold.

By George Arnold

    With my beer
I sit,
While golden moments flit:
    They pass
Unheeded by:
And, as they fly,
Being dry,
    Sit, idly sipping here
    My beer.

O, finer far
Than fame, or riches, are
The graceful smoke-wreaths of this free cigar!
    Should I
    Weep, wail, or sigh?
    What if luck has passed me by?
What if my hopes are dead,—
My pleasures fled?
    Have I not still
    My fill
Of right good cheer,—
Cigars and beer?

    Go, whining youth,
Go, weep and wail,
Sigh and grow pale,
    Weave melancholy rhymes
    On the old times,
Whose joys like shadowy ghosts appear,—
But leave me to my beer!
    Gold is dross,—
    Love is loss,—
So, if I gulp my sorrows down,
Or see them drown
In foamy draughts of old nut-brown,
Then do I wear the crown,
    Without the cross!

Maibock: Another Harbinger of Spring

In case you still need it, another harbinger of spring arrived on Good Friday at the Shipwrecked Brew Pub in Egg Harbor when a delicious, limited edition Maibock went on tap. It’s everything a good Maibock should be – crisp, clean and full of promise. With its coppery hue and tight, white head, this beer has physical beauty as well as delicious taste.
Brewmaster Rich Zielke handed over the brewing reins to assistant brewer Sam Koelling for the spring Maibock, so it’s Sam’s first go at a beer from recipe to finished product. Way to go, Sam!
Sam talks about the Maibock here:

Get it while you can!