Annapolis tavern taps into historic past for new brew Rumney's ale is named for Colonial barkeeper

April 10, 1997|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Unless he's enjoying Maryland hard-shell crabs, Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary said, you usually won't catch him drinking a beer. He's more of a Coke or iced-tea kind of guy.

But more than 100 people watched Gary make an exception to his rule yesterday at the Ram's Head Tavern in Annapolis, when he tapped the first pint of Rumney's Tavern Ale and downed some of the beer.

The brew, which has a bittersweet, robust taste, is named in honor of Edward Rumney, a Londontown tavern keeper who put out the last call for drinks at his seaport bar 300 years ago.

The festivities at the Ram's Head were part of an effort to help the Londontown Foundation in its work at the 23-acre historic park in Edgewater.

The county owns the park, which is managed by the London Town Foundation Inc.

Archaeologists have been digging around at the site, looking for more insight into Rumney and his times.

How a historical site inspired a beer is a story that gets recounted this way, at least by Susan Gearing, executive director of the foundation: A couple of archaeologists were digging under a tent one hot summer day.

"They said, 'We could really use a beer,' and they started joking around that we should have a Rumney's beer since we're in a tavern.

"And I said, 'We could do that,' " Gearing said.

And they did.

Gary said he thought the resultant ale tasted "good."

"I'm not much of a beer drinker, but it has a nice taste to it. I don't think they'll make much of a profit off of me," he said. "But I'm hoping other people will find it appealing."

For every pint of Rumney's ale sold, the Ram's Head will donate 25 cents to the foundation, said William Muehlhauser, the tavern owner.

The ale was brewed at Fordham Brewing Co., the tavern's brewery.

Muehlhauser said he was glad to help out when Gearing approached him with the idea last summer.

"It's kind of neat," he said. "We're serving the beer in the tavern here, and we'll be able to help them get out their name to the public."

Brewmeister Allen Young said his concoction is "pretty similar to the Colonial type of beers you would find."

"It's not filtered. The hops give it the floral accent," he said.

Stephen Bassford, president of the foundation's board, said yesterday was special, a historical event even.

"I think it's quite a historical event myself to create a beer to try and replicate what people were drinking 300 years ago at our site in Londontown," Bassford said.

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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