The Americans are coming


Cowes will be welcoming many yachtsmen from the US this summer. Their taste in drinks may differ quite a lot from ours so why not try some for yourself?

There is going to be a distinct American presence in and around Cowes this year. The 2015 Transatlantic Race from Newport, Rhode Island will be arriving around mid-July with the prize giving scheduled during the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary Regatta, then Cowes Week and this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, marking the 90th anniversary of the first Fastnet in 1925, which led directly to the founding of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.


Here are a couple of American drinks to add an American theme to our own regatta season.

New York Ice Tea is a well known cocktail over the waters but less so here. Harry Brompton’s Alcoholic Ice Tea made in London aims to bring the experience to UK drinkers in a handy ready-mixed bottle.

At four per cent, the 275ml bottle counts as 1.1 UK units. Lightly sparkling, made from Kenyan tea with added distilled grain spirit and infused with citrus giving it a tangy taste, it is a clean drink with no artificial additives.

Drink it chilled and/or over ice but if cooling facilities are scarce on board the bilge-locker temperature will work just fine. Ashore turn it into a fancy cocktail in a high-ball glass by adding a slice of lime and/or mint and cucumber. So easy and a great summer drink. About £2 per bottle at Waitrose and larger Sainsbury’s stores.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale American craft beer is brewed and bottled in Chico, California and shipped over here.


While we try to keep up with our own UK craft beer/boutique breweries’ expansion, across the pond they have their own craft beer revolution.

Before Prohibition America had more than 1,750 working breweries. In 1980 there were only 100 brewing bland lager-type beers, which for most of us were typically American style such as Coors and Budweiser.

Now there are over 2,000 craft breweries in the USA focusing on taste and character. The choice of brewed and bottled imports from the US in our supermarkets is growing.


Our local Waitrose offers five American brews: Sierra Nevada IPA, Torpedo Extra IPA, Samuel Adams Boston ale and Brooklyn lager plus, curiously, Goose Island which bills itself as ‘English Style’ IPA at 5.9 per cent and £1.79 a bottle. Bit of coals to Newcastle there!

There is a UK craft brewery specialising in American style beers; the Belleville Brewing Co in Wandsworth, south London as featured in All at Sea in February last year.

My sailing club tasting panel critically tried the Sierra Nevada Pal Ale from California, 5.6 per cent and £1.79 at Waitrose for a 350ml bottle. It is bright, light brown, clean and crisp and its intense pine and grapefruit aromas derive from brewing with whole-cone Cascade American hops. Judgement: a refreshing beer perfect for summertime al fresco on the club terrace.

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