Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Movies: Rum On TV

Just to clarify before we start, Triple P doesn’t really have a “TV” title so we’re stuck with Movies.

I had an informative piece all thought out for today and, as I settled in last night to do a bit of research for same, all that changed. My habit on Tuesdays, nay indeed my chiseled-in-stone must do, is to watch “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel. I don’t watch episodic TV at all and, aside from football during the season, I don’t really have any shows I just can’t miss (although “Deadliest Warrior” on Spike might actually be one if I’m honest). That said, I don’t miss Mike Rowe on “Dirty Jobs”. So imagine my surprise – and delight – when last night’s episode was all about making rum.

And not just any rum, Brethren, but a rum named after the infamous “Rhode Island Pirate” Thomas Tew. The label features Tew’s menacing flag (above) and the rum’s manufacturer, Newport Distilling Company, is itself in Rhode Island. Find out more about them at their

Of course there were many an off-handed reference to pirates and piracy but what struck me the most was Mike and his crew’s willingness to drink like pirates. The company also runs Coastal Extreme Brewing Company and Mike and his colleagues sampled their Newport Storm Beer to kick off the morning. Sure, it was 8:30 in Rhode Island but damned if the sun’s not over the yardarm somewhere, mate. This was all done under the auspices of a specific brewer’s privilege which evidently dates back to Colonial times and whose name Mike mentioned more than once but your humble hostess didn’t bother to write down. Leave me a comment if you know what it’s called; I’ll make a note of it.

Update: Triple P's good friend Timmy! tells us the right to drink beer while working at a brewery is known as "The Sternewirth Privilege", so now we know. Thankee, Timmy!

At any rate, as the day wore on Mike began sampling the rum and became – for lack of a better phrase – a very happy pirate. Of interest to pirates of the New World, though, is the fact that the folks at Newport Distilling Company are bringing back an old tradition of rum making in Rhode Island. In the last half of the 18th century Rhode Island could count over 20 rum distilleries within its boarders at any given time. Thomas Tew is hand crafted, made with molasses and aged on site in oak barrels just like the kind of rum its namesake pirate would have been accustomed to. While Thomas Tew rum is not currently available outside of its home state, the company hopes to change that within the next couple of years.

Here are four videos from the show over at Discovery’s
website (the "Alcohol Pop Quiz" is particularly funny). Waste a few minutes today watching the way rum used to be made, and then raise a tankard to our ancestors and those who are keeping the old ways alive, by land and at sea. Oh and raise one to Mike and his crew as well. They’re clearly good and game lads one and all.


Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! Mike is always funny, but that was a particluarly amusing episode, especially as Mike got progressively more and more "happy" and less interested in the actual "work" to be done.

I believe they said that the traditional privilege given to workers at a brewery to drink free beer at work is called "The Sternewirth Privilege".

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy and thankee! I'll update the post today. I knew it was something British-y.

Daggar said...

Sounds like good stuff.

I would love to see more rum available up here in the frozen North. The liquor stores here import a dozen dozen varieties of vodka from Europe, but their rum selections are anemic. The Caribbean isn't that far away. They've got well rums down there that are on par with the top-shelf stuff here.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Daggar and good to hear from ya, mate. It would be so nice to have the kind of selection afforded down south. I can remember being able to get Caribbean rums at Trader Joe's in California. Not up here, though.