A Paean to Paul

By on February 1, 2016

Dave BucherIt was in ‘92, as I was about to set off for a motorcycle tour around Great Britain, that Paul Pendyck changed my life. Back then we were all drinking Bud or Miller or PBR or Schlitz or some such. What did we know about beer? It was a rite of passage, something to be quaffed to get a buzz. There was before-the-beer and after-the-beer. The beverage itself didn’t really have an identity.

Well, Paul has always been a man of passion. At that time, his passion was music, and he turned his passion into a business, a CD store in the Lancaster suburbs. As a regular customer, I became aware of his other passion: Beer. Seems his English upbringing had taught him that there really was a middle ground in the beer drinking experience and that the beer, itself, was more important than the anticipation or the following high. At that same time, back in the Merry Olde, the English had begun to adopt the American system of huge, national brewing factories, and these behemoth companies were buying up or forcing out the smaller local breweries and neighborhood pubs that had made the traditional British beer scene so rich and diverse. But a grass roots revolution was brewing: The Campaign for Real Ale. And Paul was a rebel within its cause.

He looked at my itinerary, made me a list of regional specialties and told me to sample them wherever I went. At night, while my fellow bikers would hang about our hotel and talk about the day’s riding, I’d wander out into whatever village we happened to be in in search of a pub and one of the beers Paul had recommended. It added an incredible dimension to my travel. I remember as if it were yesterday being in a pub in Stamford. I’d told the gov’ what I was up to and he made a point of explaining in detail the process of storing and serving cask ale from his cellar. He concluded by laying two fingers aside my pint, looking me in the eye and saying, “Fifty-five degrees. Perfect!” To this day, unless it’s blistering hot and I’m drinking something like Heineken, I have a hard time with ice-cold beer.

Fast forward to the early 21st Century and the example of the English, reclaiming their malted heritage has inspired a craft brewing revolution in America. We are now awash in absolutely great beers, leaving the watery Buds and Millers, etc, to the great unwashed. And who was there, helping to lead the charge — our own Paul Pendyck!

I say “our own,” because you probably know him better as the co-owner of the Sutter and the creator of the Bulls Head Public House. He may not (yet) be a Lititz resident, but he managed to leverage his passion for good beer into a business providing pub equipment and thence to having a nation-wide impact on the burgeoning craft brewing scene. In turn, he leveraged that into fulfilling his dream of having his own British pub. And we are enjoying the fruits of his genius.

Yes, our downtown revival would not have been possible without the leadership of Venture Lititz, the foresight of our borough officials and the creativity of our town’s shopkeepers, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Paul’s Bulls Head was the catalyst that jelled all those elements and propelled us to national “Cooldom.”

Never one to rest on his laurels, it seems his two passions, music and beer, have now combined. Of course, the Sutter already has its suite of rock-inspired lodgings, but I don’t imagine it will be long until the ever-entrepreneurial Pendyck will figure even more ways to leverage and influence the changing face of our town.

Here’s to passion, to leverage and to the man who stopped the sidewalks from rolling up at 5 p.m. Cheers, Paul!

 

 

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