Tug-of-war over better beer laws; Whaler’s debuts the Stone & Steel Series; and the Go Get Beer report, with new brews (and sausage) at Long Live, 4.1 fun at Foolproof

Before we get to the regularly scheduled growlin’ ’n’ tastin’ roundup, we need to share the latest chapter in the push for better beer laws. When there’s a push for change, the change-ees push back. [As we noted in “Growlers and beyond: raising the beer bar in Rhode Island,” “We’re hoping that the old saw about a rising tide lifting all boats can be embraced by the lobbyists and that the potential for increased sales at local breweries isn’t seen as a threat to sales at liquor stores.” Some retailers don‘t want to ride the rising tide.] Read this letter which was sent to the state’s breweries:

proc_letter

And now dig into the spirited and enlightening response by Proclamation Ale Company’s prez/brewmaster Dave Witham, titled “Idle Threats of Dark Age Babies.”

This dustup was inspired by the bills that have recently been introduced at the State House; here’s our update from 3.28, “Better beer bills in the pipeline at the State House.” As we noted in that post, if you’re on the side of change [and since you’re reading this blog we’re guessing you are], contact your legislators and encourage them to support said bills, H 7705 and S 2382.

OK, here’s what you can get 72 ounces of this weekend:

At Proclamation Ale Company [Thursday 3:30-7 pm, Friday 3:30-8, Saturday 12-7, Sunday 12-5], where there’s such to be an even higher level of the usual lively conversation: Process/Progress #3 [6.5% ABV IPA with Mosaic and a “sooooper secret hop” and fermented with a “soooooper secret yeast,” and rye in the malt base; but “don’t worry, it tastes like everything else we make”]. Plus: a “super-fresh, juicetacular batch” of The Stalk [double IPA made with Citra, Mosaic, and Amarillo hops, 8.6%ABV], also in 22-ounce bombers; Derivative: Galaxy [bombers available] and Mosaic [pale ale, 6%]; and Burgess [“ESB brewed with English malts/hops/yeast,” 5%].

At Grey Sail [Thursday + Friday 4-7 pm, Saturday + Sunday 1-5]: Flagship [cream ale], Flying Jenny [extra pale ale], Leaning Chimney [smoked porter], Black Mast [American stout], Pour Judgement [IPA], Mary Ann’s Ginger Spice Ale, Great Ketch [IPL], and Captain’s Daughter [imperial IPA] — and a special firkin or pin.

At Foolproof [Friday 5-7 pm, Saturday 1-5]: Queen of the Yahd [raspberry IPA, 5.2% ABV], plus Shuckolate, Revery, Peanut Butter Raincloud, Backyahd, Barstool, La Ferme Urbaine, Raincloud, and King of the Yahd — and a special cask of Queen of the Yahd made with extra raspberry and Citra hops, plus a pin of Raincloud with cara cara orange and mint — “if the firkin kicks.” And it just might kick since Foolproof will celebrate its “favorite holiday” at the April Fool’s Night bash from 5-8 pm; tix include a tulip glass, three beer samples [including two exclusive bottle offerings: LFU Blanche, a farmhouse ale aged in chardonnay bottles, and LFU Rouge, aged in a pinot noir barrel], food samples from Delsie Catering and a take-home beer voucher. Hit their Facebook page for all the details. Get your tickets ASAP, they’re going fast!!

Tilted Barn will be closed this week. Matt and Kara say: “There’s no easy way around it…we literally can’t keep up with you guys.” Click here for their complete Spring 2016 update [spoiler alert: new barrelhouse on the way; more beer on the way; more days/hours on the way].

At Long Live Beerworks [Wednesday-Friday  4-9 pm, Saturday 1-8]: a new brew[s]: Bricks and Mortar [oatmeal brown ale] and “maybe” Shop Truck DIPA [Armando calls it “grapefruit candy”], plus Lil’ Sippy [dry-hopped session pale ale] and Black Cat [dry-hopped pale ale]. Plus on Firkin Friday [4.1]: Bricklayer’s Tan [toasted coconut brown ale; the name refers to brewmaster DeDona’s previous occupation]. Also on Friday: it’s Beer + Sausage Night, with delicacies [hand-crafted sausage and hot dogs] from the Gastros 401 food truck. Yum!

At Newport Storm [Thursday-Saturday 12-6 pm, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, 12-5]: the seasonal Pilsner [which will be available in the Twelve Sheets To the Wind Variety Pack], plus Hurricane Amber Ale, India Point Ale, and Spring Irish Red Ale..

At Bucket Brewery [Friday 1-7:30 pm, Saturday 11 am-5 pm]: the new Prudence & Patience Rosehip Gose, plus Black Goat o’ the Woods [spiced milk stout], 33rd Inning Red Rye Lager, Park Look Porter, Pawtucket Pail Ale, and Park Loop Vanilla. And Bucket is still raising funds for Save The Bay: donate $1 [or more] and get a free pint!

At Crooked Current [Thursday 5-7 pm, Friday 5-8, Saturday 1-5]: Irish Red Ale, Hawaiian Robust Porter, and Oatmeal Raisin Stout.

Hit their website to get details on Whaler’s fare, but plan ahead for the launch party for their Stone & Steel Series. The Wakefield crew is concocting one-off brews; the first batch includes Prometheus, a stout aged in bourbon barrels; Pleiades, a Berliner Weisse-style ale fermented with blueberries; and Lazarette, a double IPA. The bombers will only be for sale at the brewery; the big bash is on Thursday, April 7 from 5:30-8:30 pm; tix are $30; get ’em here. In other Whaler’s news, they’ll be releasing a new pale ale, the Rise, made with Chinook, Cascade, and Citra, in the spring. Those bottles will be available at a store near you.

At Ravenous: Bienvenue Red Ale, Sarah Session IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout, and Coffee Milk Stout.

Seek and find for theeself re: Revival.

For updates and post alerts, please follow Bottles & Cans on Twitter [@BottlesCansRI] and Facebook and/or SIGN UP for e-mail alerts at the top of this page.

Friday is Founders’ KBS Day: where to find it on tap

Ready to go whale hunting? Friday is April Fools’ Day but, more importantly, it’s KBS Day. The arrival of Founders Brewing Co.’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout — made with chocolate and coffee and aged in oak bourbon barrels [11.2% ABV] — will set off the usual frenzy, with beer obsessives racing from store to store to snap up singles and hoping to stumble onto the Oh-So-Rare Yes,-We’re-Selling-It-In-Four-Packs Four-Pack. There will be a bit more package available ’round here than in 2015.

Want know where to get a taste of KBS straight from the barrel? These fine establishments will be tapping the liquid goodness on Friday [4.1]: the Malted Barley Providence [334 Westminster St; 5 pm]; Jacky Boy Publik House [27 Aborn St, Cranston]; Brass Monkey [800 Allens Ave, Providence]; Doherty’s Ale House [30 Jefferson Blvd, Warwick]; and Doherty’s Lakeside [446 Tiogue Ave, Coventry; 6 pm]. But keep your eyes glued to them social mediums: other places will be breaking out their KBS allotment in the days and weeks to come. [Plus: Doherty’s Lakeside is hosting a KBS Vertical Beer Dinner, with pours of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Tix are $100/person; click here for the menu and reservations.]

Bonus content: Robert Allen of The Detroit Free Press wrote an in-depth story on “how brewers age Founders KBS.” Some highlights:

“Founders brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki said KBS started as an experiment with a few bourbon barrels in the early 2000s, but people didn’t know they wanted it. ‘Those 4-packs sat in there, and nobody cared,’ Kosmicki said.” [Note: the KBS label honors Jeremy with the copy: “The Amazing Kosmicki’s Highly Acclaimed KBS,” plus the motto, “Is Good For Everything a Flavored Stout Ought To Be Good For.”]

“We recently took a trip with its makers about 3 miles from the brewery to Michigan Natural Storage to get a taste of the KBS aging process. To reach the caves, you take an elevator ride 85 feet below Grand Rapids. The former gypsum mines spread for about 6 miles of mostly narrow passages where the temperature and humidity are tightly controlled…Among the 7000 barrels on racks are future KBS and Backwoods Bastard, a Scotch ale. Heystek sprayed sanitizer on four of the barrels and popped out the bungs, removing samples with a turkey baster to give us tastes comparing Backwoods and KBS brews aging since as far back as 2011. The alcohol bite was more noticeable in the fresher samples, while the older ones had more velvety, dessert-wine flavors.”

“Craft-beer drinkers…will be watching for that brown and tan-colored KBS label…‘There’s something to the mystique of something special to find out in the stores, but it’s a lot to live up to,’ Kosmicki said. ‘Any time you get that much hype for something, it’s like, “Well, I hope people like it. I hope this isn’t a disappointing year or something.” ’ ”

For updates and post alerts, please follow Bottles & Cans on Twitter [@BottlesCansRI] and Facebook and/or SIGN UP for e-mail alerts at the top of this page.

Better beer bills in the pipeline at the State House

Image courtesy of CraftBeer.com

We’re loooong overdue for an update on the push to improve the beer laws in Rhode Island. Good news: there’s been some progress! Two bills “Relating to Alcoholic Beverages — Manufacturing and Wholesale Licenses” have been introduced at the State House and would be a big step toward raising the bar for the state’s brewers and consumers. [FYI, a real head-scratcher of a bill — H 7303 — was introduced on January 22. It proposes to authorize taproom sales but adds a new limit: “(the) manufacturer shall not sell to any one consumer more than one-half (.5) liters of alcoholic liquor per day, nor more than five (5) gallons of alcoholic liquor in any two (2) month period.” Huh?]

H 7705, which was introduced in House on February 24, proposes to make amendments to Sections 3-6-1 and 3-6-1.2 of the General Laws in Chapter 3-6. H 7705 would “authorize the sale of beverages for consumption on premises where sold provided that the manufacturer does not sell an amount in excess of three hundred seventy-five milliliters (375 ml) per visitor of distilled spirits and seventy-two ounces (72 oz) per visitor for malt beverages per day.” [Pro tip: do not consume 72 ounces of malt beverages in one visit to a manufacturer.]

And: “The license does authorize the sale of beverages produced on the premises by the half gallon bottle known as a ‘growler’ to consumers for off-premises consumption to be sold pursuant to the laws governing retail Class A establishments. The sale of beverages for off-premises consumption shall be sealed in bottles or other sealed containers.” Translation: breweries could sell an unlimited quantity of beer. The “Class A” designation would basically give breweries all the rights of a retail store. [S 2382, introduced in the Senate on February 10, is similar to H 7705.]

On March 22, the House Committee on Corporations “recommended [that the] measure be held for further study.” We asked Rep. Joe Solomon [D-Warwick], who introduced H 7705, about the prospects for passage and what will happen next. He said: “Generally, all bills are held for further study so that legislative staff has the opportunity to make corrections and receive input on proposed legislation. I’m optimistic that this bill will have an opportunity to pass. The committee members were very happy with this bill and sympathized with the local brewers and the opportunities for job growth. In the event this bill is set for passage, the committee will post the bill for consideration and vote on it or an amended version of it.

“If the committee decides to vote on the bill this year, it could occur anytime before session ends which could be sometime before June,” Solomon added. “This is a pro-business, pro-jobs bill that allows our brewers to become more competitive in the market. It promotes tourism and does not cost the state any taxpayer dollars. With the expansion of small brewers nationwide, it is time for Rhode Island to go ahead and promote our local businesses.”

You can follow the progress of H 7705 at the state’s Bill Tracker page. In the meantime, contact your legislators and encourage them to support H 7705 and S 2382.

[And to read much more about the state’s beer laws, please read  our opus, “Growlers and beyond: raising the beer bar in Rhode Island.”]

[And click here to sign the petition to “Support the passage of better beer laws in Rhode Island.”]

For updates and post alerts, please follow Bottles & Cans on Twitter [@BottlesCansRI] and Facebook and/or SIGN UP for e-mail alerts at the top of this page.

Read all about it: tribal drinking; climate change and beer; the origins of #beer; and more

Ready…set…read!!!

Global Beer Community Rallies Around Belgium After Bombings, by Tara Nurin @ Forbes

Tribal Drinking, by Lew Bryson @ All About Beer [“I drank non-mainstream beer because it was different; because it was local or political; because it made me part of a special group; and because I liked it. That was then, 30 years ago, and things have changed.”]

4 Ways Climate Change Makes Beer Taste Worse and Cost More, by Jacqueline Ronson @ Inverse [“A warming planet is waging a multi-front war on the ingredients and processes that make delicious beer possible.”]

How This Hopped-Up Brewery Is Bringing American Craft Beer to Germany, by Neal Ungerleider @ Fast Company [“In a converted gasworks building in western Berlin’s Mariendorf neighborhood, American craft beer brand Stone Brewing is engaged in an unusual project: Selling Germans — and Europeans in general — on the joys of bitter, hoppy beers like Stone IPA and the company’s popular Arrogant Bastard Ale.”]

Finding the United States’ best craft beer: Round of 16, by Chris Korman and Evan Russell @ USA Today

#Beer: When Breweries First Started Tweeting, by Tom Acitelli @ All About Beer

ICYMI: Small and independent brewers’ volume hits 12 percent in 2015

Go get beer [3.24-3.27]: super-fresh Stalk at Proclamation, Firkin Friday, and more

We’re making up for last week’s skeletal report with an almost-all-taps-on-deck roundup:

At Proclamation Ale Company [Thursday 3:30-7 pm, Friday 3:30-8, Saturday 12-7, Sunday 12-5] for growlers and tastings: A “super-fresh, juicetacular batch” of The Stalk [double IPA made with Citra, Mosaic, and Amarillo hops, 8.6%ABV], also in 22-ounce bombers. Plus: Derivative: Galaxy [also in “super-fresh packaged 3/23” bombers] and Mosaic [pale ale, 6%]; Burgess [“ESB brewed with English malts/hops/yeast,” 5%], and Broze [oatmeal milk stout, 5.6%].

At Newport Storm [Thursday-Saturday 12-6 pm, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, 12-5]: the debut of Pilsner [which will be available in the Twelve Sheets To the Wind Variety Pack], plus Hurricane Amber Ale, India Point Ale, Spring Irish Red Ale, and Annual Release ’15 [“while it lasts”]. And there’s a new Storm brew: Unknown Variable. Quoth the notes: “[UV is] our brewery’s first venture in working with experimental hops! Experimental #7 and #33 aren’t your regular run-of-the-mill hops. These new varieties were specially crafted by growers and we were lucky enough to have the chance to work with them! As far as flavor profile is concerned, the malts in this golden hued brew take a back seat as you dive face-first into a beervana bliss of peaches and plum. At 8% ABV this double IPA is dangerously light and crisp.” The four-packs were bottled on 3.17 and are available at your fave beer emporium.

At Grey Sail [Thursday + Friday 4-7 pm, Saturday 1-5; closed on Sunday this week cuzza Easter]: Flagship [cream ale], Flying Jenny [extra pale ale], Leaning Chimney [smoked porter], Black Mast [American stout], Pour Judgement [IPA], Mary Ann’s Ginger Spice Ale [limited supply left], Great Ketch [IPL], and Captain’s Daughter [imperial IPA]. Plus: a cask of Black Mast with vanilla bean, cardamon, and Ceylon cinnamon will be tapped today [3.24] — Firkin Thursday!

At Foolproof [Friday 5-7 pm, Saturday 1-5]: Queen of the Yahd [raspberry IPA, 5.2% ABV; four-packs of 16-ounce cans are in stores now], plus Shuckolate, Revery, Peanut Butter Raincloud, Backyahd, Barstool, La Ferme Urbaine, Raincloud, and King of the Yahd — and a special cask of Backyahd made with kiwi and dry-hopped with Southern Cross and Azacca. And the WBRU Crew will be broadcasting live on Saturday.

At Tilted Barn [Saturday 1-4 pm]: a new DIPA, The Other One [made with Citra and Mosaic, 7.9%], plus Early Riser IPA, First Harvest [pale ale], and Libby [blonde ale with Cashmere].

At Long Live Beerworks [Wednesday-Friday  4-9 pm, Saturday 1-8]: ’Nuff Said IPA, Lil’ Sippy [dry-hopped session ale], and Black Cat [pale ale]. Plus on Firkin Friday [3.25]: The Night Man [American brown ale cask-conditioned with toasted almonds and cacao nibs].

At Bucket Brewery [Friday 1-7:30 pm, Saturday 11 am-5 pm]: the new Prudence & Patience Rosehip Gose, plus Black Goat o’ the Woods [spiced milk stout], 33rd Inning Red Rye Lager, Pawtucket Pail Ale, and Park Loop Porter — plus “our sixth tap will have one of the following at any given time: It Came To Me In A Dreamsicle [orange Creamsicle ale], Park Loop Porter: Vanilla!, and Hard Root Beer.” And Bucket is still raising funds for Save The Bay: donate $1 [or more, hint-hint] and get a free pint!

At Whaler’s [Thursday + Friday 4-8 pm, Saturday 1-7, Sunday 1-5]: East Coast IPA, Oak Porter, Golden Ale, Megazord [dry-hopped brown ale], and Hazelnut Stout.

[Updated on 3.25 @ 9:31 AM] At Crooked Current: “The chocolate tap takeover returns. If you missed the chocolate cherry, chocolate orange, & chocolate habanero stouts!”

At Ravenous [Saturday 1-4 pm]: Bienvenu [Frenzh Quarter Red], Sarah Session IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout, and Coffee Milk Stout.

Seek and find for theeself re: Revival.

For updates and post alerts, please follow Bottles & Cans on Twitter [@BottlesCansRI] and Facebook and/or SIGN UP for e-mail alerts at the top of this page.

Small and independent brewers’ volume hits 12 percent in 2015

This just in:

Small and Independent Brewers Continue to Grow Double Digits

Brewers Association Releases Annual Growth Figures for American Craft Brewers

The Brewers Association [BA], the trade association representing small and independent1 American craft brewers, today released 2015 data on U.S. craft brewing2 growth. With more breweries than even before, small and independent craft brewers now represent 12 percent market share of the overall beer industry.

In 2015, craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels, and saw a 13 percent rise in volume3 and a 16 percent increase in retail dollar value.  Retail dollar value was estimated at $22.3 billion, representing 21 percent market share.

For the past decade, craft brewers have charged into the market, seeing double digit growth for eight of those years,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “There are still a lot of opportunities and areas for additional growth. An important focus will remain on quality as small and independent brewers continue to lead the local, full-flavored beer movement.”

Growth-Small_HR_2015

Additionally, in 2015 the number of operating breweries in the U.S. grew 15 percent, totaling 4,269 breweries—the most at any time in American history. Small and independent breweries account for 99 percent of the breweries in operation, broken down as follows: 2,397 microbreweries, 1,650 brewpubs and 178 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 620 new brewery openings and only 68 closings. One of the fastest growing regions was the South, where four states—Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas—each saw a net increase of more than 20 breweries, establishing a strong base for future growth in the region.

Combined with already existing and established breweries and brewpubs, craft brewers provided nearly 122,000 jobs, an increase of over 6,000 from the previous year.

“Small and independent brewers are a beacon for beer and our economy,” added Watson. “As breweries continue to open and volume increases, there is a strong need for workers to fill a whole host of positions at these small and growing businesses.”

Note: Numbers are preliminary. The Brewers Association will release the list of Top 50 craft brewing companies and overall brewing companies by volume sales on April 5. Additionally, a more extensive analysis will be released during the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America in Philadelphia from May 3-6. The full 2015 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2016 issue of The New Brewer, highlighting regional trends and production by individual breweries.

_________
1An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

2Absolute figures reflect the dynamic craft brewer data set as specified by the craft brewer definition. Growth numbers are presented on a comparable base. For full methodology, see the Brewers Association website.

3Volume by craft brewers represent total taxable production.

Read all about it: too many SKUs; 10 essential New England beers; medicine from hops; and more

reading-e1433602888667Here are some tasty beer reads to pair with your zeppoles and ales:

Craft beer is now drowning in brands and products, by Jason Notte @ MarketWatch [“Craft beer SKUs alone have soared from 2,274 in 2008 to a whopping 7,400 last year, more than tripling the amount of products that the industry sent into the marketplace.”]

10 Essential New England Beers, by Will Gordon @ VinePair [Spoiler alert: Foolproof and Grey Sail are on the list]

* Grapefruit, habanero, pumpkin, chocolate: Mintel sees explosion in US flavored beer innovations, by Rachel Arthur @ BeverageDaily.com [“The proportion of new flavored beer product launches has grown from 15% of total US beer launches in 2010 to 27% of launches in 2015.”]

Researchers are brewing up medicines from beer hops, by Beth Mole @ Ars Technica [“In one study, appearing in the Journal of Natural Products, a team of Italian researchers identified three previously unknown chemicals from Cascade hops — which are used in many American brews, but perhaps notably as a finishing hop in Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. One of the chemicals has clear anti-inflammatory properties.”]

CNBC’s Battle of the Beer Labels: Suds Sixteen announced, by Tom Rotunno

And ICYMI: A six-pack of brew news, our column in the new issue of Motif