Read all about it: roll out the beer news barrel

In our column in the brandy-new Student Guide edition of Motif, we roll out a beer barrel full o’ brew news, with items on Proclamation, Buttonwoods, Foolproof, Revival, ‘Gansett, and Whalers.

Click here for the html version and/or click here and flip to page 6 for the Virtual Newspaper Experience. Cheers!


Craft Collective is Rhode Island’s newest distributor

October 16-20 is going to be a standout week in Rhode Island Beer 2017. Let us count the ways: it’s Providence Craft Beer Week [which takes place statewide, so we’re going to call it Rhode Island Craft Beer Week]; Beervana [at Rhodes-On-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston] is on October 20 [have you seen the list of brewers/distributors?]; and a deluge of new beers and ciders will be available via Craft Collective, the Stoughton, MA-based company which received its Class A Wholesalers license to distribute in Rhode Island on Wednesday [9.13].

Craft Collective is helmed by Bryan Ferguson and Adam Oliveri. Bryan, a Pawtucket native, met Adam at URI. Post-Kingston, Bryan had a non-profit job and Adam was at a budding tech company in New York. “We were both at pivot points in our career where we felt like the time was right to do something different,” Ferguson told Boston magazine. “The craft scene was booming, yet we knew that we didn’t want to be brewers. But we saw this growth of ancillary services and the need for change in the distribution chain.” They launched Craft Collective in March 2015.

Here’s a bit of their mission statement: “Craft Collective is Massachusetts’ only independent distribution company focused on quality, small, craft producers. We focus on product quality and freshness, with…a fully climate-controlled warehouse and refrigerated delivery vehicles. Our people are beer-savvy hustlers that represent our brands with enthusiasm and diligently care for our products. We’re honest, accommodating, and committed to helping small breweries succeed.” They are also planning a “brewery incubator,” featuring a shared production brewery and retail taproom space [a la The Guild].

Here are the highly-regarded brewers currently in Craft Collective’s Rhode Island portfolio [follow the links for more intel]:

Banded Horn Brewing Company [Biddeford, ME]

Deciduous Brewing Company [Newmarket, NH]

Finback Brewery [NYC]

Fox Farm Brewery [Salem, CT]

Kent Falls Brewing Co. [Kent, CT]

Oxbow Brewery [Newcastle, ME]

Queen City Brewery [Burlington, VT]

SingleCut Beersmiths [NYC]

TRVE Brewing Co. [Denver, CO, a self-proclaimed “heavy metal brewery”]

Graft Cider [Newburgh, NY]

Prospect Ciderworks [Boston, MA]

Mission-Trail Cider Company [Bradley, CA]

Plan Bee Farm Brewery [Poughkeepsie, NY]

“That’s the first wave,” Bryan told us. “We’ve got some others in our MA portfolio preparing to enter the [RI] market at a future time. Beer and cider should start showing up in early October. We’re putting together a variety of events for the week of the 16th, which will be our official Launch Week, culminating in a good showing from the portfolio at Beervana [including the first eight brewers listed above]. You can expect nearly all of the breweries will have folks in town during the week getting to know the market.

“We’re really excited to be back in Rhode Island,” Bryan said. For Rhode Island beer enthusiasts, the feeling is mutual. [And if you rep a bar/restaurant/retail store and want to carry CC’s products, click here.]

Beervana Fest 2017: the brewers list

Beervana Fest 2017 is only 37 days away! The ninth annual fest is happening on Friday, October 20 from 6:30 to 10 pm at Rhodes-On-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston. Have you bought tickets yet? No?! What are you waiting for?!?! We’ve typed it many times before, and we’ll type it yet again: “It’s not open to debate: it’s simply the best beer event in Rhode Island [and the producers of all the other fests would concur if made to swear on a stack on whatever-book-means-the-most-to-them].” The Beervana brain trust, Mike Iannazzi and Brian Oakley, will host 60 superb breweries and distributors, pouring more than 250 beers, which will lead your discerning palate [and soul] to beer-inspired nirvana. And this year’s educational enlightenment will be provided by Hugh Sisson, the founder of Heavy Seas Beer, and Jeremy Danner, the ambassador brewer at Boulevard Brewing Company, which is the presenting sponsor of the fest.

[And now — drumroll, please.] Here’s the exclusive unveiling of the list of breweries and distributors who will be sharing their overwhelming array of ultra-rare/exclusive/unique/excellent liquid gold [breweries that are making their Beervana debut and/or weren’t at the fest in 2016 are followed by an asterisk*]. Prepare to drool:

14th Star Brewing Company* • 21st Amendment BreweryAllagash Brewing CompanyB. United International Importers • Ballast Point Brewing CompanyBanded Horn Brewing Company* • Beer’d Brewing CompanyBoulevard Brewing CompanyBrewmaster Jack • Brooklyn Brewery • Buttonwoods Brewery*Cambridge Brewing Co.* • Captain Lawrence Brewing Company • Crooked Current BreweryDeciduous Brewing Company* • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Elysian Brewing Company* • Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company*Finback Brewery* • Firestone Walker Brewing Company • Foolproof Brewing Company Founders Brewing CompanyFox Farm Brewery* • Good Measure Brewing Co.* • Goose Island Brewery Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode IslandHanging Hills Brewing Company • Harpoon Brewing Company • Heavy Seas Brewing CompanyHidden Cove Brewing Co.* • Jack’s Abby BrewingKent Falls Brewing Co.* • Long Live Beerworks • Long Trail Brewing CompanyLord Hobo Brewing Company • Lost Nation Brewing* • New Belgium Brewing Company • New England Brewing Co.* • Newport Storm Brewing CompanyOmmegang Brewery • Oskar Blues BreweryOtter Creek Brewing Company • Oxbow BreweryProclamation Ale Company • Queen City Brewery* • Ragged Island Brewing Company* • Ravenous Brewing CompanyRevival Brewing Company Shelton Brothers ImportersSingleCut Beersmiths* Sons of Liberty Brewing Stone Brewing Company Transmitter Brewing* • Tributary Brewing Company Trinity BrewhouseTwo Roads Brewing CompanyVictory Brewing Company • von Trapp Brewing Company • Whalers Brewing Company • Wormtown Brewery

Note: all breweries are subject to change. And, yes, we will post the complete beer list and the floor plan in a few weeks.

So what are you waiting for?!?! Get your tix now! They’re only $55 and they will sell out. Click here and go get ’em!

Read all about it: fests + wursts + more!!

In our column in the brandy-new super-sized [64 pages!] Fall Guide edition of Motif, we preview the season’s biggest beer bashes, including the PawSox Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival, a coupla Oktoberfests, and the splendor that is Beervana [plus an event that isn’t happening: the Great International Beer Fest].

Click here for the html version and/or click here and flip to page 9 for the Virtual Newspaper Experience. Cheers!

Farewell to WBRU 95.5 FM

I’ve been hooked on radio forever — from transistor radios to incessant button-pushing in cars, from table-top models to Walkmans to boomboxes to online streaming, from Top 40 to “underground” FM programming to an array of sub-genres. Like LL Cool J, I couldn’t live without my radio — a constant soundtrack, a sound salvation.

But great radio isn’t just about great music. In many ways, it was the first interactive medium — you form a bond with the personalities on the other side of the speaker who are talking to you: the DJs who push your emotional buttons with the magic in the music. (Bonus: they take requests and give away tickets too!) These days many people opt to listen to the files on their phone or computer-generated/preference-based playlists. But the human touch — the vital connection — enhances the listening experience.

WBRU has been providing that vital connection since 1966. I’ve been listening for most of those years, from the days when Dr. John the Night Tripper and “Peaches En Regalia” and It’s a Beautiful Day and the Firesign Theatre and Andy Pratt were in regular rotation through today’s playlist staples [Cage the Elephant is on as I type these words]. There were decades of pleasure in between: ‘BRU was the go-to at home, at the NewPaper/Providence Phoenix offices, and blasting outta dashboards [‘BRU has always been the #1 preset]. ‘BRU was truly local, presenting the Rock Hunt and Home Bru’d and the Summer Concert Series and giving young bands treasured airtime. And the student DJs were a delightful and ever-changing crew, from the budding pros to the endearing oddballs. But that over-the-air presence is about to be a thing of the past, following the sale of the FM signal to a Christian music network.

When he signed off today’s morning show, Wendell Gee played a supercut of station IDs by dozens of artists [Mike Mills of R.E.M., Tori Amos, Green Day…]. It was a poignant tribute to the station’s long and glorious run, its breadth and industry clout. And strictly speaking we shouldn’t be using the past tense, because ‘BRU is streaming and “making the exciting transition from a traditional radio station to a broader, more modern media organization,” as they state in this Facebook post. But when the signal flips tonight at 11:59 pm, we’re going to lose another beloved Rhode Island institution — at 95.5 FM.





Read all about it: fresh beer news here!

In our column in the brandy-new/out-today [8.17] edition of Motif, we spill a slew of beer news, with intel on Tilted Barn, Long Live, Providence Brewing, Revival, Newport Storm, Bucket, Foolproof, and Whalers!

Click here for the [leading-challenged] html version and/or click here and flip to page 7 for the Virtual Newspaper Experience. Cheers!

Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub is closed

We haven’t been able to get official confirmation [update: see below], but word on the beer boards [including from former Doherty’s employees] and from beer biz sources is that Doherty’s East Avenue Irish Pub, the long-running and 401-trailblazing craft beer outpost in Pawtucket, shut its doors last week — though it’s been noted that a sign on the door says they are remodeling and will re-open in October [see update below] [hat tip to Larry Brown of Yankee Brew News, who first posted the news on 8.5]. The pub was part of the Tapped Restaurant Group, which also operates three still-open beer-centric spots — Doherty’s Ale House on Jefferson Blvd and the Shannon View Inn on Post Rd in Warwick, and Sullivan’s Publick House in Pawtucket [Dave Miller, the namesake of Miller’s Crossing in Cranston, is a co-owner of the latter two establishments]. [The ill-fated and short-lived Doherty’s Lakeside in Coventry closed in January, shortly after its rebranding as Tiogue Tavern.]

Update on 8.7 @ 6:07 pm: Kim Kalunian and Ted Nesi at WPRI tracked down the pub’s lawyer, who confirms that Doherty’s on East Ave will not reopen; click here for the story and video report.