Get your Great American Beer Fest award winners; and the ’Gansett/Allie’s Double Chocolate Porter finally arrives

gabf_medalsThe Great American Beer Festival, which certainly lives up to its name, size- and prestige-wise, took place in Denver last week [9.24-26]. The sprawling event featured 750 breweries which poured 3800 beers to 60,000 attendees. At the Fest’s 29th beer competition, the judges [242 from 15 countries] assessed brews in 92 categories encompassing 145 styles; there were 6647 entries from 1552 breweries. Some notable numbers compiled by the Brewers Association:

423 brewers were first-time participants; 38 won awards
The top three states by ratio of medals to entries by state: Maine: 21% with 14 entries and three medals; Rhode Island: 10% with 10 entries and one medal. In Category 91: Old ale or Strong Ale [39 entries], Narragansett Beer won a silver medal for Innsmouth Olde Ale, the second release in the H.P. Lovecraft series [which was released in April, but you might find some cans at off-the-beaten path retailers]; and North Dakota: 8% with 12 entries and one medal
There were 336 entries in the American-Style India Pale Ale category and 208 in the Imperial IPA faceoff

Roomful of brewers [photo courtesy Brewers Association]
Roomful of brewers [photo courtesy Brewers Association]

And while the beer and folks were flowing in Denver, the BA released a bit of news: there are now 4000 active brewers in the US. “Although precise numbers from the 19th century are difficult to confirm, this is almost certainly the first time the United States has crossed the 4,000 brewery barrier since the 1870s,” Bart Watson, the chief economist for the BA, noted. “The Internal Revenue Department counted 2,830 ‘ale and lager breweries in operation’ in 1880, down from a high point of 4,131 in 1873. Given the strong pace of openings (approximately two openings/day with a net increase of 1.9/day factoring in closings), it is likely that later in 2015, or early in 2016, there will be more active breweries in the United States than at any point in our nation’s history. This is a remarkable achievement that would have been unthinkable in late 1970s, when the number of American breweries dipped below 100.” [Read Bart’s full post here.]

Most of the 275 winners [from 242 breweries], awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals, aren’t available in Rhode Island, since brewpubs and tiny beermakers with limited distribution account for the bulk of the honorees, but you can cull a tasty and diverse selection of GABF-honored suds at your favorite mix-a-six-or-more emporium. A few are in stores right now [those are asterisked] and some are seasonals, so keep an eye peeled all year-round.

Imperial Red Ale: Founders’ reDANKulous* [gold]
Belgian-Style Witbier: Allagash White* [gold]
Specialty Beer: Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar* [silver]
German-Style Pilsener: Firestone Walker’s Pivo* [gold]
Belgian-Style Tripel: Allagash Tripel* [silver]
Brown Porter: Left Hand’s Black Jack Porter* [bronze]
American-Style Lager or Light Lager: Coors Banquet* [gold]
Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest: Kona’s Longboard Island Lager* [silver]
Vienna-Style Lager: Stoudt’s Oktober Fest [silver]
Field Beer: Baxter’s Window Seat Coconut Almond Porter [silver]
Ordinary or Special Bitter: Firestone Walker’s DBA [Double Barrel Ale] [gold]; Left Hand’s Sawtooth Ale [bronze]
Other Belgian-Style Ale: Mayflower’s Summer Rye Ale [silver]
Export Stout: Left Hand’s Fade To Black, Vol 1 [gold]


452_GANS_Allies16oz_mechOn August 3, we posted “Narragansett and Allie’s Donuts team up for Double Chocolate Porter.” The beer’s ETA was Labor Day, but it took the long cut and has finally arrived in stores [we’re still waiting for a new ETA on Reanimator, the third H.P. Lovecraft entry]. The press release is here; the launch party is at the Oak Hill Tavern in North Kingstown on Thursday [10.1] from 6-9 pm. And yep, there will be donuts.

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‘Gansett wins a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival!

innsmouth_canThe Great American Beer Festival Awards were presented today in Denver, CO. The GABF presents gold, silver, and bronze medals for excellence in 92 beer-style categories; 6647 beers were submitted by 1552 breweries. It’s the most prestigious beer award in the US of A.

In the Old Ale/Strong Ale Category, Narragansett Beer’s Innsmouth Olde Ale won a silver medal! Cheers and congrats to Mark Hellendrung, brewer Sean Larkin, and the entire ‘Gansett crew!

Get your beer on this weekend!

beer_oclockWe gave you an early heads-up for beer events on Saturday [follow the links for the full reports]: the Record Store Day/Dogfish Head bashes at Pour Judgement, the Scurvy Dog [with a vinyl swap], and the Ocean Mist [their celebration stretches to Sunday] — short take: buy a Dogfish beer and get a raffle ticket for a sweet limited edition mini-portable turntable by Crosley — and the debut of ’Gansett’s Innsmouth Olde Ale, with a walking tour of Lovecraft historical highlights, followed by a first taste [or two] at the English Cellar Alehouse [though on Thursday ’Gansett was retweeting photos of the tallboys already arriving at stores in MA]. And don’t forget the Boston Beer Summit at the Park Plaza Castle today [6-9:30 pm] and on Saturday [12:30-4 and 5:30-9], with nearly 60 brewers pouring more than 200 brews [tix = $55].

Here are some other destinations to head to on this beauteous weekend: Bucket Brewery [100 Carver St, Pawtucket] will host its monthly Friday Night Sound Check today [4.17] from 6-9 pm, with music by the roots-rockin’ Little Compton Band, beer samples and free raffles. Admission is $15; if you bring non-perishable food items for the Rhode Island Food Bank, you’ll get more beer! And you can ooh! and ahh! at their shiny new cans. Do it!…Tilted Barn Brewery is bursting with brews on Saturday from 1 to 4 pm, with Chinook IPA and Raffi, a Oatmeal Stout brewed with coffee from Updike’s Newtowne Coffee Roasters available for tastings and growler fills, plus tastings-only samples of First Harvest Mosaic, Equinox, and Sunrise…Grey Sail is open today from 3 to 6 pm and on Saturday [with tours] and Sunday from 1 to 5. They’ll have Flagship Cream Ale and Flying Jenny, plus Leaning Chimney Smoked Porter, Captain’s Daughter [limited], 3rd Anniversary IPL [limited], and they tell us “we’re down to our last 10 gallons of the following specialty beers for a while/permanently”: Mary Ann’s Ginger Spice [until the fall], Dynasty Imperial Cream Ale [forever], and Pour Judgement IPA [temporarily]…And you can map out the first leg of your own version of the Rhode Island Beer Trail/Brewery Challenge, with a route that runs from Ravenous Brewing in Woonsocket to Foolproof and Crooked Current in Pawtucket to Proclamation Ale Co. in West Kingston [update from Dave: “tonight 5-8, tomorrow 1-5 pm. Tendril available for growlers, Plattelander bottles. Derivative all gone, but we have Peachlander, remaining anniversary and maybe some other random stuff for tastings…(shhh)” to Whaler’s in Wakefield [and the aforementioned breweries]. Follow the links for updates on what you can taste and take home.

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Learn about Lovecraft and get a first taste of ‘Gansett’s Innsmouth Olde Ale

Innsmouth Olde Ale, the second beer in Narragansett’s H.P. Lovecraft Series, will hit the market on Monday, April 20. But you can get a first taste on Saturday [4.18]. The Rhode Island Historical Society will host a walking tour of some of the master of the macabre’s favorite haunts and other historical sites [tix are $10; you can buy them here]. It will be led by Jason Eckhardt, who did the illustration for the new brew, which was inspired by the novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The tour will begin at 3 pm at the John Brown House Museum [52 Power St, Providence]; at 5 pm, bursting with Lovecraftian lore, you’ll head to the English Cellar Alehouse [165 Angell St] to sample ’Gansett collaborator Sean Larkin’s newest brew [you don’t have to take the tour to partake at the Alehouse].

’Gansett’s PR says that Innsmouth Olde Ale is a “mysterious blend of six malts [including chocolate and chocolate rye], with just a touch of hops producing a dark, malty brew [7% ABV] that is at once both familiar and out of this world.” And: “Lovecraft was a noted Anglophile, and this beer is our American craft interpretation of the select stock ales served at taverns and roadside inns in Olde England and Olde New England, much like how we imagine the very inn that the unnamed protagonist visits in Lovecraft’s story” [which can be read in its entirety here].

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And yay!