Your weekend beer-to-go guide

Here’s the weekly brewery roundup — a virtual 401 beer kiosk…

Grey Sail has its regular lineup — Flagship, Flying Jenny, Hazy Day, Captain’s Daughter, Avenue N, and Pour Judgement — plus Dynasty Imperial Cream Ale [8%ABV], Farmhouse Ale, the latest Chalkboard Series [made with Belgian yeast, spelt malt, and Sterling, Styrian Aurora, and Hallertauer hops, 6.5%], and Great Ketch IPL [by the way, the cans are still waiting for labels; soon come]. Cozy up to the tasting/growler station today from 4-7 pm and on Saturday + Sunday from 1-5 pm [and on Wednesday + Thursday from 4-7]. And be sure to offer a fond farewell and best wishes to “beertender/beergeek” Jon Brodie, who is leaving the smallest state for a new job in the largest state at Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau. Jon says: “I’ll miss representing Grey Sail [as I did] just about every weekend for the past 2.5 years in the tasting room, but hopefully I can transition smoothly from slinging Captain’s Daughter to their Smoked Porter.” Cheers, Jon!

Proclamation Ale has two variations of Derivative — Mosaic and Galaxy — for tastings and growlers. Dave says they’re “dialed in and ready to go — two nice summer fruit bomb pale ales.” Plus: bottles of Harper I Apricot [a blonde sour fermented in oak barrels] and Keraterra “with a different brett strain, fermented in red wine barrels, and dry hopped with Galaxy and Mosaic hops.” Head to West Kingston tonight from 5-8 pm and on Saturday from 1-5 pm.

Whaler’s Brewing has Citra IPA, East Coast IPA, Rye Pale Ale, Strawberry Blonde, Ginger Wheat, and Plum Pale Ale [Thursday + Fridays 4-8 pm, Saturday 1-7, and Sunday 1-5].

Bucket Brewery has 33rd Inning Red Rye Lager, Pawtucket Pail Ale, Sabin’s Stout [aged in an Uprising barrel from Sons of Liberty Spirits Co.], Park Loop Porter, and B.O.G. Cranberry Orange Saison. Tastings today [1-7:30 pm] and Saturday [11 am-5 pm, $5] and tours on Saturday [1:30, 2:30, 3:30 pm, $13, includes pint glass].

On Saturday [1-4 pm], Tilted Barn Brewery will share Early Riser IPA [The Beer Formerly Known As Brewfest], Raffi [oatmeal stout] and Half Mile IPA. Plus: the crew from Walrus and Carpenter Oysters will be shuckin’ ’n’ sellin’ their savory delicacies.

Crooked Current has Kickback American Wheat, Immorality Pale Ale, and Strawberry Blonde Ale on Saturday from 1 to 5 pm.

Aaaand Foolproof is open today from 5-8 and Saturday from 1-5 [with tours at 1, 2, 3, and 4] for tastings [$10, includes three samples] and growler fills of their usual fine brews [Backyahd, Barstool, Raincloud, La Ferme Urbaine, and “super-fresh” King of the Yahd].

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News you need: Sucks in six-packs [year-round!], a half-dozen limited edition brews, Proclamation and Foolproof get Extreme, and more

It’s been a busy week at the Bottles & Cans desk, and we’re going to make your Friday the 13th a lucky one with some breaking beer news and a few other items.

sucks  On Thursday we added some details about Stone’s Enjoy By 4.20.15 six-pack debut. Today we’re pleased to report that LagunitasSucks, the superb IPA which launched in 2011 as a winter seasonal and has been packaged in quart bottles for a year or so, has finally achieved year-round status in six-packs. A Lagunitas rep tells us he’s “not sure when they’ll be available on the East Coast,” but they’ll be snatched up and become a satisfying go-to brew when they do. [And please dig into the B&C archives to read our review of So You Want To Start a Brewery, by Lagunitas founder/owner Tony Magee.]

  Quick sips: These intriguing new brews should be squeezing onto shelves next week [or sooner]: Rogue Ales’ latest palate-challenging concoctions — Sriracha Hot Stout, a chile beer [5.7% ABV] made with the namesake sauce, and the fourth release in the Voodoo Doughnut series, Lemon Chiffon Crueller Ale [6.9%] — are guaranteed to inspire divergent reviews…Allagash’s Odyssey, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale [10.4%] aged in oak barrels, is one of the very best limited annual releases from the world-class Portland, ME brewery…Sierra Nevada has been on a roll lately [well, they’ve been on a roll for 35 years] with the introduction of year-rounders Nooner Pilsner and Hop Hunter; be on the lookout for Barrel-Aged Bigfoot [11.9%], a hefty American barleywine in corked 750ml bottles; and Idaho 7 [6.5%], the first edition in the 2015 Harvest Single Hop IPA series, which showcases new and experimental hops. SN notes that “complex fruity aromas of orange and apricot mesh with hints of black tea-like character and a pleasant herbal bouquet”…And Victory has a new big beer, Deep Cocoa [8.5%], a chocolate porter brewed with cocoa nibs [in corked 750 ml bottles].

  If you don’t follow Beer Advocate on Twitter [and why not?], you might want to start today:

The EBF, which sold out tout suite, is at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston on March 20 and 21. Here’s the beer list, with 250-plus rarities from 70-plus brewers. Where do you start? And how do you finish? We’ll be staying tuned!

  Speaking of the EBF, Dave from Proclamation Ale will be heading north to rep the Ocean State [along with his pals from Foolproof], so head to West Kingston today [5-8 pm] and/or Saturday [1-5] or you’ll have to wait till spring to get your fix. Here’s the lineup: Tendril [growlers/tastings]; Derivative [tastings Friday, not available for growlers until Saturday]; Anniversary I, a Belgian Dark Strong Ale fermented with Italian plums and aged in Sons of Liberty whiskey barrels [10%, tastings only]; Harper I Blackberry and Keraterra [both very limited, purchase only]; and Plattelander [purchase, very limited for tastings]. AND you should make a visit to Foolproof for samples of Vanilla Nitro Barstool and a half-dozen other tasty treats.

  The snow is finally melting, and here’s another welcome sign of spring/summer:

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

More pure hoppiness: Alpine Beer Company debuts in Rhode Island

alpine

Last week, beers from San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing Company returned to the Rhode Island market. [Get thee some Sculpin! Yes, it’s pricey; yes, it’s worth it!] This week, more liquid gold from that corner of the country will have locals lining up at better beer bars, when the Alpine Beer Company makes its local debut.

Alpine was started by firefighter/homebrewer Pat McIlhenney in 1999. For three years he contract-brewed at AleSmith Brewing Company, starting with McIlhenney’s Irish Red, and opened his own shop in Alpine, CA [about 30 miles northeast of San Diego] in 2002. Alpine quickly established its rep, winning medals at the Great American Beer Festival in 2003 [a bronze for Mandarin Nectar] and 2004 [silver for Irish Red]. They expanded in 2009 and added a pub in 2010; in November, Alpine was acquired by Green Flash Brewing Company, the hop-crazed outpost in San Diego which had produced some of Alpine’s beers since 2013.

A story in the San Diego Reader noted, “Alpine Beer employees 20 people, making it a relatively small operation, especially compared to Green Flash, which is home to 107 employees. That total will grow when their East Coast brewery in Virginia Beach, Va. opens in 2016. Green Flash’s larger, more traditional business structure was an attractive asset to McIlhenney, in that it will allow his employees to have access to its new owners’ benefits, healthcare packages, 401k, and additional perks his small business was incapable of offering. From a product standpoint, the acquisition stands to significantly increase production capacity for Alpine’s highly coveted but scarcely available beers from 1500 barrels a year.”

Ten brews are pictured on Alpine’s website; five will be available ’round here [“a very small amount” was in the initial shipment to Craft Beer Guild Distributing of Rhode Island]. Two of them are must-haves: Hoppy Birthday [5.25% ABV], an American Pale Ale with a 100 [world-class] rating at Beer Advocate; and Duet [7%], an IPA made with Amarillo and Simcoe hops [98 @ BA]. Also on tap: Alpine Ale [5.5%], an American Pale Ale [82 @ BA]; McIlhenney Irish Red [6%], made with 11 malts and a low hop profile [10 IBUs; 82 @ BA]; and Captain Stout [6%; 84 @ BA; go there to read the chatter on the “Alpine to MA! (???)” thread]. And here’s hoping that Nelson, a “golden rye” IPA [7.1%] made with the Nelson Sauvin hop from New Zealand, is part of the second batch that rolls into 401.

Alpine’s motto is “The Home of Pure Hoppiness” and they boast about “what we are most known for — Killer IPAs!” Seek it out and see if your palate agrees.

And Dave at Proclamation Ale reports: “Select stores within RI will start receiving some of our [Harper] sours early this week…look for em. I’m sure some will hit stock by Tuesday/Wednesday. (No, I can’t tell you where they are.)”

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Tuesday tidbits: Proclamation Ale, Jack’s Abby, more Budweiser fallout, and Foolproof photo fun

On Thursday [2.12], you should head to Proclamation Ale Company [141 Fairgrounds Rd, West Kingston] for their Big Bottle Release. Brewmaster Dave Witham says: “This Thursday we will be doing a bottle release for Harper I (w/ apricots), our first true sour beer release. We will also be releasing batch 4 of Keraterra, our 100% brett beer fermented in oak/dry-hopped with Citra and Amarillo hops.

“Harper I has a 2-bottle limit per person! If you want this beer I would recommend coming to the release [from 5-7 pm], we only have about 225 bottles that will sell out of the brewery and only a few cases will make their way to stores.

“We will be open for normal hours on Friday (5-8 pm) and Saturday (1-5 pm). We will have Tendril and Derivative available in growlers as well as remaining bottles of Keraterra and Harper I.”

On December 16, Jack’s Abby Brewing, which makes superb and inventive lagers, announced a huge expansion — from its current 12,000 square-foot space to a 67,000-square-foot brewery/restaurant. So we asked the question, “When will Jack’s Abby be in RI?” Sam Hendler, one of the trio of brothers who own the Framingham, MA, brewery, told us, “At this point we have preliminary plans [nothing is finalized] to come to Rhode Island in 2015. For sure, though, we will be in Rhode Island in 2016. It all depends on timing of the new brewery opening.” Yesterday Jack’s Abby said they’ll be distributing to Eastern Pennsylvania in April, “to test the market prior to permanent distribution when the brewery’s major expansion is complete in the first quarter of 2016.” So we’re going to need even more patience, grasshoppers, before their trucks start rolling our way! In the meantime, you can sneak across the borders to MA and CT [plus upstate NY and VT] to score the likes of Hoponius Union, Leisure Time Lager, and Mass Rising.

The fallout from Budweiser’s “Brewed the Hard Way” ad has pols throwing down in DC. Read Matt Laslo’s report, “Bud Ad Sparks Beer Fight In Congress,” at The Daily Beast [“To politicians who are falling over themselves to attract the creative energy, votes and small dollar donations sitting largely untapped at their local breweries — the ad was personal.”]

And just for fun, here’s a cool shot from Foolproof’s Facebook page:

foolproof

The Rhode Island Brew Fest: By the numbers

We were happy to see the Rhode Island Brew Fest release its beer list a few hours ago. It gave us the opportunity to break it down, and an excuse to put off heading outside with the shovel…

Sixty breweries [including three ciderists and one meadery] will share 228 different samples of liquid goodness at the Pawtucket Armory on Saturday, January 31. [See below for a few notable new releases; we cited other highlights  in our January 13 entry on the Fest.]

Fourteen of the Ocean State’s 16 breweries will be representing, pouring 57 varieties. Here are the details, with styles added when they’re not part of the beer’s name on the #RIBrew beer list — extra value from the Bottles & Cans desk!:

Brutopia: Never Ender [IPA], Valhalla [amber ale], First Coast [Belgian double IPA], Munk [Belgian-style abbey ale]

Bucket Brewery: 9 Men’s Misery [IPA], Park Loop Porter

Crooked Current: Kickback American Wheat, Immortality Pale Ale

Foolproof: Barstool Golden Ale, Backyahd IPA, La Ferme Urbaine Farmhouse Ale, Shuckolate Stout, Raincloud [Robust Porter], Revery Imperial Stout

Grey Sail: Captain’s Daughter [double IPA]; Leaning Chimney [smoked porter], Flying Jenny [extra pale ale], Maryanne’s Ginger [spice ale], Flagship [cream ale]

Narragansett: Lager, Light, Coffee Milk Stout, Lovecraft Honey Ale

Newport Storm: Hurricane Amber Ale, RI Blueberry, India Point Ale, Winter Porter, Spring Irish Red Ale

Proclamation Ale: Tendril [“not quite an imperial IPA”], Derivative [American pale ale], Anniversary [Belgian dark strong ale with plums; some details from brewer Dave Witham: “The keg I am bringing to the RI Brew Fest is the base beer. It’s the only keg I have of it, because the rest of the beer got put into whisky and bourbon barrels at the brewery. 2 whiskey barrels full are aging and 1 bourbon barrel with brett and another 40 lbs of plums”], Harper [sour beer with apricots], Plattelander [saison]

Ravenous: Blackstone Pale Ale, Bienvenu Red Ale, Coffee Milk Stout

Revival: Fanny Session IPA, Conga [imperial IPA], Burnside Pale Ale, White Electric Coffee Stout, Elder Strong Cocoa Stout, Zeppelin [Hefeweizen ale]

Tilted Barn: Half-Mile IPA, First Harvest Pale Ale, Raffi Coffee Oatmeal Stout, Winter Sol [brown ale]

Trinity Brewhouse: Barleywine, Russian Stout, IPA, Gingerbread Man, Tommy’s Red, Scotch Ale

Union Station: Citra Big Ass Down [IPA], Providence Pale Ale

Whaler’s: American Strong Ale, Hazelnut Stout, White IPA

Of the 171 offerings at the New England/national tables, there are some new entries: you can get a first taste of session brews from Oskar Blues [Pinner Throwback IPA], Green Flash [Jibe], and Heavy Seas [CrossBones]; take a virtual getaway from the snow with Baxter’s Window Seat, a new seasonal porter made with coconut and almond; Sierra Nevada will showcase its new Nooner Pilsner and one-time-only Hoppy Lager; and Founders will unleash its Black Rye. You can see the complete list here; it notes that beers are subject to change. And that’s true, here’s a change now: Stone will bring Enjoy by 2.14.15 and Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean to vie for your attention with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale and Double Bastard. And check out the floor plan too.

Even with unlimited — and responsible — sippling, you can only sample about one-seventh of the tantalizing treats [our math is based on 32 two-ounce pours, aka four pints; your mileage may vary]. So plan ahead. Work the list! [And designate that driver, and/or take advantage of the Brew Fest’s Uber offer].

As we said two weeks ago: The Rhode Island Brew Fest is a  very welcome winter warmer — the Big Beer Event to circle on your calendar during these cold, cold [and now snow-caked] months. You can enjoy the bounty of local brews and chat with their creators! Compare notes and swap ale tales with fellow beerists!! Discover a few new favorite brews to enjoy year-round!! Wear pretzel necklaces!!! Huzzah!!!!

Today around noon @RIBrewFest tweeted, “Get your tickets to session two ASAP. Only a handful remain.” There were at least 10 left when we hit “Publish” at 3:44 pm… Get ’em here!

Mid-week brew news: Proclamation + Rising Tide, Bucket, and more

rising-tide-brewing-company-logoDave Witham of Proclamation Ale Company will be heading up 95 to Portland, Maine in two weeks, to do a collaboration brew with Nathan and Dave at Rising Tide Brewing. Dave met Nathan [head brewer/owner] and Heather proc[director of business ops/owner] Sanborn at the Beer Camp Across America fest in Portland in August and decided to combine their talents on a one-off brew. [We visited Rising Tide the day after the fest and particularly enjoyed the Daymark American Pale Ale, made with rye. Rising Tide beers can be found in MA.] Mr.Witham reports that they “don’t even know exactly what were brewing yet. Nathan and I just agreed ‘it won’t be an IPA.’ ”

Bucket Brewery’s monthly Friday Night Sound Check will take place on 1.16, with music by Katherine Quinn [who recently moved from VT to RI] and Jane Hesser. The $15 admission = four beer sample tickets [if you buy a souvenir glass for $5 and get more beer per sample; bring a non-perishable food item for the RI Community Food Bank you get an extra sample ticket!]. The fun runs from 6-9 pm at 100 Carver St in Pawtucket.

Undo: On Tuesday, Lagunitas Brewing Co. announced it was suing Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. over trademark infringement, claiming that the packaging for SN’s upcoming Hop Hunter IPA aped Lagunitas’ flagship IPA.

Today ’round midnight, Lagunitas founder Tony Magee said “never mind” in a series of tweets.

It’s an intriguing lesson about the power of “The Court of Public Opinion.”

UPDATE [added 1.14 @ 7:23 pm]: Magee discusses the lawsuit and the backlash with the Chicago Tribune.

[And in case you missed it, here’s a recent kinda-related NPR story, “Craft brewers are running out of names and into legal spats.”]

For updates and post alerts, follow Bottles & Cans at Twitter [@BottlesCansRI] and Facebook and/or sign up for e-mail alerts at the top of this page. Tell your friends!!!

AND if you have beer news and/or feedback and/or comments, please share ’em at bottlescansclaphands@yahoo.com.

2014: The year in beer ’round here

We’ll start sharing new beer news on Monday, but let’s take a look back at a very eventful 12 months in our local beer circles. Wotta year!!

JANUARY

Whaler’s Brewing Company of Wakefield gets its license; they open their doors for tastings and growler fills on May 17.

proc_handlesFEBRUARY

Proclamation Ale Company, helmed by former music teacher/musician/stay-at-home dad/homebrewer Dave Witham, debuts at the Rhode Island Brew Fest [get your tix for the 2015 edition, on January 31] and opens for growler sales and tastings. His motto: “Big Beer From a Small State.” He tells us: “I [don’t] want to make middle of the road beers that one would sit and idly drink. I [want] to make beers that grab one’s attention with more extreme flavor profiles and complexity, all while maintaining some sense of balance.” Mission accomplished!

MARCH

Newport Storm’s Cyclone Series, which kicked off in 2006 with Alyssa, an extreme brown ale, reaches the end of the line [and the alphabet] with Zach, an extreme oatmeal stout.

APRIL

The Brewers Association issues its list of the top 50 breweries of 2013 [based on sales], and Narragansett Beer is one of three new additions, ranking 49th.

Placentia, California’s The Bruery, which does everything big [bottles, ABV, styles, flavor, and price] and Spoetzl Brewery, the Texas company [the fourth-largest craft brewery in the US] that makes Shiner Bock [and other brews], come to the Ocean State.

MAY

Narragansett Del’s Shandy is released and sets off a buying frenzy. “When it came to our second ‘Hi Neighbor Mash Up’ collaboration,” ’Gansett prez Mark Hellendrung said, “Given the sessionable style of our Lager, and the growing popularity of shandys, we knew a collaboration with Del’s would create a quintessential summer brew that generations of New Englanders would be thrilled about.”

The state’s fifth brewpub, Brutopia Brewery, opens in Cranston. Brewmaster Sean Larkin adds another notch on his mash paddle, adding to his beermaking duties at Trinity Brewhouse, Revival, and Narragansett [he helms the seasonal and specialty releases].

In the 17th annual [and final] edition of The Best, the readers of the Providence Phoenix select Doherty’s Ale House as Best Bar, Beer Geek; Revival Brewing as Best Brewery; Trinity Brewhouse as Best Brewpub; and High Spirits as Best Liquor Store, Beer Selection.

JUNE

Pawtucket’s Brewery 401, the state’s smallest beermaker-to-be, changes its name to Crooked Current Brewery because Stony Creek Brewery of Branford, CT, trademarked the 401 area code for beer-related use. They declare that their “(401) IPA is produced specifically for beer lovers in Rhode Island,” though the recipe is virtually identical to their CT-“specific” (860) and (203) brews. P.T. Barnum would be so proud!

Newport Storm releases its first-ever mixed box: the 12 Sheets To the Wind Summer Variety Pack.

Yuengling — “America’s oldest brewery,” the pride of Pottsville, PA — returns to Rhode Island after a 20-year absence . . . Spencer Brewery,  the first Trappist brewery in the US [in Spencer, MA, about 11 miles west of Worcester], and Michigan’s New Holland Brewing are now distributed in Rhode Island.

brewbusJULY

The Rhode Island Brew Bus hits the road. Owner Bill Nangle says, “We are focusing on the craft of brewing and how it is made. This will not be a booze cruise — we are all about the education of great local beer!”

After more than two years of legal wrangling, Nikki’s Liquors moves to its gorgeous new location on Branch Ave in Providence.

AUGUST

After 18 years — and 1867 batches of brew! — Sean Larkin hangs up his mash paddle at Trinity Brewhouse and goes all in at Brutopia, where he ramps up production of Revival Brewing’s beers; bottles of Zeppelin and Burnside Pale Ale soon follow.

On August 1, Foolproof, Narragansett, Proclamation, and Trinity Brewhouse head north to Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America fest in Portland, ME, one of seven events in the “largest craft beer celebration in history” to toast the opening of SN’s new brewery in Mills River, NC.

SEPTEMBER

Stevie D’s, the beer bar mecca in Cumberland, opens a second location at the former home of the legendary Lincoln Bar & Grille in Riverside.

Foolproof Brewing Company starts distributing in Vermont.

Tilted Barn Brewery, an offshoot of Matt and Kara Richardson’s Ocean State Hops farm, is licensed as the state’s first farm beer maker. [They share their first batch of brews on November 22.]

OCTOBER

The second annual batch of Narragansett/Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout — six times bigger than the first release that disappeared in a week in 2013 — hits stores . . . ’Gansett expands its reach to Portland, OR and Chattanooga, TN. . . And they reveal their next mash-up: Lovecraft Honey Ale, a partnership with Revival Brewing [which will be released on January 19].

glass_and-Can Grey Sail launches Captain’s Daughter, a double IPA packed with Mosaic hops. You may have heard that it has made quite a splash.

Proclamation Ale announces an expansion; the news is modified and then updated on December 30.

San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery, named after the ratification that repealed Prohibition; British Columbia’s Central City Brewers + Distillers [try their Red Betty IPA]; and Lewiston, ME’s Baxter Brewing squeeze onto local shelves and try to grab some tap handles.

The Providence Phoenix/NewPaper ends a 36-year run; the three-year-old Bottles & Cans & Just Claps Your Hands franchise goes all-digital and mostly-daily @ bottlescansclaphands.wordpress.com.

NOVEMBER

Revival, Grey Sail, Bucket Brewery, Brutopia, Narragansett, Trinity Brewhouse, and Foolproof are medalists at the 18th Annual Great International Beer & Cider Competition [click the link for the categories and winning brews].

Newport Storm’s Annual Release ’14 is most likely the “world’s first snow beer.”

DECEMBER

Crooked Current Brewery is the people’s choice in the 1st Annual Bottles & Cans & Just Clap Your Hands Favorite Rhode Island Brewery Poll.

Foolproof adds New Hampshire to its distro network, and Newport Storm starts shipping to Pennsylvania.

Grey Sail blows out three candles with the release of 3rd Anniversary, a top-notch imperial IPL, and Captain’s Daughter is deemed “a happy find” by the Boston Globe’s Gary Dzen.

The Brewers Association shares a slew of stats and stuff in their report, “The Year In Beer: 2014 Craft Beer In Review.”

Jack’s Abby Brewing may [“nothing is finalized”/keep your fingers crossed] come to Rhode Island in 2015 . . . .

Narragansett Beer prez Mark Hellendrung gives Bottles & Cans an exclusive peek at their plans for 2015.

We’re anticipating another big year of beer and cheer in 2015. Sign up NOW to share the fun!

For updates and post alerts, follow Bottles & Cans at Twitter [@BottlesCansRI] and Facebook and/or sign up for e-mail alerts at the top of this page. Tell your friends!!!

AND if you have beer news and/or feedback and/or comments, please share ’em at bottlescansclaphands@yahoo.com.