Tuesday grab bag: Cinco de Mayo is a bigger beer day than St. Patrick’s Day or Super Bowl Sunday; beer can crushing and launching with Letterman; and more!

We’re working the wires to find out who’s pouring what at the Newport Craft Beer Festival on Saturday and will share the details in a day or two. We’re also prepping for American Craft Beer Week [May 11-17] coverage — if you want your events posted, send the info to bottlescansclaphands@yahoo.com. But today we’re continuing our new Tuesday Tradition, going light on the words and heavy on the pictures/links.

A word about NCBF tickets:

And why not make a day of it in Newport? [But pace thyself, dear reader]:

Two beer stories worth a click-through:

Cinco de Mayo tops St. Patrick’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday with US beer drinkers, by Nate Madden @ The Washington Times

Craft Beer Brewer Blows Whistle, Gets Own Distributor In Trouble, by Adam Vaccaro @ Boston.com

And today we have two BEER-related Letterman clips: Dave crushes stuff with a steamroller [the beer can-smushing starts at :52] and behold, the beer launcher!

 

Beer fun: the Great International Beer Fest, the ‘Rhode Island Beer’ book tour, Whaler’s at the Grange, Jack’s Abby tap takeovers, and more!

beer_funLooking for some beer fun this weekend? Here are some prime destinations:

 Jack’s Abby roared into RI this week, and there are two more tap takeovers on the introductory slate: tonight [4.24] at Track 84 [aka the winner of the Favorite Rhode Island Beer Bar Bracket; 7 pm-close] and on Saturday at English Cellar Alehouse [5-10 pm]. Say hi to co-owner Sam Hendler and enjoy their world-class lagers, including the new, ultra-limited, quintuple-hopped Excess IPL.

 The 9th Great International Spring Beer Festival is on Saturday [4.25] at the Rhode Island Convention Center, with unlimited sampling of more than 250 different beverages [and free slices from Pizza Pie-er]. There’s a lot of macro in the mix [and not much internationality], but discriminating drinkers should find plenty to sip and savor. We suggest spending lots of time with the bolded locals: 21st Amendment, Bad Martha, Berkshire Brewing, Blue Moon, Bucket Brewery, Coors, Guinness, Finch’s, Foolproof, Goose Island, Grey Sail, Harpoon, Heineken, Magic Hat, Narragansett, Newport Storm, Opa-Opa, Paper City, Radeberger, Ravenous, Revival, Samuel Adams, Shipyard, Sierra Nevada, Stark, Traveler, Trinity Brewhouse, Two Roads, Union Station, Victory, Woodstock Inn, and Yuengling [plus Angry Orchard, Downeast, and Twisted Tea]. Sessions run from 1 to 4:30 pm [with music by the Rock] and 6:30 to 10 pm [the Network]; tix are $52 at the door.

 On Saturday, you have two opportunities to meet ’n’ greet Ashleigh Bennett and Kristie Martin, the esteemed authors of Rhode Island Beer: Ocean State History On Tapand sample Innsmouth Olde Ale, the second entry in Narragansett/Revival’s H.P. Lovecraft Series. They’ll be at Barrington Books from 1-2:30 pm and Symposium Books in downtown Providence from 5-7.

 On Sunday [4.26], The Grange will host Whaler’s Brewing Company’s first-ever beer dinner. Click here to see the menu for the three-course bash [6-8 pm, $40pp], which will be followed by a set of standup and storytelling by Vito Lantz around 9. And huzzah to Whaler’s, which was cited as Best No-Frills Brewery in Yankee Magazine’s Best of New England issue.

  You can toast the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame’s 2015 inductees on Sunday at the Met. We did some typing about that event on Thursday… [And before we head to Pawtucket, we’ll be watching them scrappy Boston Celtics. Chris Forsberg has a sweet piece on this year’s Green: “You’re going to miss this team when its season is over.”]

 Two no-go destinations: the Bucket Brewery will be closed on Saturday, but you can visit them at the Convention Center; and Proclamation is closed all weekend, as they prep their HQ for the arrival of the shiny new brewing tanks.

 And you can still let us know “What brewery would you most like to see in the RI market?” The poll will be open till Sunday.

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Cheers to 375 years of Rhode Island beer history

RIBeerIn the introduction to Rhode Island Beer: Ocean State History on Tap, Ashleigh Bennett and Kristie Martin invite you to “join us in cracking your favorite Rhody beer and learn more about what is and always has been brewing in the Ocean State.” You’ll need to line up a few brews to absorb all of the bygone lore and recent stories that they share from our little corner of the beer world.

Ashleigh and Kristie, who you know from the Two Girls, One Beer blog, spent many hours of 2014 digging through archives and breweriana collections and talking with the folks who are spearheading our current beer renaissance. The tale spans 375 years — from the Baulston Brewery, which opened in Providence in 1639, to the Tilted Barn Brewery, the state’s first farm brewery [formerly Ocean State Hops], which poured its first beers in Exeter a few days before Thanksgiving 2014. The opening chapter covers “The Ocean State Originals,” with rich and fascinating vignettes and bits of trivia about fleeting and legendary operations, from John Bligh’s short-lived Narragansett Brewery [“no relation to the Narragansett Brewery we’ve all come to know“] to the mighty James Hanley Brewing Co.; from What Cheer Brewery to Pawtucket’s first beer-maker, the Hand Brewing Company; from the Narragansett Brewery we’ve all come to know to Eagle Brewing Company.

“Party Foul,” the chapter on Prohibition, has some juicy bits about Rhode Island’s resistance to the movement [RI and Connecticut were the only two states that didn’t ratify the 18th Amendment] and its embrace of alcohol’s alternate routes: rumrunning, speakeasies, home brewing [“soon every grocery was selling malt extracts for ‘baking purposes’ ”], and other underground pursuits [“Woonsocket was known as the city of ‘mills and stills’ ”]. The post-Prohibition entry centers on the rise and fall of  ’Gansett, from its glory years when “it accounted for 65 percent of all beer sold in New England” to its long, sad decline after it was sold to the Falstaff Brewing Co. in 1965.

Entries on two craft short-lived small beer makers — Hope Brewing [1988] and Emerald Isle Brew Works [early ’90s], which specialized in cask-conditioned ales — set the table for the chapters on the 11 craft brewers and five brewpubs [from Union Station, which opened in 1993, to Brutopia, which debuted in 2014] which have fueled Rhode Island’s contribution the craft beer revolution. It’s a handy snapshot of Beer 401, with backstories [lotsa homebrewing, natch] and anecdotes and notes on the breweries’ pride and joy — the beer. Some notable quotes:

“It’s not just about fun and games and making beer. It’s about how we’re going to start a business and support ourselves.” — Brent Ryan of Coastal Extreme/Newport Storm

“Bringing people right into the process is fun.” — Nate Broomfield of Bucket Brewery

“Brewing itself is so romanticized. You’re just mopping the whole time. And getting sweaty. It was so much more relaxing when I was a homebrewer.” –Dave Witham of Proclamation Ale Company

Rhode Island Beer: Ocean State History on Tap wraps up with lists of the state’s “best beer bars” and bottle shops, a look at the local brewing community, “Cooking with Rhody Beer,” and beer terms; the 160 pages are stuffed with photos and kicks off with a foreword by Lord of the Brews, Sean Larkin.

The book is available at the Two Girls, One Beer shop, and the Official Release Party is at What Cheer Tavern in Providence tonight [3.31] from 7-10 pm [you can get signed books for $20, plus 18×12” prints of the Rhode Island Brewery Map by Sara Lyons, $12]. Ocean State brews will be well represented, of course, with offerings from Ravenous, Revival, Proclamation, Grey Sail, and Foolproof — and for the first time evah, Crooked Current Brewery will be available on tap. What Cheer will have the honor of pouring the very first glass of  CC’s Oatmeal Raisin Stout [outside of its Pawtucket HQ]. Which means more Ocean State beer history is being made today! We’ll drink to that!

If you can’t make it tonight, the girls will be at Bucket Brewery on April 11, Barrington Books on April 26, and Grapes & Grains and Norey’s on May 9 [click here for details].

         

And this just in from the Brewers Association:

2015_Top_50

Two girls, one history of Rhode Island beer

RIBeerWe do our best at the Bottles & Cans desk to bring you all things beer ’round here, but you should also spend some time at Two Girls, One Beer, the blog by Ashleigh Bennett and Kristie Martin. It’s a great source for brew reviews, events, and more [they’ve been at it since October 2011]. A few days into the New Year, we contacted the dynamic duo about their forthcoming book, Rhode Island Beer: Ocean State History On Tap, to be published on March 30 by The History Press as part of their American Palate Series, which focuses on regional beer lore. Now that the book can be pre-ordered at Amazon, we’ll share what they told us so you can get your palate whetted, follow the link, and boost its Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

It is essentially part historical guide, part modern day brewery tour guide. It begins with the history of brewing in Rhode Island, dating as far back as the 1600s, covering the booming beer business throughout the 1800s, and also going into how Rhode Islanders and their breweries dealt with Prohibition.

Each currently operating brewery and brewpub in the state gets their own chapter, even the newest arrivals like Tilted Barn and Crooked Current. We give their stories — the beginnings, everyone’s unique approach to brewing, and descriptions of their available beers. We tried to make it as up-to-date as possible, but you know how hard that is, with the brewery landscape here changing every day.

We finish off the book with chapters of recipes made with local beers, and a guide to our favorite bars and bottle shops.

Oh and Sean Larkin wrote the foreword!

We’ll have more info about the release and any events we’ll be doing in the next few months, so will definitely keep you posted.

The launch parties for Rhode Island Beer will be big fun. When spring rolls around, we’ll let you know where to meet-and-greet and get your books signed by Ashleigh and Kristie.

On Thursday, the folks at the Rhode Island Brew Fest tweeted, “Just a few dozen tickets left!” for the January 31 event. They’ll likely sell out today, so whatareyouwaitingfor?

If you already have your Brew Fest tix but are ready for a twist on this week’s Bottles & Cans mantra — “So many beers, so much time [and money]” — then head to Boston for the Beer Summit Winter Jubilee, which is happening tonight [6-9:30 pm, $45] and on Saturday [12:30-4 and 5:30-9 pm, $55 each] at the Park Plaza Castle. Here’s the list of brewers [with our locals in bold]: Aeronaut Brewing, Angry Orchard, Backlash, Bad Martha, Ballantine, Banner, Bay State, Berkshire, Blue Point, Brooklyn, Boulder, Boulevard, Cape Ann, City Steam, Clown Shoes, Dinkelacker, Downeast Cider, Duvel, Finch, Foolproof, Global Beer, Grey Sail, Harpoon, Henniker, Hofbrau, Ireland On the Road, John Harvard’s Brewery, Kennebec River, Lagunitas, Lexington, Mayflower, McKenzie’s Cider, Narragansett, Naukabout, Olde Burnside, Opa Opa, Paper City, Revival, Rickers Hard Cider, Riverwalk, Sam Adams, Sapporo, Saranac, Sebago, Shmaltz, Sixpoint, Stiegl, Tennents, 3 Beards, Trinity Brewhouse, Two Roads, VT Hard Cider, and Woodstock Inn. The castle is a fun and funky venue, and the Beer Summit is always a great time.

And if you’re really planning waaaay ahead, the 9th Annual Great International Spring Beer Festival will take place on Saturday, April 25 [1-4:30 and 6:30-10 pm]. Tix [$49 + $5.90 fees] are on sale now at Ticketmaster [you need a code — SPRING — for the “presale” which runs through Sunday at midnight, but there’s no discount so . . .].