Reviving some Revival Brewing news; and The Washington Post says ’Gansett is “cool”

deskSpring cleaning gets all the hype, but this weekend we tackled the B&C desk in a flurry of fall sprucing [aka autumn organizing]: recycling press releases and magazines, clearing clutter, purging pyramids of Genesee Cream Ale cans, and leafing through four pads with notes-to-self and future topics and intel-to-share. And whilst perusing the crossed-off items and shared intel and future topics, we were mortified to find that we hadn’t crossed off intel-to-share from waaaaay back [aka three weeks ago]. So for the record, here’s a post from September 14 by Sean Larkin, Revival’s brewmaster:

As of today it is official: Revival Brewing Company now has a permanent home at Brutopia.

We have signed a deal where we are renting and managing the brewery part of the space and working with the pub as a business partner.

rev_logoWe will soon be giving tours, selling special bottle releases, having our own events, and setting up a full-fledged merchandise component to the brewery. As well as kicking in our “Sour Beer Program.”

I am extremely proud of my Team, and I am very excited for the next few big things we are working on.

Thanks to everyone that has supported us in the past.

#cantstopwontstop

Belated congrats to Sean and the Revival crew!

All right, onward and upward! Coming this week: the complete Beervana beer list and a compendium of Providence Craft Beer Week events! Andandand…more!

•    •    •

Every Saturday we do a roundup of beer reads, but we can’t wait to share this feature on Narragansett Beer: “After 125 years, hipsters have deemed this brewery’s beers cool,” by Fritz Hahn @ The Washington Post.

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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].

•   •   •

And yay!

celts

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.

Happy 124th birthday to Narragansett Beer!

gansett1890

On this day in 1890, Narraganset Brewing Company opened for business in Cranston. The beer has a storied history: by 1914, it was the biggest brewery in New England, and its popularity peaked in the ’50s and ’60s, when it sponsored Red Sox broadcasts and its “Hi, Neighbor, have a ‘Gansett!” slogan captured its easygoing essence. But the brew’s rep quickly faded after its sale to the Falstaff Brewing Company in 1965; the Cranston plant closed in 1981, and the brand name got passed on to various entities. ‘Gansett was resurrected in 2005 when the corporate rights were sold to a group of Rhode Island investors led by Mark Hellendrung, who co-founded Nantucket Nectars. [Check out Ian Donnis’s 2005 Providence Phoenix feature, “The beer boom,” for valuable perspective on the brand’s history and revival and more local beer lore].

In the last decade, Narragansett has enjoyed steady and far-ranging growth: it’s now available throughout New England, New York, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin, Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Portland, Oregon. In 2013, it was No. 49 on the list of the best-selling US brewing companies. And it has generated huge buzz and sales with its mash-up collaborations with Autocrat [Coffee Milk Stout] and Del’s Lemonade [Shandy]. A hookup with Revival Brewing — Lovecraft Honey Ale — is due in January [Revival brewmaster Sean Larkin has also concocted the acclaimed ‘Gansett seasonal and one-off releases, including Bock, Fest, Summer Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, and Town Beach].

To commemorate the big b-day and in anticipation of the 10th year of ‘Gansett’s triumphant return, we asked Mark Hellendrung a few questions. And he answered them!

2015 will mark 10 years since you revived Narragansett Beer. What has been the most gratifying part of bringing the beer back to prominence? Social media is so great, [it] gives you a real window into what people are thinking. There’s not much better than seeing an excited tweet from someone across the country, pumped that a relative sent them ‘Gansett for Christmas. I can’t really point to one moment, but a series of moments, like when I have a ‘Gansett in some of the best bars or restaurants on the East Coast. We’ve come so far from the “nasty Narry” comments from when Narragansett shut down and was owned by someone else. So to get it back and find it in such awesome places is really gratifying.

What are your plans for the brand in 2015? I’m pretty excited about the Lovecraft journey that we’re about to go on when we launch the first chapter with the Honey Ale on January 19. We’ve got a great lineup of styles mapped out with Sean Larkin that we’ll release over the course of the year. And we’ll likely open up a few new territories this year on the East Coast.

What’s your favorite story involving an encounter with a ‘Gansett fan in one of the far-flung cities that the beer is distributed in? We recently introduced ‘Gansett to Portland, Oregon. I walked into the Stepping Stone Cafe, a great place featured on Man Vs. Food, with a tallboy. The guy behind the counter said, “You brought me that from Rhody? How’d you know I was from RI?” When I told him I didn’t know, but we were kicking off ‘Gansett in Portland, he said, “Holy shit, I just got a new feature beer!”

And here’s the obligatory Q: Any news on the long-awaited Rhode Island brewery? Big news soon, stay tuned — a couple of I’s to dot and T’s to cross.