The history of US beer, beer myths, beercycling, and a few tributes to Track 84

sam_7.4Every week [even on holidays — or, as we call 7.4.15, Saturday], we search Google News for “beer” so you don’t have to. Here are today’s finds.

Drinking the History of American Beer, by Tom Acitelli @ All About Beer [From Budweiser to Lagunitas]

27 Myths About Beer, by Brett Kihlmire @ Urban Milwaukee

Out on the piss? Danish festival recycles urine to make beer, by Helen Russell @ The Guardian [“ ‘From piss to pilsner’ is a new initiative being launched at Roskilde — northern Europe’s largest music festival — in Zealand, Denmark, this week…If everything goes to plan, guests at Roskilde 2017 will be served beer from barley fertilised by their own urine.”]

A mysterious Midwestern brewer toys with dessert, by Gary Dzen @ The Boston Globe [“A couple days later, I discover an LLC filing with the state of Illinois that lists Small Town (the ‘brewer’ of Not Your Father’s Root Beer) as part of Innovative Brewing, a subsidiary of Phusion Projects, makers of Four Loko.”]

And we asked a few of the state’s craft beer reps for their reaction to the closing of Track 84:

Dave in 2008 [photo by Richard McCaffrey]
Dave in 2008 [photo by Richard McCaffrey]
Sean Robinson of C&C Distributors: “I credit Dave [Longiaru] and the Track as being the pioneer and one of the most influential people/places in the RI craft beer scene. I’ve had so many great memories and have made so many great friends over the years at Track 84 and it is really sad to see it close. I wish Dave and his family the best in all of their future endeavors.”

Chuck Borkoski of Elevated Spirits: “I do feel a void with its demise. I spent some very enjoyable hours there and got to know a lot of quality people from it being one of my favorite craft bars.”

Dave Cummings of Craft Beer Guild Distributing of RI: “The most complimentary thing I can say about Dave is that he is a real gentleman and has no ego. He never demanded the most obscure brewery offerings, never held a grudge when he didn’t get that rare item, and when you offered him something rare he always said, ‘Thank you, I appreciate it.’ He never asked or cared about anyone else’s business, and always made time to speak with me even when it was obvious he was too busy. I will miss stopping in at random times to say hello, the great lineup of beers that were always available and, of course, the best sandwich in RI — grilled Reuben with Dave’s homemade sauerkraut. The RI craft beer scene is losing a pioneer but, more importantly, a gentleman. I wish him good health, happiness, and a lifetime supply of great beer!”

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A follow-up on Track 84

track_outside“I feel like a friend has passed away.” “I am seriously depressed about this.” “Awful. Track was a home away from home. I’m gutted.” “Track 84 changed my life.” “Damn, I always wanted to go to that place.”

Those were some of the reactions in the wake of the news about Track 84’s closing. Regulars knew that the bar and the adjacent Sandwich Junction had been on the market for months [here’s the listing, with 35 photos], but they didn’t know that they were making their final visits last weekend [perhaps not so coincidentally, the bar tapped a log of Founders KBS on Friday]. On June 27, they posted, “We’re [on] vacation from Sunday June 28th-Monday July 6th. Celebrate the 4th responsibly!” So it was a genuine shock to see these words on Tuesday: “It’s with sad hearts that we announce Track 84 will not be reopening after our vacation this week.” [Sandwich Junction will return from its vacation on July 6.]

track_7.2Many people expressed regret that there wasn’t a last hurrah — a bittersweet opportunity to thank and toast the staff, commiserate with old friends, and help kick the kegs. [“Unfortunately, we won’t be opening for a last beer at the Track,” owner Dave Longiaru told us today.] And the Track’s regulars are bemoaning the loss of their beloved world-class neighborhood dive bar [you know the mantra: “location, location, location”] and will be setting off to the “competition” that Dave cited as one of the reasons for Track 84’s closing.

But keep your fingers crossed — the doors may not be closed for long. A few potential buyers [aka competitors] are aspiring to keep the craft beer tradition alive at Track 84. We hope to be able to share some good news about the beer mecca on 84 Kilvert Street very soon.

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

Track 84 is closed: “It truly feels like the end of an era”

On Tuesday, June 30 at 8:15 pm, this post appeared on Track 84’s Facebook page:

We reached out to owner Dave Longiaru and got the following statement:

“The business has been down for quite awhile, [it] just hasn’t been profitable [due to] several factors: lack of a menu, competition. Tried my best to keep it going but fell short. Thanks to everyone that supported us through the years. Also I would like to honor any gift certificates that haven’t been redeemed.”

track_84_squareTrack 84 was one of the state’s craft beer pioneers, and a genuine local treasure — as evidenced by its triumph in the 2015 Favorite Rhode Island Beer Bar Bracket. We sang its praises in this post.

We wish Dave and his crew the best of luck, and raise a glass to the 10-plus great years and thousands of outstanding beers which were savored on Kilvert Street. OK, it’s time to cue up Hank Williams’ “There’s a Tear In My Beer.” Damndamndamn… [P.S.: The property is on the market.]

Beer tea bags, beer books, beer in Vermont, and other beery diversions

resurgam-detailWhen you’re done clicking through these beer links, we encourage you to dig into this week’s B&C posts, including some alternatives to KBS, a history of beer in Rhode Island, and an appreciation of the winner of the Favorite Rhode Island Beer Bar Bracket.

Update @ 10:26 am: My Beer Buzz just posted an item about Black Cherry Shandy, a new collab from Narragansett and Del’s.

My Quest To Reengineer a Legendary Beer In a Dirty Kitchen, by William Bostwick @ Wired [“The owner of Allagash, Rob Tod, sets a small green bottle of beer on an upturned cask. Its contents were aged in this very room. He pops the cork and pours a fragrant, foamy measure into a yellow plastic KOA coffee mug. It’s called Resurgam — Latin for ‘I shall rise again’ — and it is the most remarkable beer I’ve ever tasted: vibrant, alive with sweet white-pear notes, a clean, tart razor’s edge, and a subtle berry finish.”]

These 4 books will teach you everything you need to know about beer, @ Business Insider [We wouldn’t have linked to this item if it didn’t include Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer.]

Hop Theory Is Making Tea Bags For Beer Drinkers, by Julie R. Thomson @ The Huffington Post [“Hop Theory isn’t turning water into wine — they aren’t gods. What they’ve done with their beer bags is found a way to make light beer taste better. Or, for that matter, even make craft beer taste better. They’re just making all beer taste better because apparently, you can.”]

Vermont: From dry state to beer destination, by Brent Hallenbeck @ Burlington Free Press [“The state’s often-uneasy relationship with alcohol is the focus of an exhibit that opened Saturday at the Bennington Museum. ‘Alcohol in Vermont: Creation to Consumption, Tolerance to Temperance.’ ”]

And better late than never: on April 1, the folks at Shmaltz Brewing announced the “birth of an extremely rare and precious creation”: Circum Session.

2_Circum Session

The winner of the Favorite Rhode Island Beer Bar Bracket is…

dunk-beer-glassTwo weeks ago, we succumbed to March Madness and launched the Favorite Rhode Island Beer Bar Bracket, with a Sweet16 of extraordinary establishments vying for the votes of the state’s passionate and dedicated beer drinkers [click here for the tourney’s progression]. The contenders were a diverse group, representing a rich spectrum of places to get your better beer on: Track 84, Julians, the Avery, What Cheer, the Scurvy Dog, Doherty’s Ale House, Rogue Island, Doherty’s East Ave, Chomp, the Malted Barley, Pour Judgement, Norey’s, Mews Tavern, Stevie D’s, and 84 Tavern On Canal [plus a “play-in game”/write-in option].

After three rounds of heated competition, with a couple of buzzer-beaters and a few blowouts, Mews Tavern and Track 84 faced off in the championship game. And the B&C readers propelled Track 84 to a resounding victory, with 64 percent of the tally [the FRIBBB garnered 5847 votes overall].

It’s obvious that most B&C readers are familiar with the winner, but for the uninitiated: You won’t stumble onto Track 84 by chance. It’s on Kilvert Street in Warwick, a dead-end off Post Road near the airport, and is often described as a hole in the wall, unpretentious, and a dive bar. Which is a large part of its welcoming comforts and considerable charm. In a 2008 story in the Providence Phoenix, Ian Donnis wrote, “While the bar has passed in and out of [proprietor Dave] Longiaru’s family over time, the affable Warwick native realized, after reacquiring the place in 1999, that a different approach was needed to sustain it into the future. Thankfully, his enthusiasm for craft beers offered what seemed like a promising direction. Since installing the new focus [in 2004], Longiaru remains amazed by how many people enjoy good beer.” Eleven years later, the number of people who enjoy good beer has soared, and Track 84 has converted hundreds of first-timers to regulars.

Dave in 2008 [photo by Richard McCaffrey]
Dave in 2008 [photo by Richard McCaffrey]
The main room has a long wooden bar, a half-dozen tables, a flat-screen and a small TV, a digital jukebox, and an ATM; a smaller space in the back has dartboards and the rest rooms; the walls are filled with beer signs and old license plates. Yep, it’s a roadhouse. The sign near the front entrance says “Bar & Grill,” but it’s a misnomer; there’s plenty of free popcorn, though [during the day you can get a bite from the adjacent Sandwich Junction, or get something delivered].

But you’re not making the trek for food. Let’s get back to that long wooden bar and Track 84’s main attraction: 22 ever-rotating taps [plus a beer engine]. The current draft list is a typically great slate, running from Founders’ All Day IPA to Lagunitas’ Scare City #3 Imperial Coffee Stout to Petrus’s Aged Pale Ale to Allagash’s Odyssey — and the “house beer,” Brouwerij Huyghe’s Delirium Tremens, poured from the pink elephant at the center of the bar [there’s also a cooler with a tempting array of  big and small bottles, including some rarities]. The staff doing the pouring is attentive and friendly and definitely know their beer. Those qualities also describe the clientele, which appreciates the outstanding selection, the casual camaraderie, and fair prices. [And the previous two sentences apply to all of the beer bars that were in the bracket, though some place’s prices are fairer than others…]  The “About Us” page on their website puts it this way: “Are we fancy — Heck no! Dress code? Seriously? Pretty, well, no, but we have a great personality. Good beer? YES!! YES!! A thousand times YES!” We’ll drink to that!

We sent a note to Dave this morning to tell him that Track 84 would be cutting down the FRIBBB nets. His reaction was short and sweet: “I would just like to thank everyone who voted and I’m honored to have won.” We encourage all of you — regulars and habitués-to-be — to head to Kilvert Street and raise a glass with Dave and his crew. Cheers!


Crunch time! Last chance to vote in the FRIBBB! Plus, Sixpoint’s Beer Dust


It’s crunch time! Voting for the Favorite Rhode Island Beer Bar Bracket will end around 11 pm. We’ll get out the legal pads and No. 2 pencils and the abacus and crunch the numbers and declare the beer drinkers’ choice on Thursday. Scroll down to lend your support to the Mews Tavern 69ers or the Track 84 Porters!

After you vote, check out this groundbreaking news from Sixpoint, which is introducing Beer Dust. The “powdered, dehydrated beers will come in loose packets of .32 oz, or 9 Grams — and can be ingested after being reconstituted with water, or any other beverage.”


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!!!

The Favorite Rhode Island Beer Bar Bracket’s Championship Game

On March 18, the jump ball went up and the Favorite Rhode Island Beer Bar Bracket was underway, with 15 “teams” [and a “play-in game”/write-in option] vying for support from beer enthusiasts:


The Elite 8 was posted on March 23:


And the Final Four tipped off on Thursday:


Now, after 5439 votes, it’s last call — there are two teams standing. It’s a Warwick vs. Wakefield throwdown:

The beer drinkers have spoken, and the Mews Tavern 69ers or the Track 84 Porters will be cutting down the nets [click the links to check out their current beer menus]. Voting runs through Wednesday, and Rhode Island’s Favorite Beer Bar will be announced on Thursday. Spread the word and support your team now!


And this [literally] just in as we were about to hit publish: Here’s the official press release from Jack’s Abby:

Jack’s Abby Brewing Continues to Grow Distribution, Expands to the Ocean State
Massachusetts-based Brewery to work with Atlantic Imports in new statewide territory 
 FRAMINGHAM, MA:  Jack’s Abby Brewing today announces plans to extend distribution of its world class lagers to Rhode Island. The brewery is expanding to the Ocean State with its oldest partner and sole distributor in Massachusetts, Atlantic Importing, who is opening its own venture in the state — the Atlantic Importing Company of Rhode Island. This is the latest in a quick succession of new territories for Jack’s Abby following the launch of Eastern Pennsylvania at the end of March, as well as Connecticut this past June.
“Our fans in Rhode Island have requested our beer for a while now, and we’re happy to deliver,” said Sam Hendler, Co-Owner, Sales. “We couldn’t be more excited to get our lagers into the state in time for the spring and summer seasons.”
The Atlantic Importing Company of Rhode Island will distribute both draft and package for all of Jack’s Abby’s year-round offerings (Hoponius Union, Mass Rising, Leisure Time, Jabby Brau and Smoke & Dagger), as well as seasonal and specialty brews including Sunny Ridge Pilsner. The first delivery day is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21st.