How to make a shandy, beer vacations, a wicked old magnet, and more

It’s National Pecan Sandies Day! To celebrate, here are a half-dozen chewy items.

Check out ’Gansett’s “How To Make a Shandy” commercial:

Looking for beer, two book-writing girls [and a dude], pretzels, and more beer? Here’s some fun you should get it on:

Goose Island Migration Week takes over Newport today. The details are here; we’re crossing the bridge and getting in line as soon as we hit “Publish”…

Look what we found in the basement!

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We got it from Pete Slosberg himself at one of the early editions of the Great International Beer Fest [maybe we’ll include it in The Massive Prize Package we’re assembling to celebrate our rapidly-approaching 200th post].

Gotta getaway? On Saturday, we posted a link to Beer Connoisseur’s list of the world’s best beer cities; here’s The Street’s roundup of the seven best beer vacations you can take in the US [complete with lodging suggestions].

And set an alert on your Apple Watch for this event, which is down the road apiece:

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!!!

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:

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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 . . .].