Gift Series Part II: Experience It

This is Part II of our 4 Part Gift series

Have a craft beer lover in your life and don’t know what to get them or want to do something other than the random beer trinket? These gift ideas are ways for you to get out there and immerse yourself craft beer. Ways to meet other people, try new breweries, and make the experience memorable.

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Review: Revival Double Black IPA

It’s not secret that we are longtime fans of Sean Larkin and the beers he produces. We had him write the intro to our book, because in our opinion, he’s one of the driving forces behind the RI craft beer scene. And he’s just awesome. He’s the type guy who brings kegs to a first birthday party. For real. From Trinity to Narragansett he’s won 14 awards at the Great International Beer Festival and a bronze at the GABF. This week I got to try the Double Black IPA, one of Revival’s offerings.

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Revival Night Swim’ah and ConserFest

It was the Fourth of July Weekend and I was hiking in NH up at Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs when someone in the parking lot shouted, “Hey, you’re the beer writer!” I had been recognized by Frank, a writer for Yankee Brew News, not only for my writing prowess, but for my Revival “Night Swim’ah” tank top. Everyone knows Revival. Even if you haven’t had a Revival Beer, you’ve probably had something by Sean Larkin, the mastermind behind Revival Brewing (and the foreword to our book, and a ton of other Rhode Island beers such as Trinity, Narragansett, and Brutopia).

Here's a dorky mid-step picture of me atop the cliff in my tank top

Here’s a cute mid-step picture of me atop the cliff in my tank top

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Hop on the Bus! – Sunday, May 31

As much as we love Rhode Island, we both also absolutely adore New Hampshire. Kristie used to call Portsmouth home and any time we have a free weekend in the summer, you’ll usually find us making the trek into the mountains with a car loaded full of camping gear and beer.

Not only do we love the surroundings, but the New Hampshire beer scene is second to none. Breweries like Smuttynose, Earth Eagle Brewing, Throwback, Moat Mountain, and Stoneface are cranking out some of the best brews in New England and each space is so unique that the idea “if you’ve seen one brewery, you’ve seen them all” is quickly dismissed.

That’s why we’re beyond excited to be partnering up with our friend Dave and his brewery tour bus Granite State Growler Tours. On Sunday, May 31, we’ll be on board as guest-hosts of a trip that includes stops at Earth Eagle Brewings, WHYM Craft Beer Cafe, Sea Hagg Distillery, and Throwback Brewery. During the tour, we’ll be talking about our journey into the world of beer writing, the book writing process and a bit about the beer scene in Rhode Island.

Tickets are $55 and available here. RSVP on the Facebook event page.

The night before the tour, we will also be hanging out at WHYM Craft Beer Cafe for their Second Anniversary Party – 2014 Parabola, Allagash Midnight Brett, Stoneface Brewing aaand Lunatique Homard (if you haven’t had this one, you haven’t truly lived) on draft. See you there!

Two Girls, One Beer Fest: A Photo Recap of the 4th Annual Newport Craft Beer Festival

4th Annual Newport Craft Beer Festival

NewportIt’s that time of year again, for folks to gather on the grounds of the Great Friends Meeting House in downtown Newport, on a (hopefully) beautiful day. It’s the 4th Annual Newport Craft Beer Festival, and this year there are multiple dates to save, as it has stretched into a two day long event! Friday, May 8th from 8-10pm is the VIB event (Very Important Beers), featuring beers from festival brewers that won’t be available on Saturday, in a smaller, more intimate setting at the Newport Storm Brewery, with some festival brewers in attendance.

Saturday’s two sessions (noon-3, 4-7) will feature 35 craft breweries from across the country. Each brewery is required to send staff employed by the brewery so guests can have all of their questions answered and learn about beer from the people that actually make it. The festival also emphasizes local, Rhode Island beers with “Guild Row”, a special area under the tent where guests can easily access all Rhody beers in one spot. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Rhode Island Brewers Guild, a non-profit organization that promotes Ocean State brewers.

Guests will have the opportunity to sample brews, snag a commemorative tasting glass, and vote for their favorite brewery in a Fan Favorite award. Some Newport restaurants will also be showcasing their best dishes and live bands will be performing each session.

Did we mention that we will also be there at both sessions signing copies of Rhode Island Beer: Ocean State History on Tap??

Friday VIB tickets are $35 and Saturday tickets are $45 and are available at http://www.newportstorm.com/GearStore. Space is limited to 75 tickets on Friday and 550 for each session on Saturday so act fast, people! This is a great event for a great cause. For the most up-to-date info and a list of attending breweries, check out the festival Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @NewportBeerFestival

If you can’t make it to the festival, we will also be at Norey’s in Newport from 8-10pm that evening.

Literary Libations Weekend – 4/25/15

We are on the bookstore circuit this weekend and have decided to make things a bit more interesting by throwing some beer into the mix. We’ve partnered with Narragansett Beer to help release the latest in their H.P. Lovecraft Series – The Innsmouth Olde Ale.

Official description:

Chapter 2 in the Lovecraft Series draws its inspiration from “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” one of our favorite Lovecraft stories which chronicles one man’s ominous visit to the fictional sea town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts. The dark, malty Innsmouth Olde Ale represents the shadow that hangs over the blighted town of Innsmouth and its strange inhabitants that spawn from the “Deep Ones.”

The label illustration was designed by famed Lovecraftian and Rhode Island artist, Jason C. Eckhardt.

Roll out the Barrel: 7% Alcohol by Volume and 30 IBUs. The Innsmouth Olde Ale draws its balanced, robust, and slightly toasted features from a complex blend of Two-Row Pale, Crystal, Cara, Dark Munich, and Chocolate malts, Chocolate rye and finishes with just a touch of Summer and East Kent Goldings hops.

Quality Supreme: Brewed in collaboration with Sean Larkin, Head Brewmaster for Narragansett and owner of Revival Brewing, Innsmouth Olde Ale is made with a complex blend of malts and rye followed by just a touch of hops, producing a bold yet balanced English-style Olde Ale.

Taste & Enjoy: We created this ale as our interpretation of the select stock ales served at taverns and roadside inns both found in Olde England and Olde New England, much like how we imagine the very inn that the unnamed protagonist visits in Lovecraft’s story.

The History: Born in 1890, the same year that Narragansett Beer was founded, H.P. Lovecraft spent the majority of his life in Providence as a struggling author, only achieving literary fame posthumously. Commonly referred to as the “Father of Modern Horror,” he is often cited as an influence on other notable authors and artists from Stephen King to Metallica to Ridley Scott. H.P. Lovecraft is best known for creating Cthulhu, a fictional deity described as being part man, part dragon and part octopus. It is this creature that inspired the Cthulhu Mythos, a cultural lore and shared fictional universe of Lovecraft’s successors.

gansettOur first stop is on the East Bay at Barrington Books. We’ll be there from 1:00 – 2:30 with books, posters, beer. They have a Facebook event page set up that you can see here.

Second stop will be from 5-7pm at Symposium Books in Downtown Providence.

Come out and support your local independent book sellers!

Book Signing at Bucket Brewery – 4/11/15

THP MTA Poster 4-11We will be at Pawtucket’s Bucket Brewery on Saturday, April 11 from 12-2pm signing and selling our book “Rhode Island Beer: Ocean State History on Tap”.

The Bucket crew will be running brewery tours at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 (on the hour). The cost is $13, which includes a tasting and a pint glass. If you just want to do a tasting ($5), pop in anytime between 11am and 5pm. If you just want to chat with us, it’s totally free! (Unless you would like a book or a poster, then I’m afraid our prices go up!).

Bucket will be pouring samples of their Pawtucket Pail Ale, Park Loop Porter, 13th Original Maple Stout, and 33rd Inning Red Rye Lager.

Bucket Brewery logo

Location:
Bucket Brewery
100 Carver St, Pawtucket, RI

Book Release Party & Crooked Current Draft Launch – 3/31/15

mta

The book is out and we are ready to party! Join us at Providence’s What Cheer Tavern on Tuesday, March 31, from 7-10pm as we celebrate the release of our first book “Rhode Island Beer: Ocean State History on Tap”. We’ll be signing and selling books, as well as brewery map posters. To make it even more of a celebration, we’ll be joined by Rhody’s first female brewmaster, Nichole Pelletier from Pawtucket’s Crooked Current Brewery, as she launches the brewery’s first tap lines in the state.

Nichole Pelletier of Crooked Current Brewing

Nichole Pelletier of Crooked Current Brewing

What Cheer will be also be pouring other local beers from the likes of Ravenous Brewing, Proclamaton Ale Co., Grey Sail Brewing of RI, Revival Brewing, and Foolproof Brewing.

Pickled delights will be available, courtesy of Fox Point Pickling Company, as well as the full What Cheer menu.

Hope to see you there! RSVP at our Facebook event page.

160. Newport Storm Wham! Bam! Van Damme

It’s crazy to see how far Rhode Island has come over the past few years in terms of local breweries and the support that these new start-ups are receiving. Pawtucket’s Crooked Current, in their first few months open, were voted Best Brewery in Rhode Island in an online poll over at Bottles & Cans. Maybe it’s because that it wasn’t long ago when Rhode Island was the home of one production brewery and a smattering of brewpubs. You’ve come a long way, baby.

With that said, you’ve really got to give the crew at Newport Storm some credit. Before the start of this voracious locavore movement, they were pushing out innovative beers, not because the market was crying out for Belgian pale ales or Double IPA’s, because it wasn’t; those beers were virtually unheard of in New England. They were doing it because they loved brewing, loved the experimentation it included (these are a bunch of science geeks, mind you), and they enjoyed giving their small group of supporters a treat every now and then. Not saying that every offering from them has been a success – there have been a lot of hits and misses over the years, but they took that chance. Take a look at their Cyclone Series for example (retired) – 6-packs of limited release, unique offerings – an Autocrat milk stout before Narragansett, bocks, Belgians, scotch ales and sours, all while most people were still suckling on the BMC teat.
With some of Storm’s latest offerings, it looks like they’re going back to those days of brewing for fun, just to experiment and learn – it just so happens that styles like Belgian Pale Ales are increasingly popular now. Their innovation has finally caught up with market trends. The Cyclone Series is gone, but in its place is a new batch of limited-release brews and in this case, Newport Storm’s first 4-pack.

The brewing team at Newport Storm are a bunch of movie geeks. If you haven’t noticed this already, check the bottom of any Newport Storm bottle cap and you’ll usually find a movie quote with the word “beer” swapped in so Wham! Bam! Van Damme comes at no surprise. This is an 8% Belgian Pale Ale in praise of all things scissor kicks.

Photo(11)

WBVD pours a radiant golden, with a thin white head that fades quickly; huge stonefruit aroma, with lots of apricot and caramelized sugars. Dry-hopped for two weeks with a blend of American, Australian and German hops, I was envisioning either the hops getting lost in the prominent Belgian yeast, or the opposite, the bitterness overpowering the spice. I was very wrong. The big yeast spiciness, specifically lots of black pepper notes, match up beautifully with the intense hop profile. The bitterness plays a big part of this beer, but is never overpowering, and is in perfect balance with the light caramel malts, vanilla-soaked fruit flavors and big citrus quality. Every flavor mingles very nicely, amidst a crisp, medium body with great carbonation.

159. Rhode Island Brew Fest

Rhode Island beer has definitely seen a swelling of the ranks this past year with the opening of Proclamation Ales and Whalers Brewing down in South County, Sean Larkin’s latest brewpub venture Brutopia, and Pawtucket’s newest brewery Crooked Current. This summer’s Rhode Island Brew Fest, put together by the folks at Gray Matter Marketing, has brought together each Rhode Island brewery and will be the first opportunity for a lot of people to sample some of these new offerings.

(Valley Breeze Photo by Bill Murphy)

(Valley Breeze Photo by Bill Murphy)

What: Rhode Island Brew Fest – Summer, 30+ breweries, live music, local food

When: Sunday, July 20, 2014. One Session from 4:30 – 7:30

Where: The Providence Rink at the Bank of America City Center

Tickets are $45 if purchased in advance, and will increase to $55 at the door. Check out http://www.ribrewfest.com/summer/ for tickets and any additional information.

This festival is also being held in conjunction with Craft Brew Races, a 5k for runners and walkers being held at multiple cities throughout New England this summer. The Providence race will be held the morning of the beer fest, with race registration including entrance to the festival. Registration is still open so check out http://www.craftbrewraces.com/providence/ if you feel the desire to sweat out all the beer you’ll be imbibing later.

See you there!

153. Grey Sail Stargazer Imperial Stout

Grey Sail Stargazer Stout

Thanks to Joe for this bottle of Stargazer Stout. This is a 2012 bottle, but I’ve seen it around a few liquor stores across Rhode Island – off the top of my head, Nikki’s in North Providence, if anyone’s interested.

This beer seriously looks like fryer grease poured out from one of those restaurants that you swear you’ll never eat at again because of food poisoning that one time, but it’s so cheap and it’s right there, so you end up going, later on cursing Guy Fieri for making every divey pizza joint seem like the Ritz Carlton of Flavortown, but they’re not and sometimes you’re better off with a frozen box of T.G.I. Fridays potato skins- but I digress. This beer is dark and thick and oily-looking, but in the best way. I don’t know why it’s called Stargazer, because this beast is like staring into a black hole.

Commercial Description: “Our limited-release Imperial Stout was brewed with nine different malts and Northern Brewer, Willamette, and Saaz hops, resulting in hints of rich cacao, roasted coffee and dark fruit. Several months of bottle-aging give this one-off a silky smooth finish.”

The nose is fantastic—over-ripe dark fruit, molasses, chocolate and the taste is insane. Wave after wave of semi-bitter chocolate, balanced perfectly with a good amount of roast and light char- probably due to the age, the hops and any strong coffee notes fall to the back while the dark fruits and chocolate really shine. The 9.7% alcohol is very well-hidden under a silky body. Finishes slightly dry.

I would not hesitate to pick up this gem if you can find it.

Grey Sail Brewing of RI
63 Canal Street
Westerly, RI, 02891

145. Newport Storm Spring Irish Red Ale

Newport Storm Irish Red

Ah, the spring beer; where the bock, dry stout, fruit-based Wheat beers and Irish Reds all attempt to reign my least favorite season. Why has spring become so glamorized into crocuses emerging from freshly-thawed soil, birds chirping, and dewy-eyed hibernators emerging to forage for asparagus and fiddleheads? Spring is the pits. Spring is muddy shoes and never knowing what type of weather to dress for. It’s rainy and dismal and causes my cat to make these weird clicking noises when she sees birds outside, and I think I’m starting to see the stirrings of an Escape From Alcatraz-type of elaborate getaway by the way she’s pacing by the slider door.

Anyways, Irish Reds have gotten themselves a pretty bad rap. They don’t have a lot of historical basis as an actual style, and it seems like some breweries see the Irish red as a way to put out a beer, unique because of its bold color, but usually pretty bland. They’ll spout phrases like “This is a balanced, malt-forward amber ale”, and you get a beer with low hops, low malts, but hey, that makes it balanced, right?

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143. January 15-22: A Week in Beer – Rhode Island

I don’t have a lot of familiarity with Rhode Island, and now I live here. I don’t even have a favorite bar yet. New breweries are starting to pop up even before I’ve sampled the old ones. It’s all happening so fast! I wanted to put together a weekly compendium of beer events going in in the Ocean State for a couple reasons. First, are there other beer bloggers in Rhode Island? E-mail me because I’d love to hear from you! RI beer info is a little scattered across the internet right now, so I thought this would help beer folks plan their drinking itinerary. Also, this is to help me figure out where to go, what to drink, how to actually live in this state as a craft beer consumer.

So here’s some events going on this week in Rhode Island. If you hear of anything else, feel free to reach out at twogirlsonebeerblog@gmail.com Cheers.

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130. Foolproof Brewing Company – Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Foolproof9

“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” – Dr. Emmett Brown

On my way to Foolproof, I made the mistake of ignoring the website’s order of ignoring your GPS and instead, following their written directions. Of course my iPhone would show me the way. You know, internet and satellites and stuff. Cut to me pulled over on the side of the road, mascara running down my face due to tears of frustration, iPhone: long gone out the window.

Heed this, reader. Follow their directions. It’s a tricky route, but a great reward at the end.

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