Got Beer? Book Review: Rhode Island Beer, Ocean State History on Tap

Summer is finally here and with it, early morning sun flooding in through your windows interrupting your hangover sleep, mosquitoes and unbearable humidity. With it also comes idling the days away on the beach and cooking like a piece of bacon. Personally, I could do without the sand everywhere, long lines for parking lots, kids running around everywhere and that “fresh” ocean smell. I’d much rather go for hike up the side of a mountain. But for those of you who revel in the whole shore experience or any outdoor event, you should always bring a few things with you: sunscreen, good craft beer in cans and of course, a good book about beer.

A few months ago, the definitive book about RI beer history was released, titled Rhode Island Beer, Ocean State History on Tap. Written by Ashleigh Bennett and Kristie Martin of “Two Girls One Beer”(www.twogirlsonebeer.com) fame, it is part of a larger series by American Palate, which covers regional beer history all over the US. The book is part oral history, part archaeology, part cookbook and overall a great read. It was meticulously researched during 2014 by talking to those who were making or preserving beer history. It includes pictures of historic breweries and memorabilia as well as full color photographs that document the current scene. There’s even a short glossary and current beer-related store directory. It’s also conveniently sized for your beach bag or hiking pack.

The book opens with a foreword from the venerable Sean Larkin that details his rise from a lowly dish dog to a titan of the RI brewing scene. The first chapter starts with the early 1600s Roger Williams and Sgt. Baulston and takes us to the start of the dark days, better known as Prohibition, which gets its own chapter. After that, we pick up with the rest of the 20th century up to our current beer craft beer renaissance. Since it’s hard to cover modern times in the past tense, each current brewery and facet of the brewing culture gets its own detailed chapter. Top off all of that history with a few recipes that use local beers, and you’ve got yourself a great read.

The book is available on the Two Girls One Beer website as well as Amazon and at many local bookstores that need your business.

Full Disclosure: I was interviewed as part of the research for this book and the contents of that interview appears in Chapter 16. 

Mix a Six: Notes and happenings from around the Ocean State

* Bucket Brewery beers are now available in cans!
* The Tapp’d Restaurant Group (folks behind Doherty’s establishments) is opening a new Ale House in Coventry. RI directions: Where Ninos used to be.
* Craft Brew Races, Newport takes place July 18 at Fort Adams. Think a 5K with beer festival.
* Night Swim’ah, the new Belgian Wheat ale from Revival, is due to be released in bottles in the near future.
* Newport Storm has released their latest, The SheRIff of RockRidge, a Belgian Dark Strong Ale aged in Thomas Tew Rum Barrels. Strong beer, but easygoing and tasty.

* Gansett just released a Black Cherry Del’s Shandy. What’s more summery than that?
* Long Live Beer Works inches closer and closer to opening. Space has been secured, hardware is on order and recipes are being developed. More on that soon …

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