Got Beer?: More Beer Is Better! A new beer bill hits the gov’s desk

Two issues ago, we celebrated the third anniversary of the bettering of Rhode Island’s beer laws while bemoaning the fact that our 401 indie brewers have the lowest beer-to-go ounce limit – 288 per customer – in the US (tied with Alabama and South Carolina). We also noted that the General Assembly had considered bills proposing a small bump to 384 ounces – a case of 24 tallboys –- and unlimited sales, but they didn’t gain traction. But the tide turned after that column went live! A bill raising the beer-to-go limit was passed by the Senate and House on June 28, allowing breweries to sell a full case of 16-ounce cans, nudging up to the 384 threshold. At press time, the law hadn’t been signed by the gov; we won’t bore you with the procedural details, but we hope that the new cap has gone into effect. (Editor’s note: S.620 was signed into law by the governor on July 15.) We’ll be helping to push for more legislative boosts for the Rhody beer scene down the road…

We’ll be helping to push for more legislative boosts for the Rhody beer scene down the road…

Let’s get festive! At press time, tix were still available for the Craft Brew Races extravaganza on Saturday, July 20 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, featuring a 5K walk/run and a three-hour brew fest, featuring 40-plus breweries, including more than a dozen 401ers. Check craftbrewraces.com/newport for availability. And we’re guessing that tix for the fifth annual Ocean State Beer Festival (OSBF) have sold out by now. (They went live on June 15; we’re really falling between the at-press-time gaps this time around. But the presale heads-up was posted at the blog cited at the end of this column, so mayhaps you should visit it now and then and/or follow our Twitter activity. End of shameless plug.) The Rhode Island Brewers Guild’s showcase event is returning to the site of the first OSBF – Grey Sail Brewing in Westerly – and the hook for the fifth anniversary is wood, which will be incorporated into the fest-only brews that will be poured on September 8. Go to ribrewersguild.org and hope for a miracle, ticket-wise.

We didn’t scare up too much local beer news; most of the brewers were too busy setting off post-4th half-price Phantom Fireworks to let us in on their late July happenings. But a coupla 401ers gave us some tidbits: Efren Hidalgo and his madcap crew at Providence Brewing Company are running a contest called #ShowUsYourInk. It’s intended to get local RI, MA and CT Providence Brewing Company followers, their friends and/or family to send in pics of their body art. The top four entries that get the most likes, loves, tweets and replies will be contacted, and they’ll set up a photo shoot to showcase their beautiful body art on a special release beer, Tattoo of Blood, a raspberry and cherry sour slated for release before the end of July. Each can will showcase one of the winners with a short bio and story behind their winning tats. Get more encouragement at facebook.com/pvdbc

And Chip and Josh at Shaidzon Beer Company plan to keep Buffalo Czech going throughout the summer and will be re-introducing Little Bella, a dry-hopped blonde ale, on July 19.

Are you looking for a palate-pleasing new book to absorb whilst sipping your sublime summer libations? Sure you are! J. Ryan Stradal’s The Lager Queen of Minnesota (out July 23) is a generation-spanning novel that movingly pushes a lot of buttons. It’s a warm, engaging, funny and wise tale about families, grudges, guilt, love and loss – and the joys of baking pies and making beer. A major plot element follows a woman who works her way up at a craft brewery, determinedly concocts a head-turning IPA, and strikes out on her own (with the help of her elders). The Lager Queen of Minnesota is a compelling read, and its resolution is well-earned and uplifting – a welcome respite in the midst of these turbulent times.

And we wish the very best to Pete Larrivee, who has been Getting Beer and supporting the 401 beer world from its formative years through its current flowering. We hope to be welcoming him back to these pages ASAP. Cheers, Pete!

For more beer news, check Lou’s blog, bottlescansclaphands.wordpress.com, or follow @BottlesCansRI on the Twitter machine.

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