Weird City, Weird Beer

1010_GANS_VerticalSellsheets_R3The NecronomiCon mission statement declares that it is “a celebration of weird fiction and its roots in the city of Providence.” “Weird fiction” is the phrase that PVD homeboy Howard Phillips Lovecraft used to describe his horrific and phantasmagorical tales. H.P. was born in 1890 – the same year that Narragansett Brewing Company hit the suds market. In January 2015, ’Gansett prez Mark Hellendrung wrote: “When the brewery was shut down, the spirit of Narragansett never died; it went underground, to a deep and dark place. Since reclaiming our beer in 2005, we’ve worked hard to stay true to our roots. But after being in that dungeon for so long, we came back with some baggage. Just like the nameless protagonist from The Outsider, we emerged in the light a little different. A little … strange. Think of this brew as our bold, our obscure, our tampered-with mind. It won’t be for everyone, and if it isn’t for you, you’ll know exactly who it IS for. This is OUR Lovecraft.” (Of course, we all know about ’Gansett’s resurrection in Pawtucket (if you’ve somehow missed that glorious tale, dig into the MotifRI.com “Got Beer” archives.))

The brew that Mark referred to in that bit of weird non-fiction was Lovecraft Honey Ale, the first of seven releases (so far) in the Lovecraft Series, which marked the 125th anniversary of the birth of two Rhode Island legends. Honey Ale was followed by Innsmouth Olde Ale, Reanimator Helles Lager, I Am Providence Imperial Red Ale, White Ship White IPA, The Unnamable Black Lager and the current entry – The Temple (which was inspired by a 1920 short story), a “sticke altbier” made with chocolate wheat malts and Huell Melon hops. So you won’t be shocked to read that Narragansett is the official beer of NecronomiCon. The Temple will be available at most of the fest’s eerie events; turn the pages of this edition of Motif for all the details re: said events.

And here’s a weird fun fact: H.P. was not a fan of intoxicating beverages, often railing against the evils of the demon spirits. Check this entry from The Recognition of Temperance: “Brewers and distillers still strive clumsily to delude the public by the transparent misstatements of their advertisements, and periodicals of easy conscience still permit these advertisements to disgrace their pages; but the end of such pernicious pretension is not remote. The drinker of yesterday flaunted his voice before all without shame; the average drinker of today must needs resort to excuses.” With all due respect, this periodical celebrates the art of drinking (in moderation) and we need no excuses to do so. So we encourage you to raise a toast to H.P. with The Temple at NecronomiCon!

P.S.: And in other ’Gansett news, look for tallboys of Bancroft Up and Down Ale. The brew is made as a nod to the Bancroft company, which made tennis racquets across the street from what is now the Guild in Pawtucket. There will be a ’Gansett Open at the Guild on August 26, with badminton courts (featuring matches with “local celebrities”), Wii tennis tournaments and samples of the ale (4.2% ABV, made with Cascade and Chinook hops). Hit fb.com/narragansettbeer for more input.

The summer is slipping away, so jump on these hot beer events:

  • On Saturday, August 5, the 3rd Annual Providence Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival takes over India Point Park in Providence from Noon – 5pm. The website (foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.com/providence-ri-17) promises more than 20 local food trucks and “some of the best regional and national craft beers”; when we were typing these words, the list of participants was “coming soon.” Hit that link to see if they’ve arrived …
  • On Sunday, August 20 at 11am, Whalers Brewing Company will host Donuts and Drafts, with a half-dozen brews paired with specially crafted flavor bombs from Matos Bakery (get tix through Whalers’ Facebook page) …
  • And the next big beer bash is Brew At the Zoo, which is at Roger Williams Park Zoo on Saturday, August 26, from 5 – 8pm (with a VIP session at 4). The fest features more than 70 brewers, food – and fantastic beasts! Go to rwpzoo.org for the list of pourers and other essential data.

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

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