Bidding Adieu to Pretty Things

Seven years ago, when the craft beer renaissance just arrived in Rhode Island, Dan and Martha Paquette, a married couple with a passion for good beer, started the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project up in Massachusetts. Dan came from a long brewing background with names like John Harvard’s, Ipswitch and Haverhill, among others.

Martha has a science background from North Yorkshire in England by way of MIT. This power-couple of the beer world came together to make one of the most adventurous brewing operations I’ve ever seen.

Inspired by the freedom and creativity of making beer, as well as some of the bizarre, otherworldly artwork at the Cathedral in Ripon, the self-proclaimed ‘gypsy brewery’ depended on the kindness of strangers to make their bizarrely delicious selection of beer, which was usually Buzzard’s Bay, but sometimes one or two other contract brewers in Massachusetts.

From the Jack D’or to the Babytree to my personal favorite, the St. Botolph’s Brown, each beer was unique, even among others of similar style. We were lucky to grab what we could here in Rhody thanks to the good folks at Elevated Spirits. For many years, we supped well of that divine, madness-inspired line of beers.

Now, as if waking from a wonderful dream, it seems we shall see Pretty Things fade away. For reasons neither half of the dynamic duo would divulge, the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project will cease to be.

My heart is breaking.

It’s always sad when a good brewery goes down, whatever the reason. There’s much conjecture that it has something to do with the ‘pay to play’ tap lines in the Massachusetts market or the rising costs of making beer in general. There’s the possibility they may be keeping a new beer project all hush-hush. Feel free to form your own theories; I’m merely posing possibilities.

According to the Pretty Things website, there will be one final shipment of that delicious brew this month, but nothing further shall be brewed.

I can already hear the Beer Hoarders starting their engines to fly out and buy every last ounce of Pretty Things on the shelf. Before you start harassing liquor store owners and poring over the BeerAdvocate forums, take a moment and think.

This renegade brewing operation won our hearts with independent spirit and innovative beers. It would be the height of disrespect to treat this already limited supply of beer as some sort of shallow prize to be fought over.

Show some class. If you must acquire this beer, share it and pass on the legend of the great gypsy brewery to those who will come after. Let their tale and their beer inspire future generations of brewers.

But most of all, raise a pint in tribute to the Paquettes, Pretty Things and everyone who helped make this crazy fever dream of brewing a wondrous reality.

We salute you, Pretty Things, from the bottoms of our glasses to the tops of our foamy heads. You will be missed.

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