Auld Lang Syne: The year in Rhody beer

Forecast

The time, it flew! The beers, they flowed!! The Rhode Island brewery scene, it kept a-growing!!!

It was a massive year for new 401 beermakers, with six additions to the thriving craft-or-whatever-you-wanna-call-it community: Providence Brewing Company (in North Providence in May), Taproot Brewing Company (Middletown, June),  Beer On Earth (North Kingstown, July), Apponaug Brewing Company (Warwick, October), Smug Brewing Company (Pawtucket, November) and LineSider Brewing (East Greenwich, November). Some perspective re: the mega-growth: from November 2011 through November 2014, nine breweries were launched in Rhode Island, and no one joined the local brewing ranks in 2015; three shops (Ragged Island, Shaidzon, and Buttonwoods) bowed in 2017. There are now 24 breweries/brewpubs in the state (plus the contract partners at the Guild, which opened its massive beer hall in November), and two more are currently in the works for 2019 (and Long Live hopes to move to its new home in a month or so).

So make a resolution to visit alla the beer havens ASAP and earn your swag from the Rhode Island Brewers Guild, which now has three levels of Ale (and Lager) Achievement in its Passport program: seven visits nabs a pint glass, 14 gets a baseball cap and a full sheet of stamps scores a bottle of End of the Rhode, a collab beer made at Grey Sail. (And the RIBGers will be launching a new look at ribrewersguild.org any day now.)

Rhode Island’s flood of new breweries is keeping apace with the still-flourishing national craft-or-whatever-you-wanna-call-it industry. The Brewers Association just posted its 2018 stats: There are now more than 7,000 breweries in the US, a 20% increase over 2017; there are an estimated one million homebrewers (and many of them are dreaming of going pro); and 85% of drinking-age residents live within 10 miles of a brewery – which lends a wonderful new definition to the phrase “near-beer”!

But before we tie a bow on 2018, we encourage you to get a start on your RIBG Passport and pick up a few end-of-year treats for your holiday sipping. Adam and Paul at Beer On Earth are currently serving Building Wings, a piney IPA, plus a Belgian winter ale, with a chocolate stout to follow after the holidays. And they’ll be throwing a New Year’s Eve-ish party on December 29, featuring the release of a champagne-like Brut IPA to celebrate all that they’ve accomplished in 2018. They plan to boost production and start canning in 2019. Onward and upward!

Foolproof Brewing Company just shared Forecast Chapter 5, a New England breakfast ale with oats, maple, allspice and vanilla; and they’ll tap a special beer for New Years Eve (details TBA; check their socials for updates). And huzzah to Nick and his crew, who are gearing up to launch their portfolio in Philly.

Revival Brewing invites you to pucker up with their new sour, Merry Beary; and Elder Dweller Cocoa Stout will be canned any day now. And if you donate to the pet food drive to benefit the Providence Animal Rescue League (which runs through the end of the month), their brewery dog, Oscar, will buy you a pint. Woof!

Shaidzon Beer Company has 500ml bottles (no draught) of Heavenly Flowers, a sour ale blended with a light saison aged in Jonathan Edwards red wine barrels for over six months (and bottle-conditioned for six weeks), which they debuted at Beervana. And the rest of the 401 breweries will have liquid goodness for your merrymaking pleasure; get the details on their platforms, many of ’em prefer to blow their own horns….

Cheers and happy holidays!

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

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