Pouring Love: Couples brewing

This month we acknowledge Cupid’s mythical concoction of beer and love.

Here’s the story of 3 established breweries led by craft beer pioneering couples: 

Jen and John Kimmich – The Alchemist, Stowe, VT

Set the WayBack Machine to 1995, and you’ll find John brewing and Jen waitressing at the Burlington Vermont Brewery & Pub. The magic elixir of beer (cherubic lube) would lead them eight years later to open The Alchemist Brewery & Pub in Waterbury, VT. Recognized as the first and foremost hazy double india pale ale, Alchemist’s Heady Topper hits the taste bud love target similar to the archer’s paradox: It is meant to give you wave after wave of floral hoppy goodness piercing your tongue and leaving no trace of bitterness. Now craft beer world renowned, Jen & John have shared their affection for amazing beer, sustainable environmental ethics and an inclusive work environment. Their magical craft surrounds all with boundless love and happiness. If you’re looking for love you can find it at 100 Cottage Club Rd, Stowe, VT. Visit online at alchemistbeer.com.

Jennifer and Alan Brinton – Grey Sail, Westerly, RI

One could say a love potion of beer crafted with desire, passion, and affection brought Jen and Alan together to hoist Grey Sail. Opening a microbrewery was Alan’s dream: For their first 10 years of marriage, though, Alan kept the notion under his cap. Jen’s 10th anniversary present was to put the feather in Alan’s cap, and in 2010 they purchased the Westerly Macaroni Factory building. The brewery name started as Grace Ale from their oldest daughter’s name, and it transitioned into Grey Sail adding the sailing theme for coastal Westerly. Now the brewery is celebrating it’s 10-year anniversary and 20 years of a love-filled marriage of beer and community. With environmentally-conscious business practices and a welcoming atmosphere, Jen & Alan provide harmony for workers, local musicians and loyal customers. The brewery also promotes area food trucks & pop ups that hit the target! Cheers to the Grey Sail Brewery, lovingly called Jen & Alan’s fifth child.

Get on board Grey Sail, docked at 63 Canal St, Westerly. Visit online at greysailbrewing.com.

Liz & Jared Kiraly – Bone Up Brewing, Everett, Mass.

Liz & Jared Kiraly’s love of life overflows with heart and heavy metal soul. Like Belgian artist Rubens expressed love in painted winged cherubs in The Feast of Venus, Bone Up Brewing’s Liz & Jared Kiraly share their love of Belgian farmhouse brewing techniques, combined with a feast of food vendors, popup-style, and a large selection of dried meats. 

Liz and Jared started brewing in their kitchen with dreams of starting their own public house. Jared went to Brussels with the intention of eating waffles for three days straight. After his first sip of a Westmalle Tripel, light shone down from the heavens, angels started singing; now he makes beer. Their marriage and knowledge of brewing has made them relationship experts. Serving suggestion for a perfect date night: a bottle of love-infused Menagerie and a Barrel-Aged Dark Smoked Saison, whether it’s snuggling with your beau and sharing a snifter by the fireplace or out of a bottle-in-a-paper-bag in front of a trashcan fire. Where can you find this and other love potions? Bone Up Brewing Co., 38 Norman St, Everett, Mass. Visit online at www.boneup.beer

Hopped Up Gifts and Guilded Memories

Props to Tilted Barn in Exeter. In 2007 the farm began as Ocean State Hops, Rhode Island’s first commercial hop farm, with the goal of producing beer with as much hops as possible, in addition to supplying other brewers with fresh local hops. From this farm grew the splendid Tilted Barn Brewery. Matt and Kara Richardson turned the historic barn on the farm into a hand-crafted beer brewery that featured hop crops from the farm.

The winter season brings us savory brews best shared with family and friends, paired with good conversation.. When one thinks of winter beers, warm and toasty will keep you cozy on these blustery winter nights. Tilted Barn’s “Is This Still Lawn Boy?” (Lager – Dark 5.3% ABV) is dark & roasty, yet smooth & crisp; Lawn Boy’s counterpart is a Czech-inspired Dark Barn Lager, perfect with Thanksgiving dinner.

Another Tilted Barn holiday beer is the ‘Blackjack’ (Pumpkin / Yam Beer’ 5.8% ABV), an American stout brewed with pumpkins grown right on the farm. It’s got a roasty profile with subtle hints of pumpkin and cinnamon on the finish: a slice of pie in a beer!

When you arrive at Tilted Barn, fill in the gaps of your gift list with glassware and apparel to bring a smile to the beer maven and elevate yourself to the Chairman of the Brewed. Cans-to-go from Tilted will make for a holiday dinner conversation starter that everyone can agree on! 

Be sure to check their schedule for food trucks and local musicians that will enhance your visit. 

For hours and lists of latest brews, http://www.tiltedbarnbrewery.com

Tilted Barn 1 Hemsley Place, Exeter, RI

The Guild in Pawtucket will satisfy even the most snobby holiday libationist. You can stay or take away growlers of great fresh local beers.

Their rotating brew list includes one of my crushable favorites: Bohemian Grove Pilsner (5.1% – 30 IBU). This is the kind of beer I’d expect to have in a small Czech village brewery filled with experience, wisdom, and talent and which has been brewing beer for hundreds of years.

Dick’s Irish Stout (4.1% – 32 IBU) is what I am looking for in a traditional dry Irish stout. It’s dark brown and pours with a small head without the lasting bubbles. The coffee aroma and thinner body combined with a light carbonation level gives you a pint with a flavor that is spot on. Dark chocolate and light coffee notes are upfront. The finish is shorter than most dry stouts but still has the typical burnt black malt bite. Pairs well with a fine pub menu featuring: Liege style Belgian Waffles (from Burgundian — see story page xxx), soft pretzels, house French Onion dip w/ kettle potato chips and the flatbread of the day.

One of the all-time masterpieces of brewing excellence is their Grand Bru Barrel Aged Golden Strong Ale (10.4% – 10 IBU). I was lucky enough to purchase 2 crowler cans in the past. Santa, I’ve been good so please put this under my tree. Exceptionally balanced and quite complex, the beverage hints of Candi sugar combined with Pilsner and more biscuity malts, particularly in the finish. It’s just an exceptionally well-rounded, intricate, and well-crafted flavor profile. One of the softest and smoothest beers I’ve ever had. The winter warming characteristics of 10.4% makes you feel that time has slowed during the hectic holiday hubbub.

When you’re out fulfilling your list of holiday shopping in Providence it’s close by and a worthwhile stop. Open Tue – Thu 4–8PM, Fri & Sat 12–10PM and Sun  12–6PM, The Guild,  461 Main St, Pawtucket. theguildri.com

Carbon Neutral Beer: Grey Sail’s 10th Anniversary Bash

November 11 promises to be a day filled with food, friends, fun and some of the best craft beer at Grey Sail’s 10th Anniversary Bash at the Grey Sail Taproom, in scenic Westerly, RI.! Grey Sail will also be honoring Veterans through a partnership with Work Vessels for Veterans, Inc.

Ten years ago Jennifer Brinton and Alan Brinton started with an empty 1920s macaroni factory and warehouse,a few tanks and minimal staff. Since then they expanded the brewhouse, and added a taproom, staff and brewing capacity thanks to the love and support from beer lovers around the Ocean State and New England. 

On the cutting edge of climate change prevention, Gray Sail is the first craft brewery in the state to implement technology to capture waste carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its production process and reuse it on-site to carbonate the beer. Rhode Island plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2035, and the Brintons estimate that their system equals the absorption work of 1,500 trees a year. 

“As a local business in a coastal community, we are committed to doing what we can to reduce our carbon footprint in all aspects of our operation,” said Alan. “This investment in Earthly Labs technology allows us to reap environmental benefits from brewing great beer.” 

Does the locally harvested CO2 add flavor? You’ll have to taste to find out.

Ketch The Buzz

Their seaside location inspired their nautical-themed “Captain’s Daughter” Imperial Double IPA . 

Brewed with high-quality pilsner malt and flaked oats makes this beer light in color, but certainly not in body nor alcohol content. It is aggressively hopped with Mosaics out of the Pacific Northwest, giving the Captain’s Daughter a strong aroma and flavor of tropical and stone fruits. Full body, exotic bouquet, her allure is fresh and tropical but she has a bite! She commands respect. 

Besides this wonderful DIPA, Grey Sail has a raft of other offerings:: 

  • ‘Flagship’ is a gold-medal winning cream ale that is the perfect session beer for any occasion. 
  • ‘Flying Jenny’ is an unfiltered extra pale ale crafted with five different malts and complemented by northwestern hops. ‘
  • IPL Great Ketch’ is an India Pale Lager brewed with German pilsner malts and hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe, Galaxy, Equinox, and Citra. 
  • ‘Pour Judgement’ started as an exclusive for the Pour Judgement Bar and Grill in Newport, RI as their house IPA. Brewed with the finest German malt and Eureka! Hops, this beer gained so much devotion that they now offer PJ IPA “to go”. 
  • ‘HazyDay’ is a Belgian Wit, with a pronounced yeast characteristic and subdued spicing. It’s a refreshing, unfiltered beer perfect for those hot Summer days.
  • ‘AutumnWinds’ is Gray Sail’s Oktoberfest-style ale, brewed with five premium German malts — a bready aroma, dense creamy head and brilliant garnet red color. Prost! 
  • A true comfort beer, ‘Leaning Chimney’ is a winter seasonal brewed in the robust porter style using peat-smoked malt. 

Visit their website or order to-go, view their hours, or make a reservation: www.greysail.com

The anniversary bash runs on November 11 from noon to 8pm.

Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island, 63 Canal Street, Westerly, RI 401.212.7592. Tour the Earthly Labs powered  CiCi ® CO2 system by request. Fans can also see a sneak peek of the system in action online on Instagram @greysail. Growler Station and Tap Room Hours Hours: Wed – Fri 3-8 PM. Saturday 12-8 PM. Sunday 12-5 PM.                    

Raise up your Liter Chosen: Oktoberfest Tasting Report

From life on Marzen to the depths of Helles, we have the agenda and some of the best local beers to make you want to don your dirndl, tip your Alpine Hat and rock the Haus.

In Munich, Oktoberfest is scheduled in September, and while the German fest was cancelled, and you might have missed some of New England’s in-person events, I’ve got a number of recommendations for Festive drinking…

The first weekend in October was the much anticipated Narragansett Beer’s Oktoberfest at the new Castle Tockwotton Providence Brewery. If thirsty fans haven’t drunk it all, you will be able to stille deinen Bierdurst (quench your beer thirst) with Gansett Oktoberfest brewed by the local team led by Lee Lord. Lee and the brewers are debuting their Märzen style that will bring Munich to the Providence masses.

One of my favorite fall beers is Sam Adams Oktoberfest.This classic style blends rich malts for a hearty, smooth flavor with notes of caramel. What’s not to love? This Lager – Märzen is hearty, nutty and woody. Very smooth. Available on tap and in bottles.

Next on the list is Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen’s ‘Tis the Wiesn – Festbier (5.7%ABV) A magical and more modern Oktoberfest-style lager. I had a preview pint thanks to the ‘Fürst of Franconia,’ Alex Corona. Pale in color, big pilsner malt character, and medium bodied with a snappy hop finish that keeps you coming back for another sip. The German word wiesn translates as “meadows,” and is the term used by locals in Munich to refer to the Oktoberfest festival. $14 4-pack 16oz cans.

Most American brewers making a beer for this season produce a Marzen-style lager, an amber lager with rich caramel malt flavor which was common in the late 19th Century. But the lager beer consumed in Munich today is a golden-hued, drier, and more refreshing beer. Long time cornerstone of New England craft beer, Cambridge Brewing Company’s Festbier is brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and Munich malts, and Hallertauer Mittelfrüh and Tettnanger hops. Cold fermentation with an authentic German lager yeast is followed by an extended seven weeks of conditioning time. Thanks to Will sharing a sample of his work CBC FestBier. I was told it wasn’t ready, needed more time. Honestly already fantastic and will only get better! Unfiltered but crystal clear, it offers toasted malt notes of freshly baked bread combined with zesty, spicy German hops for a balanced, crisp, and refreshing lager that makes me want more! Available early October on tap and in growlers at Cambridge Brewing Company. 1 Kendall Square, Bldg 100 Cambridge, MA

The Octoberfest Cans I liked the most in no particular order

(available at your local beer purveyor)

Foolproof Augtoberfest: This is a proper Märzen. Mahogany amber pour with a long lasting off-white head. Nice clarity. The body is medium featuring a nice malt sweetness to start and possibly a hint of brown sugar. Then there is a bitter earthy or resiny finish. When it breathes it’s even better! Actually outstanding! 241 Grotto Ave #1, Pawtucket, RI 02860

Ragged Island Oktoberfest: A perfect example of a traditional Oktoberfest! A medium bodied Marzen larger. Starts out hoppy then malty with a clean dry finish. 54 Bristol Ferry Rd, Portsmouth, RI 02871

Jack’s Abby Copper Legend Octoberfest: The pour is light amber with a moderate flow of carbonation. The flavor profile is malty & toasted almond. I tasted a slight biscuity touch. Finish is clean, crisp and bright. Overall, a very good Märzen / Oktoberfest that I would seek out again. 100 Clinton St, Framingham, MA 01702

Grey Sail Autumn Winds Fest Beer: Pours a nice fizzy little fluffy slightly browned head that fades beautifully. Very malt forward with a mild hop flavor. Mouth is medium to full bodied with just the right carbonation. 65 Canal St, Westerly, RI 02891

Smug Brewing Bocktoberfest: Is it a bock or an festbier? Local wizards have brewed a beer with an aroma that is sweet and malty, but balanced with a subtle spiciness. Earthy hops and then the malt sweetens making a marzen delight. 100 Carver St, Pawtucket, RI 02860

Black Hog Brewing Octoberfest: Master brewers Tyler Jones and Tom Sobocinski have created a hop/malt perfect balancing act. Caramel, bready, and biscuity malts. Bright but not overpowering hops. Nice mouth feel. Easy drinking.Let it breathe and you will have a very solid fest bier. 115 Hurley Road Building 9A Oxford, CT 06478

The Fests of Times, the Würsts of Times: Oktoberfest Events

From life on Marzen to the depths of Helles, we have the agenda and some of the best local beers to make you want to don your dirndl, tip your Alpine Hat and rock the Haus.

The OG Oktoberfest in Munich is still cancelled due to the pandemic, but here are some local events you can responsibly drink in.

SEP 25-26 
Oktoberfest returns to the German American Cultural Society of RI in 2021! Get a sense of Bavarian Gemütlichkeit (coziness) with live music, dancing, German Festbier, and traditional food offerings in their outdoor Biergarten, Ratskeller bar, and large indoor Bierhalle.  78 Carter Avenue, Pawtucket, RI 02861

SEP 25-26
You must go to the Sam Adams Boston Taproom’s celebration of classic German beers. Traditional and innovative brews from Megan Parisi and the brewers. They’ll have live music, a German Plate featuring a Brat + Pretzel combo, stein hoisting contests, and a special sampling of Barrel Aged Octoberfest available for purchase within the taproom. 60 State St, Boston, MA 02109 $5 tickets are available at the door! RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/253836672994118 

OCT 1-3
The first weekend in October, stille deinen Bierdurst (quench your beer thirst for) with Gansett Oktoberfest brewed by the local team led by Lee Lord. Anticipation is making me wait! Since opening this year Lee and the brewers have reestablished Narragansett’s Providence beer fans faith in local craft beer. The debut of their Marzen style will bring Munich to the Providence masses. Get your tickets before they are ausverkauft.  Narragansett Brewpub  271 Tockwotton Street near India Point Park ticket holders (visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/narragansett-beer-presents-oktoberfest-tickets-166542263393)

SAT OCT 2 @ 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
One must attend the Würst Lagerfest Ever at  Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen.  Master Chef Jon Gillman will be at the helm of their patio charcoal grills, open fire cooking their sausages, featuring a staggering würst menu comprising over a dozen different handmade sausages! 190 North Beacon Street, Brighton, MA, 02135