Before we get to the locals, we have a scooplette from across the border: Wormtown Brewery, straight outta Worcester, Massachusetts, will start distributing in Rhode Island (via Elevated Spirits) real soon. Managing partner David Fields told us that their flagship IPA, Be Hoppy, will be available on draft-only the first week of April – “We believe in building our brand at a barstool,” Fields says – though some package may hit the market down the road (there may also be some seasonal Bottle Rocket Pale Ale in the summer). Fields has a strong connection to Rhode Island: His wife is a native, and they summer in Matunuck, so Wormtown will definitely be on tap in South County. We’ll have more details in a future column.
- The crew at Grey Sail have a lot going on, as usual. Hazy Day, the Belgian wit summer seasonal, will be out soon – making its debut in printed cans (“Oh happy day for the packaging crew,” notes assistant brewer Michelle Kirms). They’ll also be releasing Black Mast American Stout as a new year-round beer ASAP, pending label approval. Michelle notes that “our tap room courtyard underwent a facelift last fall, with fresh grass planted and some unsightly trees/bushes removed. We are getting professional lighting for outside as well as some more seating, and we hope to have it ready by Easter weekend.” And their expansion, which will double its brewing capacity, is moving right along. More beer for the masses!!
- Ragged Island Brewing Company is edging ever-closer to sharing brandy-new beer at its Portsmouth facility. They’ve secured their Brewer’s Notice ( ie, permission to operate) from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the state hearing to get the brewing greenlight is on March 9. Fingers are crossed for a mid/late-March debut; follow their progress at facebook.com/raggedisland.
- Foolproof’s new IPA, The Grotto, is slated for release (on draft and in tallboys) on March 10. And you can jumpstart yer weekends at the tasting room in Pawtucket, which is now open on Thursdays from 4-7pm.
- Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. have been alchemizing beer into single malt whiskeys for six years, and began spotlighting its take on fermented creations at its South Kingstown HQ last summer. Recent offerings include Berliner Weisse Sour, Gose, South County Lager, a saison and Uprising Stout, which is the base for SOL’s Uprising Single Malt Whiskey. On Friday, March 3, from 6 – 10pm, they’ll host a Big Beer Release Party; check their Facebook page as they unveil details about the big bottles that will be available on the big night.
- Local beer lovers are racking up the miles making regular trips to secure the latest treasures from Proclamation Ale Company. So get ready to fill up the tank and head to West Kingston on March 8 for the debut of Ethereous, a new IPA. Adelia, a blonde sour fermented in oak barrels and bottle-conditioned, will emerge in mid/late-March; and Mouth Breather, a mango IPA, will return on March 22. Keep up at proclamationaleco.com.
- Newport Storm just released a new concoction: High Test, a smooth but potent (8% ABV) stout. The cavalcade of flavors comes from locally roasted Guatemalan coffee from Empire Tea & Coffee, blended with chocolate wheat, roasted barley and black patent malts and Magnum and Equinox hops. Look for four-packs at your fave packy.
- What Cheer Tavern, the cozy craft beer haven on Allens Ave in Providence, closed on Thanksgiving weekend but reopened in late January. For four years it was owned by Dave Crockenberg and Zöe Brown; the new management is David and Jehane Hart-Beal and Anthony Calafiore. David is a graduate of JWU with a degree in culinary and food service management. The couple owned a bar in West Warwick inside the Eagle Quest Golf Dome, but, Dave says, “It was forced to closed due to a winter storm that blew the dome down. We have been waiting six years to find the right spot to retry our dream. I lived in the neighborhood of the bar for five years during and after college. All of us share a passion for bringing great craft beers, especially local ones, to our bar, along with farm fresh foods.” Get more info at facebook.com/WhatCheerTavern.
For more beer news, check Lou’s blog, bottlescansclaphands.wordpress.com, or follow @BottlesCansRI.