Mo' better beer

So many brews, so little time . . .
By LOU PAPINEAU  |  February 12, 2014

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The better beer scene keeps getting better and better. The evidence is everywhere. At the Rhode Island Brew Fest two weeks ago, there were a dozen local brewers sharing their liquid labors of love. You can find a few (or at least one) good craft offerings at most restaurants and taverns. And in the stores, there’s an embarrassment of riches on almost every shelf. A few years ago you’d have to cross state lines to buy the likes of Founders Breakfast Stout (and it wasn’t easy to find); now it’s in coolers at liquor stores that don’t exactly classify as craft beer destinations. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is no longer a blink-and-you’ll miss it offering. And we’ve heard that a few more notable national brands will be joining the fun this year.

So many beers, so little time (and money — and don’t forget that moderation thing). To help you plan your budget and your sipping, we’ve rounded up a truckload of beer news, from our own backyahd and all over the US.

LOCAL BREW NEWS

Narragansett ’s fourth Private Stock release just hit stores and taps: it’s an Imperial Russian Stout drenched in history, with German and American ingredients in honor of the founders who launched ’Gansett in 1890, and a bold label evoking packaging from the turn of the 20th century. As usual, Sean Larkin did the liquid alchemy for the sweet 8.5% ABV brew, which will coat your tongue with chocolate and caramel and warmth. . . .

Trinity Brewhouse just introduced new tiny growlers — you can get 32-ounce containers as well as the standard half-gallon jugs. Prices start at $6.50 and there’s still a $2 credit for returned growlers.

Foolproof Brewing ’s farmhouse ale, La Ferme Urbaine , is returning in early March and will be in cans this time around, plus bombers and on draft.

Bucket Brewery has started a series called Friday Night Sound Check. Sessions run from 5-8 pm and feature local musicmakers and visual artists; admission is free, and $10 gets you a “generous” beer tasting. They’re skipping Valentine’s Day, but check bucketbrewery.com for future events. Meanwhile, the Bucket folks will soon be releasing the first large-scale beer from their “Consistently Inconsistent” line. The to-be-named brew is a cranberry orange farmhouse ale.

Proclamation Ale Co. hit the ground running at the Rhode Island Brew Fest. Dave Witham’s Tendril , a super-tasty IPA, reminded us of Lagunitas Sucks, which is very good company to be in. Tendril has hit a few bars (What Cheer, Track 84, Doherty’s, the Mews) and will be available this Saturday (the 15th) from 12-3 at the brewery (141 Fairgrounds Rd, West Kingston). Tendril half-growlers will cost $10 new/$8 refills; the zzzlumber Dutch imperial stout goes for $12/$10. The “tour” of the tiny space is $5, and includes three four-ounce samples. Check proclamationaleco.com for updates on future growler sale dates.

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