Beer gifts, local liquids, and hoppy holiday bashes
For weeks we’ve been planning to do a detailed gift guide; we hit a few stores, made some notes, and then realized that you don’t need much hand-holding if you’re buying for the beer lover on your list. There are box sets with bottles and glassware, with some particularly nice import packs: sweet arrays from Weihenstephaner, Sts. Feuillien and Bernardus, and Samuel Smith. There are beer books: Tom Acitelli’sThe Audacity of Hops, an engrossing and entertaining history of the craft beer [r]evolution; Joshua M. Bernstein’sThe Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp For Beer Geeks: From Novice To Expert In Twelve Tasting Classes, an eye-popping and enlightening Beer 101 tome. There’s beer stuff: the KegWorks Growler On Board Beer Transport Unit (holds three containers, which is uber-handy with this year’s beer-selling-at-local-breweries breakthrough). There are tickets for the Rhode Island Brew Fest on February 1 and the RI Brewers Guild Banquet on January 31 (with special beers by the RIBG; go to ribrewfest.com). And there’s BEER: you can bring fresh growlers from Grey Sail and Foolproof and Bucket and Ravenous to the holiday table, or grab big bottles of Newport Storm’s Annual Release ’13 (dry hopped with coffee beans from Ocean Coffee Roasters) and Grey Sail’s 2nd Anniversary (a hearty take on a Belgian quad). Or dive into the flood of seasonal releases and mix a six (or 12) (or 24) of Delirium Noël, Heavy Seas’ Winter Storm, Southern Tier’s 2XMAS, Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, and/or dozens more. OK, so go make with the merry!
The beer style Coffee Milk Stout would seem to be an only-’round-heah thing, right? But a search at BeerAdvocate.com yields a dozen results, from Arizona to Atlanta to Montana to San Diego to New Hampshire and Maine. Ravenous Brewing Co. of Woonsocket introduced their take ’round heah a year ago, but Narragansett has hooked up with a fellow Rhody legend to kick it up more than a notch with the release of Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout . The 16-ounce six-packs (around $9) don’t hit shelves till next week so we haven’t enjoyed a taste, but the ’Gansett folks promise that the 5.3% ABV concoction (masterminded by brewer par excellence Sean Larkin) is a “flavorful, smooth, dark brew with notes of roasted barley, chocolate malt, and rich crystal malt. The exacting touch of hops provides just the right amount of bitterness to balance the sweet notes of the malts and milk sugar.” Narry prez Mark Hellendrung said, “I’ve been a big fan of Autocrat since my Little League days, so I’m especially excited to introduce this brew to the market. My Little League coach worked at Autocrat and drove one of the big delivery trucks — we would try to aim homers toward the truck in hopes of hitting the big Autocrat swallow.” This offering in the retro-themed cans is a must for holiday gatherings and is perfect for stuffing some big-ass stockings.
And speaking of retro, ’Gansett will throw its 123rd birthday bash at the Met in Pawtucket on Friday, December 27, with a slew of excellent musicmakers (Northern Lands, Jay Berndt & the Oprhans, Michelle Lewis, Jeff Byrd & Dirty Finch, Brian McKenzie), the ’Gansett Girls from the 2014 pin-up calendar, and other suds-soaked frivolity. Tix are $10; music starts at 8; hit themetri.com or narragansettbeer.com for more.