Gateway to beer heaven

By LOU PAPINEAU  |  January 26, 2012

BRENT RYAN

PRESIDENT/ CO-FOUNDER, NEWPORT STORM

I really don't like the idea of a "gateway beer," as I've found that people who get into craft beer can come in through IPAs, ESBs [Extra Special/Strong Bitter], or stouts. For craft beer it's all about the variety of flavors that you get as opposed to the somewhat uniform flavor profile of the big light lager brewers. I think if you are used to drinking yellow fizzy beer that almost any of the craft beers can provide that "ah-ha" moment. You just have to be willing to try them and understand that unlike those biggest beer brands that can taste very similar, just because you don't like one style of craft beer doesn't mean that you won't love a different one.

Our Newport Storm Hurricane Amber Ale continues to be my favorite beer and I still define that the same way I did 10 years ago — the beer I'd want if I could only drink one beer for the rest of my life.

ballantine_main

CHUCK BORKOSKI

VICE-PRESIDENT/GENERAL MANAGER, ELEVATED SPIRITS

My first exposure to what is now the craft beer category dates back to the 1970s when I first entered the industry working for the Falstaff Brewing Corporation. In 1972 Falstaff acquired the P. Ballantine Brewing Company, which resulted in affording me the opportunity to sell Ballantine India Pale Ale. I knew right away that this product was unlike anything else I had been exposed to during my more formative years drinking traditional lagers (pre-light beer era) and I learned to appreciate the specialness of the product.

As far as what beer I would take to a bomb shelter or a deserted island, it all depends as to what kind of food I would have stowed in my beer cooler. The beauty of my job is that I am exposed to so many wonderful beers and I get to help market them around the state. Picking just one is like asking a parent to identify one's favorite child.

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