Bottles and Cans and Just Clap Your Hands
Rhode Island breweries have had a bit of trouble with their handles: High Jinx morphed to Foolproof before it opened its doors; Grey Sail Brewing added “of Rhode Island” to settle up with Oregon’s Full Sail over a trademark infringement tussle; and now Pawtucket’s new Brewery 401 has become Crooked Current Brewery. The carpetbaggers at Stony Creek Brewery in Branford, CT, trademarked the 401 area code for beer-related use and disingenuously aver that their “(401) IPA is produced specifically for beer lovers in Rhode Island” — though the profile is virtually identical to their CT-“specific” (860) and (203) brews. (The label extends the subterfuge, noting the bottle contains "12 Fl.Oz of Hometown Brew.")
But the folks at Crooked Current report that they wanted to use the CC name all along. Co-owner Jay Lourenco told us it “refers to RI’s history of corruption. It was the element we wanted to highlight when we started the brewery but we thought it was too risqué, so we kept with more traditional RI icons such as lighthouses and the area code 401. . . The brewery itself will double as a museum of sorts detailing RI’s corrupt past, in order to make tours a more unique experience. We didn’t want to be just another brewery showing kettles and fermenters.” You’ll have your first chance to sample CC’s brews — plus all of the other RI beerists (except Coddington and Mohegan) at the Rhode Island Brew Fest, at the Providence Rink at the Bank of the America City Center in Kennedy Plaza on July 20 (4:30-7:30 pm, $45, ribrewfest.com). And CC hopes to begin pouring at their home at 560 Mineral Spring Ave in Pawtucket soon after. Hit facebook.com/CrookedCurrentBrewery for the latest.
More local brew news
In the There’s-Always-More-Red-Tape-To-Cut-Through-Than-You-Think Dept.: Rhode Island Brew Bus honcho Bill Nangle is finally done jumping through bureaucratic hoops and the first tour of local breweries will hit the road on July 11. Get the details at therhodeislandbrewbus.com . . . Newport Storm has released its first-ever mixed box — the 12 Sheets To the Wind Summer Variety Pack, featuring Hurricane Amber Ale, India Point Ale, Summer Hefewiezen, and a new Pilsner which is exclusive to the big box. . . And in semi-local news, Spencer Trappist Ale is now being distributed in Rhode Island. The monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA (about 11 miles west of Worcester) have the honor of brewing the first Trappist ale in the US, joining the likes of some of the highest-regarded beers in the world — Westmalle, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, and five other breweries (six from Belgium, two from the Netherlands, one from Austria) which adhere to the rules of the International Trappist Association. The MA monks visited each of the other Trappist sites to learn about the art of brewing. Their first offering is a worthy addition to the storied tradition — a patersbier (“father’s beer” in Flemish), made by the monks to be enjoyed at the dinner table in their monasteries. It has rich layers of flavor (bready/banana-y/fruity) and lively carbonation; it has a lower ABV (6.5%) than most Trappist beers and has a 90 (outstanding) score at Beer Advocate. The label suggests: “Pair With Family and Friends.” That’s good advice.