Just a reminder, the December meeting is CANCELLED, so we can do our annual Yankee Beer Swap and Potluck. Sorry, this is a Members only event. If you want to get in on next year’s event, we encourage you to show up to our January (Jan 9th) meeting. See you then!
80 years ago today the US Government repealed the 18th amendment. Before Prohibition small local breweries were a way of life. Most towns and cites had their own breweries and you could get a fill by bringing a bucket down to them. Unfortunately, the 13 years that Prohibition was in effect decimated these local breweries and destroyed the beer culture here in the US. Some of the breweries were able to survive by making baby formula and other food items.
Who would have guessed that 45 years after Prohibition was over, brewing beer would be legal to do in the home (Thank You, Jimmy Carter!). Now new breweries are cropping up all over the US everyday at a break neck pace. A year ago we surpassed the total number of breweries that were open before Prohibition first took hold. This beer revolution has truly made the US the most exciting place to have craft beer. So raise your glass to beer freedom!
RIBS members use a number of a different mobile apps. We thought that we would bring to light many of the apps that we use pretty regularly. All the apps that we use are free and a number of them are for iphone or android. Of course we could go into blackberry, windows phones, paid vs. free apps but let’s be realistic we would all need a nap before the end of that discussion.
We will start our adventure at the beginning. The explosion of craft beer has breweries springing up all the time. Enter our first app.
Drinking Sherpa, like the name implies, will help you find your way to breweries, distilleries or wineries. The app will check to see how close you are to breweries using GPS positioning. Drinking Sherpa will provide insightful details about your destination, like address, phone number, and tour hours. Unlike most aggregates Drinking Sherpa does not copy and paste data, they actually partner with the breweries. This partnership allows for the results to be more accurate and up to date, this also mean they are constantly growing!
When you discover a new favorite beer why not share it with your friends? Untappd allows for you to do just that! One of the key features that keeps me coming back is unlocking the clever and fun badges they have built into the app. You also have many social features such as toasting, following friends and breweries, also tagging your location so you can meet up with fellow beer enthusiasts.
You have traveled to the farthest reaches to find the breweries, you have shared the location with friends and told tales of your exploits. Why not try a hand at brewing your own (probably also why you are here). Enter the Toad. Okay, okay, Brewtoad is not an app, you got me. ButBrewtoad is very mobile friendly which almost makes it better than an app! It works on any platform. All this and I haven’t told you anything about the service. Brewtoad allows you to find, build, and share home brew recipes. The simple, clean interface, and easy to build recipe guide makes Brewtoad a very powerful tool. You can always have your recipes on the go and it allows you to get feed back from other brewers that have made your recipe (if you chose to share).
We know this is not exhaustive but we just wanted to give you a tasting of the types of apps available to all levels of brewers and beer enthusiasts such as ourselves. Tell us what your go-to app is so we can all expand our beer knowledge!
Beervana has come and gone and as always RIBS was glad to partake in the beers of the season. Beervana is usually a good indicator of what styles have been gaining popularity throughout the year. This year we saw a large surge in Sour and Bourbon barrel aged beers. We also had the pleasure of listening to Rob Tod Founder of Allagash Brewing Company give a key note on the further development of sour beers and the use of Brettanomyces in their beers. Over all a great time as always, with many talented breweries.
More pictures from Beervana can be found in our gallery.
Nothing better defines fall in New England than the changing of leaves, tankards of fresh pressed cider and the crisp mornings most days. Along with all of these wonderful things, this autumn marks a full year of RIBS home brewing competitions! To welcome the season we chose the theme to be Browns and Bitters competition. Browns are best known as brown yet mild beers, with a malty character and low hop aroma. Bitters are similar but as their name implies are a bit more heavy on the hops. Both styles are British in origin. We chose two beers that fit the theme and tasted the best. In first place, Mike D. and his “India Nut Brown”. Second place went to Josh F. with his English Bitter.
Special consideration was given to Charlie B. for addressing his body odor problem and improving it ten-fold. For this we awarded him the “Most Improved Odor” award. It is important to note that this is not a normal category at our brew competitions. Of course this is all in good fun.
This also marks the last competition that does not follow BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) guidelines. What does this mean? Well how it works now, RIBS members vote on what beers to brew for the specific competition but members were never held to strict guidelines. This made the voting very subjective, but also allowed members to explore the extremes of the style. RIBS members all agreed that after 1 year of competitions we would follow the styles of the BJCP guidelines. We are excited for our next competition, which will follow the BJCP guidelines for Stouts.
The rest of the pictures from the competition can be found in the gallery.
RIBS takes great pride in the DIY movement and strongly encourages members to build their own brewing equipment when possible. Getting down into the nitty gritty allows for a more complex understanding how the equipment is used in the brewing process. Matt Maffucci is not one to shy away from a project especially if it involves beer as the final product.
This past weekend a few members ventured down to Matt’s house with quite a bit of grain, some sanitized buckets and a goal to take his brand new 45 gallon Recirculating Infusion Mash System (RIMS) for a first time run. We left with our buckets filled with wort and whole new load of brewing knowledge. We brewed a large pale ale recipe for all participating members. Each member then selected their own unique hops to use, no two members could chose the same hop. Lastly we all fermented with the same yeast. In a few weeks, we will be doing a tasting to compare and contrast the unique hop flavors. Make sure to have a look at the pictures from the event in our gallery and stay tuned for the final results.
This summer is quickly succumbing to milder days filled with corn mazes, pumpkins, apples, jams and hay rides. This is the time of year for homebrewing and by extension time for us to really get going. Summer may already seem like a sweat filled memory but we cannot forget the fun that was had, our latest adventure took us to Southern RI to the Ocean State Hop Farm. Matt and Joel from Ocean State Hops were nice enough to host RIBS for a day of picking hops and drinking some local brews.
For those who are not familiar, it was the Ocean State Hops 2nd annual “Pick Your Own Weekend”. During this event guests are invited to come harvest their own hops. You pay per vine and the yield will vary, but is usually enough to satisfy any hopped up recipes. Now if you haven’t heard of Ocean State hops, its okay. They started in 2007 and are still small but growing fast. Since their start they have worked with Newport Storm and one of their first signature success was in the Newport Storm 11/11/11. Now they are a primary contributor to Newport Storm IPA, but also have bulk orders of hops available to home brewers and at the start of the season as well as offering rhizomes. Next season will bring new rhizomes and more hops, currently OSH is offering Cascade, Nugget, and Chinook. Even though the hop season may be over and we are settling in for the deep frosts and frozen hops of winter, there is some solace in the fact we came, we saw and we picked. Next year you may also want to do the same. Now on to the Cider…
Have a look at the pictures here.
Summer is coming to a close, even though it might not feel like it lately with all this humidity. RIBS had a great time at the two of the biggest events for the club, Maker Faire and RI Brew Fest. For those that are not familiar, RIBS got it’s start from brewing at Maker Faire, so it is always an event that is close to our hearts. We also were able to serve some tasty samples at the RI Brew Fest in Charlestown on the same day! Thankfully we have Matt Maffucci and Dennis Armstrong who were able to give their first hand accounts of each of the events.
Be sure to check out the pictures from each of the events here.
Mission: RI Brew Fest
I live very close to Ninigret Park so I figured I would get there right when the fest opens for vendors – 10;00am. Being the survivalist that I am, I wanted to make certain I would have plenty of time to setup the booth/table with appropriate literature, beer, pretzels for the table and snacks for our faces.
I met Matt, the stout gentleman running the show, as it were, as he was unloading tables and ice. I forced him to shake my hand a second time but to do it “the cool way.” He thought that was funny, but I was deadly serious. Deadly. Serious. He had stuff to do like set up the entire brewfest with his wife Kate, so he moved on.
I chatted with Eric and Dan from Foolproof which was nice. They both now know that I like long walks on the beach.
I wanted to try and get the table setup too, because I didn’t know how I was going to hang the banner, and generally speaking, I just wanted to get set with plenty of time to spare.I placed some blue linens on the table in a Queen Victoria formation and set about hanging the banner. A second RIBS member Jim arrives after a lengthy traverse around southern RI. Luckily, Jim has beer because this is a Brewfest. And pretzels and other stuff too. Nate, the third and final RIBS member arrives right after Jim with more beer and love and we get everything under control.
By now, many vendors are pouring into the ‘fest and getting set up. Newport Storm, Ocean State Hops, RI Brewers Guild, Revival, Basement Brewhaus were either next to or in close proximity to the RIBS table. It turns out, the RIBS table was located in a “RI” tent – only Longtrail was the non-RI vendor in the tent. Everyone else was in a larger tent perpendicular to our tent. We got our beer on ice, tapped the keg, opened some bottles, placed the “Chris Meringolo YES/NO” survey on the table and let the festivities begin!
The first sitting was super busy – tons of folks from the New England and beyond area came by to chat about their love of beer, sample some homebrew and just be awesome. Folks were sampling Apple Graff (Nate), Battleship Cove IPA (Nate), Better Late Than Never Belgian Dubbel (Jim), How You Doin’ Honey Wheat (Matt), Simcoe Disaster IPA (Nate), and Tasty Mistake Porter (Jim). Some of the attendees could not believe what they were tasting was actually homebrew – as a matter of fact, more than a few people wanted to know if we distributed. Sorry, the Brewfest is the only time you’ll ever taste these particular brews.
Many people signed up for our mailing list or were taking cards so that they might get to know RIBS better – it was very encouraging.We were pouring with wild abandon – Jim “potty buster” was opening bottles with blinding speed while Nate “I hate these f*cking bugs” poured sample after sample. Attendees would ask questions about what they can do to start homebrewing or pick our brains about troubleshooting some of the brews they have at home. One enterprising gentleman proudly showed his realtime fermentation via smartphone display.
During the break, Derek Luke (of Newport Storm / Coastal Extreme Brewing fame) gave us a taste of the pumpkin ale they had on hand. That made me feel like I was someone special.I also sampled an English mild that was fantastic, and some of Revival’s Zeppelin. We did get a chance to try a few others but there was so much going on at the table we couldn’t sample a readily as we would have liked. But hey – we’re workin’, am I right?
Following the break between session, we restocked the table with supplies, called Chris to bring more beer because we were running dangerously low, and prepped ourselves for the attendees that would soon savage the tables with relish.
Unfortunately, the second session consisted of a crowd that was not as interested in the RI brewers and even less in homebrewing. We did get some folks coming by our table but not anywhere close to the frequency of the first session. Also Chris Meringolo showed up so that was a real bummer.
All in all, I think the Brewfest was quite a success. It was a good deal of hard work, but huge amount of fun, too.
I forgot to mention: final tally on the “Chris Meringolo YES/NO” survey is ~20 YES, ~8 NO.
Mission: Makers Faire
Rhode Island Brewing Society had another great time brewing at the Providence, Rhode Island Mini Makers Faire. The event where the RIBS idea was born has only grown as the years have gone on. Celebrating D.I.Y in New England, this event features hands-on making, building, hacking, crafting, and our favorite, brewing beer. We showed up early and pitched our tent in the middle of Empire Street. The only people with more stuff to unload was the crew setting up the stage for AS220′s FooFest. We started off the day with an all grain brewing demonstration. The aroma of boiling grains and our display of brewing ingredients quickly grew a crowd of inquisitive attendees. We had a lot of great conversations about beer and homebrewing as people visited the booth. The crowd continued to grow throughout the day as we switched to an extract brewing demonstration.
Sadly, the day did come to a close and we packed up our supplies with ideas for next year already brewing. We would like to give a big thanks to all of the Makers Faire staff for allowing us to attend and share our passion of brewing. We had great time talking to everyone who came by, and we hope we inspired some future brewers out there. Look forward to seeing everyone next year.
It is always a healthy choice to eat a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables, at RIBS we look at that diet in a different way. Why not drink them? I am not talking a smoothy or shake, but a beer! The summer has hit us hard, with 90+ degree days we figured what better way to beat the heat than a fruit and veggie competition. There was no shortage of creativity when it came to these beers that is for sure. Beers ranging from a Peach IPA, to a Blood Orange Hefeweizen, it was tough to decide the winners. Two Beers stood out from the group, Kate’s Cucumber Wheat, and Josh’s Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat.
What made this competition different from ones we have had in the past is the addition of a 2nd place. Normally we use the highlander rules, that there can only be one. This time though we wanted to make it a bit less black and white. Kate took first place with her Cucumber Wheat, this beer was refreshing and flavorful, and adhered closely to the guidelines. In 2nd Place we have Josh’s Strawberry Rhubarb beer, which mixed a pleasant balance of sweet and tart without the Rhubarb over staying it’s welcome.
It was really great to throw down in such a broad category, while Kate and Josh took home the ribbons the real winners were our taste buds!
The next competition will be Browns and Bitter beers.
The rest of the pictures can all be found in the gallery.
Brew Local, Drink Local.
Considering the holiday I feel like I should be writing a sanctimonious tirade about how craft beer will save the country and it’s the utopian future for all of us. While I believe it may be those things I wanted to leave you with a simple thought on this, the 237th birthday of our great nation.
Nothing exemplifies American ingenuity and the can-do attitude quite like a craft beer.
It was those two qualities that formed this country and saved us from near disasters time and time again. They are arguably our two best qualities and uniquely at the center of the American spirit. Looking to history we see more examples of the American spirit. Stories of Adolphus Busch, Eberhard Anheuser and Adolph Coors, immigrants to this country who built empires that are still around today. Craft Beer is the next chapter in the great tale of America. So pop a cold one open on this hot day and support your local Craft Brewers.