NEWPORT, RI. On February 5th, 2011, Rhode Island brewed history at the Newport Storm Brewery. On that day, all of Rhode Island’s professional brewers converged at the brewery with their malt and hops and boots and buckets, to brew one special beer, together. For Marshall Righter of the Coddington Brewery, it was only a short skip down the road, but Dave Sniffen of Mohegan Café & Brewery of Block Island took a chilly ferry across the sound. He thinks it’s worth it.
For a decade, Newport Storm has brewed a ‘special’ beer annually and packaged it in classy blue wine bottles. Each Annual Release is a ‘big beer’ (over 10% alcohol by volume), has a recipe unique to the year, and that recipe does not follow any ‘set style.’ For example, ’05 was a chocolate raspberry concoction while ’06 used peat and biscuit malt and was then aged in whiskey barrels. The ’11 is Rhode Island’s first major ‘collaboration’ beer and is slated to be, like little Rhody, exponentially unique.
The brew will be “Rhode Island Red” in color in honor of the state’s unofficial mascot. It was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain and bottle-conditioned with local Aquidneck Honey. It will have a tang of oaky sour, having been aged in local Thomas Tew rum barrels. It will be exponentially hoppy, having been hopped with Magnum hops for 65 minutes (the length of time of the slow ferry to Block Island) and Santiam hops for 35 minutes (the length of the fast ferry to Block Island), with much of the hops contributed from local hopster start-up, Ocean State Hops. Lastly, the sweat of RI’s six professional brewers was a necessary bi-product, if not an ingredient.
Derek Luke, brewmaster at Newport Storm, explains the motivation behind the beer, “Collaboration beers are a great chance for brewers to exchange knowledge, pool strengths and come up with a beer that’s greater than the sum of its parts.” Luke wants to bring more attention to RI’s craft brewing community. “Since we come from the smallest state, the Rhode Island brewers often don’t get enough exposure for the great beers they’re making. For the ’11, we want to make an awesome beer together. When you drink it, it will be obvious exactly how great Rhode Island beer can be.”
In addition to Newport Storm’s Luke, the professional brewers who collaborated on the design and brewing of the ’11 are: Dave Sniffen of Mohegan Café and Brewery in Block Island, Sean Larkin and Tom Tainsh of Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Aaron Crossett of Union Station Brewery in Providence, and Marshall Righter of the Coddington Brewing Company in Middletown.
The ‘dilute wort’ from this brew was offered to the local homebrewing community. Independently they brewed over 30 different beers with it and shared them at a Homebrewer’s Night at the brewery. Steve Gravel of the South Shore Brew Club commented, “I had no idea how my beer would turn out as the wort was kind of a mystery. But the mystery, and the fact that it really was all of RI’s brewers collaborating, was really fun.”
The beer has been bottle-conditioning since its February 5th brew date. A “Celebration of ‘11” is planned 11/11/11 at the Newport Storm Brewery. Brews from all of RI’s breweries will be on tap, as well as the ’11. Buy your ticket to chat with RI’s brewers, see RI honebees up close and hang out with the “Ocean State Hops” guys. Tickets are available at www.NewportStorm.com. Newport Storm ’11 will be on sale in CT, MA, and RI liquor stores, as well as on draft at each Rhode Island brewer’s establishment and select venues around the Ocean State.
Coastal Extreme Brewing Company is Rhode Island’s Microbrewery, brewing Newport Storm beers since 1999. In spring of 2010 they built a new facility within the Newport city limits on JT Connell Rd. Their Visitors Center is open for tours and tastings from 12pm-5pm on Weekdays and Weekends (except Tuesdays). Newport Storm beers continue to be distributed throughout RI, MA and CT, with their beer lines including the flagship Newport Storm-Hurricane Amber Ale, Newport Storm-Rhode Island Blueberry, the Cyclone Series of limited release beers, the Storm of the Season beers, and the Annual Limited Release Series of bottle-conditioned beers.
In 2006 they began the Newport Distilling Company, becoming the first distillers in Rhode Island in 135 years. Newport Distilling Company focuses on one signature spirit, Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum, named after the famous Newport pirate. Thomas Tew Rum is an authentic aged pot still rum of the type that would have been made in Newport’s colonial rum heyday. Thomas Tew Rum is currently available for sale only in Rhode Island.
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Company: Coastal Extreme Brewing
Contact: Laura Blackwell