One of the newer entrants to the burgeoning Rhode Island craft beer scene is Grey Sail Brewing of Westerly. After years of planning, Grey Sail Brewing was founded in 2010 by Alan and Jennifer Brinton. They renovated a building on Canal Street that had originally housed the Westerly Macaroni Factory, and a year later produced their first batch of Flagship Ale. Grey Sail now brews a series of year round, seasonal and specialty beers. Depending on the variety, their beers are distributed on draft, in 22 oz bottles, and in 12 and 16 oz cans. Grey Sail beers are now available in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Grey Sail’s Winter seasonal is Leaning Chimney Winter Porter. Leaning Chimney Winter Porter is brewed with a range of dark malts including some smoked with peat, balanced with American hops. It is available in 16 oz cans from December through February.
Grey Sail Leaning Chimney Smoked Porter pours cola brown with a large and sustained tan head. The smell is very heavy on chocolate, with notes of coffee and roasted barley. The taste also leans heavily towards dark malts with flavors of cocoa, cappuccino, and roasted malt. The smoke is also present, but very subtle. There is a little hop bitterness in the backbone, but the beer tends somewhat towards the malt profile without being out of balance. Grey Sail Leaning Chimney is full bodied, goes down smooth, and at 6.0% ABV has moderate alcohol for the style. The beer finishes with some malty sweetness balanced by a nice hoppy tartness on the tongue. Overall this is a solid version of a winter porter, with the smoked malt adding complexity without overwhelming the brew. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.