The original Narragansett beer brand was founded in the state of Rhode Island in 1890 and they brewed beer in the state until the 1980’s. Narragansett even shares it’s name with a town and a bay in the state that are both popular tourist destinations. It’s history and recent rebirth make Narragansett arguably the most recognizable beer from Rhode Island, but the beers you’ve been seeing on the shelves the last few years weren’t brewed in Rhode Island. When new ownership bought the brand and set about revitalizing it they used contract brewers to produce the line of immediately recognizable tallboy cans. That is changing now. Over the last year Narragansett has been building a start-of-the-art brewery and taproom in Rhode Island. The taproom isn’t open yet, but the brewery is getting rolling and they are celebrating with a new IPA called It’s About Time. Narragansett It’s About Time IPA is brewed to combine the classic IPA malt body with a large dose of modern Citra and Cascade hops. The beer is available now on draft and in 12 oz. cans.
Narragansett It’s About Time IPA pours a clear deep orange with a solid off-white head. The scent is a solid hit of hops, lots of citrus with some herbs and resin. The flavor is hop forward, notes of grapefruit, pine and grass along with a hit of bitterness. There is noticeable malt balance, hints of bread dough and crackers. It’s About Time IPA is medium bodied and smooth, not too boozy at 6% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor and bite. This is a solid IPA, I imagine it will quickly become one of Narragansett’s most popular offerings. My one criticism, I would have loved it in the 16 oz. tallboy can, something that Narragansett is so well known for but didn’t use here. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.
Previous Narragansett Reviews:
Narragansett Allie’s Donuts Double Chocolate Porter, Narragansett/Revival Lovecraft Honey Ale, Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout, Narragansett Fest Lager, Narragansett Del’s Shandy
I am pretty sure that Narragansett Brewing Company is working on a collaboration beer with every business based in the state of Rhode Island. It is a really cool way to connect with some of the local businesses, especially considering how iconic the Narragansett name is in the state. First they released Del’s Shandy in collaboration with the famous frozen lemonade stand, then Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout. The most recent beer in the series is Allie’s Donuts Double Chocolate Porter. Allie’s Donuts has been a Rhode Island institution since 1968 serving old fashioned fresh donuts in a variety of flavors. For the collaboration Narragansett took their standard porter and added chocolate malt, cocoa nibs and vanilla. Narragansett Allie’s Donuts Double Chocolate Porter is available in the fall and early winter on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.
Narragansett Allie’s Donuts Double Chocolate Porter pours midnight black with a solid but quickly dissipating tan head. The scent is mostly chocolate and roasted malt. The beer is malt forward, notes of chocolate, caramel, honey and licorice. The cocoa and vanilla are definitely present, the vanilla is subtle but the chocolate flavor is strong. There are minimal hops, very low bitterness and almost no hop flavor. The beer is medium bodied and not too boozy at 5.5% ABV. The finish has some lingering cocoa and sweetness. Narragansett Allie’s Double Chocolate Porter is a solid beer, but a little on the sweet side for me, I personally prefer my porters a little more balanced. If you like malt forward dark beers with big chocolate flavor you should give this a shot. Hoppy Boston score 3.75/5.
Previous Narragansett Reviews:
Narragansett/Revival Lovecraft Honey Ale, Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout, Narragansett Fest Lager, Narragansett Del’s Shandy
When Narragansett re-launched their brand I assumed they would focus on their lager, a well-made and local alternative to big beer adjunct lagers. I was a little surprised when they pushed heavily into the craft space with their seasonal and special release beers. Part of this has been a focus on their home state of Rhode Island, many of their beers feature tie-ins to local businesses or people. This is again the case with their recent Lovecraft Honey Ale. Lovecraft is named in honor of horror author H.P. Lovecraft who spent the majority of his years writing in Providence. Lovecraft’s work wasn’t appreciated while he lived, but later inspired many famous authors, musicians and filmmakers. Narragansett brewed Lovecraft Honey Ale as a collaboration with local upstart Revival Brewing Company. It is an American amber ale brewed with significant amounts of honey malt. Lovecraft Honey Ale is available for a limited time on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.
Narragansett/Revival Lovecraft Honey Ale pours a deep copper with a monstrous off-white head. The scent is subtle, some mild maltiness along with a bit of floral hops. The malts lead the flavor, touches of graham cracker, toast, caramel and a little honey. This is followed by a solid hit of hops, touches of grass and earth along with a bitter kick. The beer is medium bodied and goes down smooth, I was a little surprised it was 7% ABV. The finish has a little malt sweetness along with crisp hoppiness. Lovecraft is a solid beer, a good selection for springtime. I am looking forward to further specialty releases by Narragansett. Hoppy Boston score 4.0/5.
Previous Narragansett Reviews:
Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout, Narragansett Fest Lager, Narragansett Del’s Shandy
I don’t often discuss the cost of beer on this blog, I try to focus on taste alone. I am lucky, I have a good job and an understanding wife who knows that trying new beer and writing about it is my hobby. Other hobbies could be much more expensive, so she rarely complains when I drop $100 or more at the bottle shop or a brewery. I have a friend whose hobby is collecting and restoring antique lamps and he spends way more money than I do on beer. All of that being said, I realize that cost is a major factor when many people make their selections at the beer store. The reason I bring this up is because I am writing about Narragansett today, and I think their seasonal beers are one of the best values locally. While Narragansett is probably best known for their flagship lager, they also make a series of flavorful seasonal brews, many with tie-ins to Rhode Island businesses. Narragansett’s winter seasonal is Autocrat Coffee Mile Stout, an American stout brewed with the coffee milk syrup that Autocrat is known for. Both companies were excited to collaborate on a beverage that pays homage to two of the oldest and most famous drink brands in Rhode Island. Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout is available during the winter months on draft and in their 16 oz. tall boy cans.
Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout pours dark chocolate brown with a solid tan head. The smell is dominated by the scents of freshly ground coffee. The coffee leads off the flavor, smooth and dark. The malts are also well represented, hints of roasted barley and milk chocolate. There is also just a touch of hoppiness in the finish which adds a perfect complement to the natural bitterness of the coffee. The beer is light bodied for a darker beer, and goes down smooth at 5.3% ABV. This is really good, although I wouldn’t say it’s the best stout I’ve ever had, but at that price point it is a tremendous value. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Naragansett Reviews:
Narragansett Fest Lager, Narragansett Del’s Shandy
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about what my drinking “theme” would be for Fall (find it HERE). Since I didn’t have a huge list of malt-forward craft lagers to choose from I asked for any suggestions my readers might have to expand my list (I will still take any suggestions that haven’t been mentioned). I received a number of good ideas, thanks to everyone who passed them along. There was only one beer that was recommended multiple times, and it was Narragansett Fest Lager. Granted, the two people who made the recommendation both live in Rhode Island, are passionate about the revived Narragansett brand, and happen to be married to each other. Still, they both felt the need to pass on the recommendation. So, Tim and Amanda, this post is for you. Many people still associate the Narragansett brand entirely with their lager, which is local competition to PBR (and might grab a bigger market share now that Pabst sold out to the Russians). The re-launched brand has also included a full list of seasonal beers, all sold on draft and in their distinctive 16 oz. “tall boy” cans. Fest Lager is Narragansett’s Fall seasonal, a traditional German style Octoberfest. Fest is brewed with light and dark Munich malts in addition to Vienna and pilsner malt, then hopped with Northern Brewer and Tettnanger hops.
Narragansett Fest pours a clear deep amber with a moderate off-white head (normally I would just pound anything from ‘Gansett right out of the can, but for this exercise I classed it up with a glass). The smell is very mild, just a hint of toasty malt aroma. The taste is solidly malt forward, caramel, well done whole grain toast and some subtle malt sweetness. A gentle touch of earthy hops provide a little balance, but true to the style this is a malt-forward beer. The beer is smooth and drinkable, with medium body and 5.5% ABV. The finish is clean with a faint, lingering malt sweetness in the aftertaste. This is a very solid version of a German Octoberfest, especially with the lower price point compared to many craft offerings. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5
Previous Narragansett Reviews:
Narragansett Del’s Shandy
Not long ago the Narragansett beer brand, originally brewed in 1890, was nearly dead. Once the most popular beer in New England and a major sponsor of the Red Sox, the brand had suffered a staggering decline in popularity since the 1970s. The physical brewery shut down in 1981 and production moved to Indiana. In 2005 a group of Rhode Island investors bought the Narragansett line and set out to revive it’s popularity. Although the new owners haven’t been able to open a Rhode Island brewery yet, they have revived the Narragansett name, contract brewing the traditional lager along with a series of seasonal and specialty beers. One of their newest creations is Del’s Shandy which is Narragansett lager mixed with the lemon concentrate used to make Del’s frozen lemonade. It is no surprise that the collaboration between two of the most iconic brands in Rhode Island was incredibly popular. The first run sold out extremely fast. Now that they’ve upped production you can find Narragansett Del’s Shandy in their popular 16 oz. tallboy cans.
Narragansett Del’s Shandy pours a clear light yellow with a moderate white head. The smell is all lemon, if you put this next to a glass of lemonade and asked me to tell which was which by smell I wouldn’t be able to. The lemon comes through strongly in the flavor too, along with a touch of sweetness. Even with all of the lemon, this is clearly a beer, it has the solid malt backbone of a flavorful American style lager. Del’s Shandy is light and easy to drink, a great beer to sip on the porch. The finish is clean and a little dry, thirst quenching and refreshing. I can see why the shandy style has become popular this summer, it still tastes like beer but provides a nice change of pace. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.