Re-posted from my blog: Malted Musings.
The other day I had a chance to talk to the Narragansett Beer rep at an Eli Cannon's tasting. As many people expect Narragansett to be just "cheap beer" I was psyched to try some of their new offerings and to hear that they have even more limited and special releases planned.
First up the Private Stock line is expanding! Until the new Narragansett brewery opens and resumes its own primary brewing, much of the Private Stock line is being produced by Buzzard's Bay Brewery. The Private stock I had before was an Imperial Stout, and it was rather good. The next Private Stock headed down the road is an IPA. Along with that, Narragansett is releasing a few special seasonal beers. One is a Del's lemonade inspired shandy that should be hitting shelves around now. The others are a Cranberry White Ale, using real Ocean Spray juice, and a Belgian-style White (hitting around Thanksgiving).
Sneak peek of the Del's Lemonade Shandy. Courtesy: bdcwire.com
These styles are all fairly new; as of five years ago Narragansett only had four or so beer choices. Three years ago 'Gansett began to launch more beers in earnest, focusing on having local breweries contract brew for them -- keeping the liquid closer to home and higher quality. This has done nothing but help business, with 'Gansett now releasing through all of New England, New York, down through Tennessee, Wisconsin, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. I think it's great to see what used to be a proud local brewery slowly returning to its storied past. It's the easiest thing to do (especially as a craft beer person) to brush off 'Gansett as "macro swill," but with more and more of their beer being contracted locally, interesting new styles launching, and their brewery edging steadly closer to a grand re-opening, I think that this is one brewery that has what it takes to renter the craft world with a splash. I at least will say "Hi Neighbor!" to Narragansett and look forward to whatever they put out next! Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for more tasting notes and brew news.