Mar 2012

Reviews: Honest Pint On Gansett Cream Ale

By Heather Vandenengel for the Weekly Dig.

Faithful drinkers of Narragansett’s tall boys can rejoice—a new craft beer style from the Rhode Island based brewery is coming, and it’s staying year round. To decide on the style, ‘Gansett posed the decision to fans to vote between a rye and Cream Ale and the Cream Ale—dare we say it?—creamed the rye with 720 votes versus the rye’s 565.

“I think it felt the most comfortable,” said Narragansett CEO Mark Hellendrung (aka Chief Gansett). “If we did a super hopped-up, heavy IPA, everyone’s doing that. This is more true to our roots and I think people get what our brand is about.”

What Gansett’s brand is about is well-crafted drinkability served alongside a large helping of history and nostalgia and in that respect, the Cream Ale nails it.

Cream Ale is one of the few original American styles, “brewed by ale brewers to compete with the lager brewers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states,” according to the BJCP style guidelines.

A hybrid style, it combines the smoothness of lager with the flavor of ale. How this unique style is achieved varies—from using a blend of ale and lager yeasts to using ale yeast at cold fermenting temperatures—

but the result is always a light, crisp ale that’s low on hop bitterness and high on the refreshing.

(The “cream” part most likely comes from its creamy lightness).

The first beer ever sold in a can was a Cream Ale, from the brewery Krueger’s (which was later bought by Narragansett), and Gansett also brewed a Cream Ale in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

“There are a couple guys who I’m good friends with who grew up drinking beer in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s and they just remember that Cream Ale as being a really frothy ale on draft.”