Jul 2012

Reviews: Behind The Brews On Our Cream Ale

Narragansett Cream Ale – State #11: Rhode Island – Review #69

By Dave Stokely from Behind The Brews blog

Total Score: 94.5

My quest for 50 States of Beer takes me to smallest – yet 2nd most densely populated – state of Rhode Island and their Narragansett Brewing Company. Perhaps in an effort to make up for the size of their home state, Narragansett does something that, at least to me, is self-evidently logical: they package their beer in 16 ounce cans. My love of cans is well documented here, and it’s superfluous to say that I like beer, so it should be predictable that I am tickled by a large can of beer. Narragansett, which traces its roots all the way back to 1888, embodies not only a passion for good beer but an infatuation with double consonants, perhaps attributable to the late Rudolph Haffenreffer, Jr., who successfully (wow, triple-double!) saved the brewery from financial difficulties caused by Prohibition.

From the glorious 16 ounce can, Narragansett Cream Ale pours a vibrant and sparklingly clear saffron yellow with a soaring cloud of fluffy ivory foam. A style stickler would probably expect a cream ale to be a little lighter in color, but I’ve got no complaints with this either. The nose features a blast of grainy, saltine cracker-esque malts, with a surprising (for the generally hop-devoid style of cream ale) and pleasant pop of floral hops. The taste provides an even more robust floral hop punch, which melds delightfully with a sweet grainy malt flavor and washes across the palate with a smooth, oily slickness. Body is on the light side of medium, and while carbonation is far more modest than standard for the style, in the end it all comes together very nicely.

It’s really not what I expected from a cream ale at all, and is really probably technically pushing the limits of the pale ale style, but to me styles are just a rough guideline…when a beer is good it’s good, and Narragansett Cream Ale is good.

Looks: 10/10     Smell: 9/10     Taste: 9.5/10     Overall: 9.5/10