By. Terry Anzaldi
In the world of micro brewing, Rhode Island usually isn't the place that floats to the top of anyone's list, but try one of these three beers and the biggest little statein the union might just surprise you. Here's a sample of some of the Ocean State's most prized homegrown brews.
Grab a 'Gansett
Narragansett Brewing Company has been an Ocean State institution since 1890. The largest brewery in New England, 'Gansett set the standard for local brewing for almost 100 years. Brewed for purity, Narragansett Beer was the largest selling beer in New England. No one can remember if that distinction was due to its crisp, clean lager taste or to its sponsorship and close affiliation with New England's beloved Boston Red Sox and Curt Gowdy's famous "Hi Neighbor" advertising campaign.
In 1982, the brewery, located in Cranston, Rhode Island shifted its brewing operation to the Falstaff brewery in Indiana. With the brew's "secret" ingredient - pure water from the Scituate reservoir - no longer available, the once local legend's sales began to decline. In 1983, the brewery, being utilized for kegs only, closed its doors.
In 2005, Rhode Islander Mark Hellendrung purchased the rights to Narragansett beer from Falstaff. Mark hired Narragansett's original brew master Bill Anderson and launched an aggressive marketing campaign. Using the traditional recipes and brewing method, 'Gansett was back in business.
Billed as a heritage beer, the new 'Gansett beers, namely its porter and bock styles, are craft brewed in Providence RI, while its lagers and lights are brewed in Rochester NY. The Pride of Rhode Island's sweet, clean brews are once again, at the top of the heap in New England.
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