Stay Responsible While Drinking Craft Beer

Everyone talks about drinking responsibly but it can be hard to know exactly what that means. Responsible drinking means that you never have to feel sorry for what has happened while you were drinking. Let’s be real everyone needs a night out on the town to let loose and have a good time, with a beer in their hand but we must look out for ourselves and stay SAFE! Learning about ways to keep your alcohol intake in check can be the first step in learning to drink responsibly, but there are a number of things to consider including taking personal responsibility and seeking outside help.

What Does It Mean to Drink Responsibly?
– Making sure you’re safe
– Making sure others around you are safe
– Actively avoiding dangerous situations
– Minimizing the risks for yourself and others
– Having a positive drinking experience

It is so important to stay aware of what you are drinking. Did you know Craft Beer tends to be significantly higher in alcohol? One IPA is equal to 1.5 standard beer. The market is beginning to move toward more sessional (5% or less ABV, or more traditional levels of alcohol) but, that is not the norm in most beer bars or for most craft consumers. Every person tolerates alcohol differently. Reasons for this are based on gender, weight, physical condition, and family history. It is important to KNOW YOUR LIMITS.
Always pace yourself while drinking. Try to stick to a general rule of one drink per hour. There is a general rule: for every two alcoholic beverages drink a full glass of water. If you choose to drive anywhere, don’t drink more alcohol than recommended. It’s recommended: around 1 standard drink for women, 2 drinks for men. Because alcohol is a depressant it can affect our reaction times, our vision and coordination, there is a legal drink-drive limit, which is based on BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION (BAC). What is BAC? BAC is the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. Your BAC depends on how much you drink. The more you drink, the higher your BAC. But there are also many other factors that affect your BAC such as your size, your weight, your gender, whether you’ve eaten and even how tired you are. BAC is measured with a breathalyzer or by analyzing a sample of blood. It is measured by the number of grams of alcohol in 100ml of blood. For example, a BAC of .08, the US legal limit for driving for those over 21, means you have .08 grams of alcohol in every 100ml of blood.
Another thing you should be aware of is mixing alcohol and other drugs (whether medication or recreational) is serious! Not only can you not anticipate the effect, it will have a huge effect on your behavior. Mixing alcohol with drugs can make you sick. There are no safe combos when it comes to mixing alcohol with drugs, so it’s better to just not mix them at all. The basic thing to remember to drink responsibly is using common sense. If it doesn’t sound like a good idea, it probably isn’t one. If you’re not comfortable with the environment you’re in or are worried about bad things happening, you should probably rethink your plans. If you don’t feel able to drink responsibly, for whatever reason, it might mean you need to seek some outside advice. Have a chat with someone you think is responsible about how they keep themselves in check.
Remember, just because you’re controlling how much you’re drinking, spending the evening being a sensible, responsible grownup, doesn’t mean the party will be boring!

The Rise of Cask Beer in Rhode Island

Did you know that cask beers have been around for centuries? If you aren’t familiar with a cask ale, it is much different than the beer you may be used to sampling.
This particular brew is unfiltered and only goes through a slight fermentation in the cask itself. There is no long storage process and it typically needs to be consumed within a few days. To put it simply, it’s fresh, bold and has local craft beer enthusiasts buzzing.
So, if you are looking to impress your local Rhode Island bar crowd, we have a few reasons why you should consider adding a cask to your beer line up.

Cask Beer is Unique

The local beer industry offers a wide range of brews with unique flavors and ingredients, but none of them compare to the truly original cask flavors. One of the most interesting aspects of this style is that every cask is different. Even if the brewers are using the same ingredients and recipe, the product is unfiltered and matures within the cask offering an original taste that cannot be recreated.
As a Rhode Island bar or restaurant owner, you may have noticed that the more rare the beer product, the more attention it gets. Luckily, cask beers are always rare and will give bar goers a unique pour.

The Freshest Brews You Can Find

Some may shy away from the short shelf life of the cask ale, but to a true beer lover, it simply means you are getting the freshest beer on the market. These particular brews do not go through a pasteurization process and are not stored. They are taken right from the breweries to their final destination, your bar. If that isn’t a fresh brewed beer, we don’t know what is.

Cask Ales are Full of Flavor

Over the years cask beer has seen a few changes. The British-style caters more towards the traditional palate, while the US has shifted towards more colorful flavors. Whether your bar goers are fans of floral, citrus or bitter tastes, a cask ale will be able to offer them an intensity & depth unlike standard draft beers.

Cask Beer Popularity

Defend Your Beer From Enemies

Yes, it’s true. Your favorite beers have enemies in the form of light, temperature and time. In an effort to promote the consumption of fresh beer, we have come up with a defense guide in order to keep your craft beer selections at their best.

#1 Limit Your Light Exposure

Have you ever tasted a “skunked” beer before? Unfortunately, bad beer is a common occurrence due to light exposure. Bad light conditions tend to alter the beer’s flavor and aroma. The best defense is to keep your beer in dark conditions, or in a cardboard box or cooler if outside. The less light your beer sees, the better.

#2 Be Mindful of Temps

As you may know, temperatures play a big part when it comes to maintaining the flavors of your beer. We recommend storing your brews in a cold setting that is anywhere from 35-45 degrees. This will help keep your beers as fresh as possible for an extended amount of time. If you can’t give your beers a consistent cold storage option, be sure to go through it quickly.

#3 Drink Within Recommended Times

IPA’s, American Barleywines and Wheat Beers are not meant to be stored. Although you may think it allows your beer time to develop, they are meant to be served fresh. Oxidation is a process that happens over time, and will eventually change the flavor of your beer leaving it with a stale taste.

How do you avoid oxidation? If your craft beer has a recommended “drink date”, don’t take it as a suggestion, it is recommended for a reason. If there is no recommended “drink by date” present on the label, give it no longer than 3 months.

Now that you have a guide to the best beer defense, you should know a few things about getting the freshest beer on tap and in-store. When it comes to grabbing a draft beer at a bar, keep in mind that beer is brought in from all over. This might mean that the kegs were filled weeks ago and has been traveling ever since. If you order a beer from a local brewery, there is a better chance of it being a fresh batch due to its’ close distribution circuit.

When it comes to buying your beers in-store, we always recommend heading over to the cold case. As you know temps can wreak havoc on particular styles of beer, so if you can avoid grabbing a room temp six-pack, do it.

There is nothing like a fresh tasting beer. We hope with this defense guide you can not only defend your brews against flavor altering elements, but can pick up the freshest beers in-store or on tap!

A Guide To Cellaring Beer

There are a lot of opinions out there regarding the best brews to store and how to store it. Although some cellaring tips are subjective, there are a few that are consistent across the board.

So, if you have decided to start cellaring your local craft beer selections, take a look at our guide to a few standard rules and suggestions!

Don’t Make A Cellar Spot For Your IPA’s

If there is one thing all beer enthusiasts can agree on, it’s that hoppy beers are not meant to be stored. IPA’s and Double IPA’s are meant to be fresh, this is why you may see “drink by dates” on certain hoppy labels. The reason? Over time the elements that make these beers special start to fade away.

Taste, aroma and bitterness begins to diminish, and the high levels of alpha acids in hops can oxidize giving your brew a stale flavor. So, if you are thinking about putting a few hoppy options in your cellar to age for a year, we highly recommend inviting friends over and enjoying them as soon as you can.

Add A Space for Imperials & Barleywines

If you have an imperial beer that is more than 8%, save a spot on your cellar shelves for them. Alcohol will act as a preservative for your beer, which is why we recommend giving your higher ABV beers more time to develop. The same can be said about oak-aged beers and barleywines. Just keep in mind that American Barleywines will need a close eye compared to its’ English Barleywine sibling.

American Barleywines often cater towards the “hoppy” beer lovers. With time it will loose its’ hops properties and offer a fruitier flavor palate. If you don’t mind the traditional barleywine taste, than feel free to leave your American style in the cellar for some time.

Keep An Eye on Your Wheats

Wheat beers are similar to to IPA’s in that over time its’ “special” components fade away. Have you ever seen a wheat beer with a sediment on the bottom? This is most likely due to the fact that wheat proteins don’t typically like to stay suspended in beer and will begin to drop. If you want to avoid sediment and a cardboard taste the occurs if aged too long, we recommend enjoying your wheat brews sooner, rather than later.

Best Storage Options

Proper beer storing techniques will always be up for debate, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First is temperature. We personally like to keep our beers at around 40 degrees. If you don’t have a spot in your home that stays cool on its’ own, consider getting an additional fridge. This will help you avoid temperatures fluctuating.

Just remember that if you have a few bottles with corks, a cellar environment is ideal. The low level of humidity will ensure your corks don’t dry out.

Create Your Own Opinions

You know your palate. We can give you all the tips in the world, but if you like your beer a little less hoppy and a little more fruitful, cellar it. A great way to find out your likes and dislikes is by trying one beer when you first purchase and then storing one to compare flavors.

In the end it’s your opinion that matters, so be sure to use your best beer judgement and to enjoy your favorites whether they are cellared or fresh from the brewery!

First Look at Half Full Brewery

If you haven’t heard of Half Full Brewery yet, it is only a matter of time. This Stamford, Connecticut brewery is starting to make some huge waves in the local craft beer industry, and we can understand why.

Their craft beer lineup has a style for every type of beer drinker and is why you may start seeing them more and more on local taps. So, if you are looking for a few more reasons to fall in love with Half Full Brewery and add them to your bar or restaurant, we will give you 5.

#1 Their Story

Every brewery has their story, which includes the “founding moment”. Half Full Brewery is no exception but their story evolved over time. Founder/Owner Connor Horrigan didn’t know he wanted to own a brewery, in fact his original career path landed him a job on Wall Street as an investment banker. After three years on the job, he realized he wanted to find something that he was passionate about, something that would make him and his family happy.

While on a trip around the world, circumstances brought him back home where he decided to pursue the one thing that would make him happy and energized each day. He wanted to open a brewery that inspired others to be optimistic, passionate and look at the world with a glass “half full” mentality.

#2 Their Beer

One of the main reasons why we are big fans of Half Full Brewery is there selection of beer. Like every local brewery they have their year-round beers which include a double IPA, west coast style IPA and a blonde/pale ale hybrid. Although these are some of our favorite brews they offer, that isn’t all they have. Along with limited releases, they have what they call their non-quantifiable beers.

If you love the non-traditional craft beer styles like a gose or barrel aged, you will want to keep you eyes on Half Full Brewery’s options. They aren’t always offered in their taproom, but make for a special pour when they are.

#3 Their Community Sourced Ale Project

Half Full Brewery is all about their local community, and their community sourced ale project is a prime example. Their goal is to bring unique brews to craft beer lovers while collaborating with local craftsmen in the area. One of their most recent community brews utilizes flavors from Stamford’s own Rise Coffee Co. With the help of their ingredients, Half Full Brewery crafted a bold and robust Cold Brew Coffee Porter that is a beer enthusiasts dream.

#4 Their Podcast

If you are a craft beer fanatic, it is always interesting to hear about local breweries and how they got their start. Half Full Brewery has taken it upon themselves to create their own podcast which covers their story, inspiration and the changes they have made along the way. It is a great behind the scenes intro into Half Full Brewery and is a must watch for those who are thinking about adding this beer to their taprooms.

#5 Their Tasting Room

If you are already a fan of the craft beers that Hall Full Brewery has to offer, we highly recommend heading over to their local spot in Stamford for a look at their Tasting Room. There you can take tours, enjoy a tasting of their limited release beers and even fill up a growler to go.

As a Rhode Island beer distributor, we love the opportunity to get to know local breweries and the incredible flavor profiles they have to offer. We welcome you to ask us any questions you have about their product and we look forward to getting Half Full Brewery on your taps!