Friday, December 21, 2018

Episode 20: Narragansett Lager, Fresh Catch, and Del's Shandy with Squire Brendan Roche

I. Introduction

Shandy Claws.
Image result for narragansett beer poster

Today’s beer is regarded as the oldest in New England, once the unrivaled master of that region, holding a 65% share of the market in the 1950s. 

This was not to last, however.  Mismanagement by a series of new owners led to a steady decline in quality and customer loyalty and eventually, in 1981, exile.

In 2005 the brewery making today’s quaff had a net revenue of nothing.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  Hell, they made only $50,000 in sales total nationwide.  On the edge of extinction, it was rescued by passionate investors whose love not only brought it back to New England after its long sojourn as a contract beer in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but returned it to the hands of Red Sox fans, reintroducing it to the green majesty of Fenway Park.  Within nine years not only was it profitable, but was pulling in $12 million a year in the black.

Today on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer we’re drinking the beer Quint crushes in 1975’s Jaws, a beer that still sells for about $6 a six-pack, a beer that claims to be the Official Beer of the Clam, a beer that we’re convinced has inspired at least half of existing Family Guy episodes. 

Today's theme is Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra's 1921 "Song of India"

II. Our Guest, Appalachia's Own Red Sox Fan, Brendan Roche

B-Roche, with his Pa and Wee One

III. Rubric, Reviews, and Talking Points: Narragansett Lager

BeerAdvocate: 3.36 of 5

RateBeer: 2.47 of 5

Untappd: 3.09 of 5

ABV: 5%

Ingredients: We couldn't find a complete and detailed breakdown.

Cost: $ - around $6 a six-pack.

Appearance: Very golden, translucent without being being entirely transparent (though nearly so).

Aroma: Almost no odor in the glass, but the can is much more aromatic (well, according to Clayman and Eric; Brendan disagreed)

Flavor: Classic, inoffensive lager, not sweet, a little bitter on the back-end.  Critical - this is a can beer, and we agreed it is much better out of the can (though perhaps that is a difference in terms of acquired taste preferences).  A mild metallic flavor.  Brendan noted that the first drink was harsh, but after that you settle into it.

Mouthfeel: A fair amount of carbonation (look for it to be burpy).

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors: Authentic and getting more so, a masterpiece of angel investing.  And guys, you can't do better than this marketing.  Fantastic, beautiful, artistic, complex.  Hell yes, guys.

Overall: Brendan gave it a 3 of 5, Clayman a 2.9 of 5, and Eric a 2.75 of 5.  Grand total? 2.88 of 5!

IV. Rubric, Reviews, and Talking Points: Narragansett Fresh Catch

BeerAdvocate: 3.59 of 5

RateBeer: 2.97 of 5

Untappd: 3.44 of 5

ABV: 4.2%

Ingredients: Citra hops, but otherwise we couldn't find a complete and detailed breakdown.

Cost: $ - around $6 a six-pack.

Appearance:  Translucent, yellow-gold, transparent.

Aroma: A bit of a citrus odor - not as strong as many citra-hopped IPAs, but noticeable and pleasant.

Flavor: Citra hop flavors over an inoffensive blonde ale base.  A little lighter.

Mouthfeel: Clean, dry, light.

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors: See above (Narragansett Lager).  Also we love that damn big, red lobster (and the fun purple lobster variant).

Overall: Squire Roche gives it a 2.75 of 5, Clayman a 2.75 of 5, and Eric a 3 of 5.  Averaged out? 2.83 of 5. 

V. Rubric, Reviews, and Talking Points: Narragansett Presents Del's Shandy

* Here's a link to the homepage of Del's Lemonade for reference.  Enjoy.

BeerAdvocate: 3.38 of 5

RateBeer: 2.91 of 5

Untappd: 3.47 of 5

ABV: 4.7%

Ingredients: We couldn't find a complete and detailed breakdown, but one supposes beer and Del's lemonade.

Cost: $ - around $6 a six-pack.

Appearance: Translucent but not transparent yellow (we had imperfect glassware for this one)

Aroma:  Distinct lemony flavor, especially after first pour/open.

Flavor: Eric wants to drink this in an inner tube on the New River on a hot summer day as soon as possible - and possibly pair it with vanilla ice cream.  Like the first taste of a Lemonhead before it becomes overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Clean, crisp, pleasant.

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  See above (Narragansett Lager)

Overall: B-Roche gave this one a 2.8, Clayman a 2.9, and Eric nudged it to a 3 of 5.  Averaged we gave it this shandy a 2.9 of 5. 

VI. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:

Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grow nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.


Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

VII. Plugs

Boston, Massachusetts

[Note: Elvis is not Annette Funicello]

Abingdon, Virginia

Barstool Sports

The William King Museum of Art
Abingdon, Virginia

Abingdon, Virginia

VIII. Selected Readings and Viewings

Andrew Bary. September 22, 2017. "How Passion Investors Helped Revive Narragansett Beer." Barron's: Penta.

Erik Christensen. August 13, 2014. "10 Things You Didn't Know About Narragansett."  Thrillist.

Gail Ciampa. April 3, 2016. "Hi Neighbor! Narragansett returns to R.I. with craft brewery in Pawtucket." Providence Journal.

Paul Lukas.  June 13, 2013. "Beer and Bivalves: How Narragansett Became 'The Official Beer of the Clam." New York Magazine

Ronald Theriot. August 31, 2011. "Louisiana Beer Reviews: Narragansett Lager." Louisiana Beer Reviews.

IX. Rafa Ortiz Rides Inflatable Pool Toy Off 70-Foot Waterfall

X. Quint v. Hooper: Jaws and Narragansett

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