9/19/21: Narragansett Brewing Company's Fest

3:43 PM

It's suddenly hot again. Why? I mean, it wasn't exactly chilly when my last post went up but today it feels like we tripped into some weird time vortex and wound up in mid-August. Which is fine--I don't harbor any particular ill-will toward summer--but I've already mentally shifted into my fall space.

It's good that I had today's beer stashed in my fridge. I was planning on drinking it regardless of how the day's temperatures turned out. Now that I'm breaking into it, here's hoping that Narragansett's Fest can help me regain that bit of fall that I've lost so abruptly.

I've never had a Narragansett beer before! So, let's take a quick moment to find out about the brewery together. If you're already well-versed in who they are or what they do, I suppose you'll just have to indulge me for paragraph or so.

Narragansett was founded in Rhode Island by six German immigrants way back in 1890 and quickly became New England's largest beer producer. The brewery weathered Prohibition through selling soft drinks, ice, and "medicinal" malt extract. Falstaff Brewing Corporation bought the brewery in 1965, which shuttered it and moved Narragansett production to Indiana in the '80s. After a failed attempt to restart the RI location as a keg-only affair, Falstaff left the brand to flounder.

This changed in 2005 when Mark Hellendrung, backed by investors, bought Narragansett and started brewing in Pawtucket, RI. Finally, in 2019, Narragansett opened its new digs in Providence, RI, bringing the beer home at last. 

I skipped over wide swaths of the brewery's past for this short summation, so, if you're so inclined, you can get the full history of 'Gansett over on their "Our Story" page.

While you're over on their website, be sure to check out their page on today's beer. Fest is a 5.5% ABV Märzen lager. Brewed with German malts and hops, the beer's slated to have bready notes with "...subtle and dry spiced finish."

The nose of my can's definitely giving me bready notes. It's freshly-baked bread with a conservative drizzle of honey and a bite of hops. It's an inviting bouquet, but not one that Purrl can really get behind considering she only gave my can four whiffs.

I really like all of the flavors in Fest: bread, honey, and caramel, with a touch of spice (think coriander). It's all a little subdued, though. I wish the whole affair had a tad more oomph. There is a nice touch of malty sweetness on my lips after each swig, which makes me think this beer could be just that much more than it is.

Fest really nails the mouthfeel. It's crisp and refreshing with the right amount of sudsiness for each pull to warrant another.

You know, this beer's actually doing the trick of reframing my headspace into something autumnal. Sitting on my porch, I can feel (even if I'm just imagining it) a hint of a chill in the air. A nip. A reminder of the season to come. Narragansett's Fest has that going for it. While I do wish it leaned a little more into the flavors it presents, this is still a good lager and deserving of the 7.5/10 I'm giving it.

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