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Province Ale Company's third release isn't your typical gruit

Tue, 03/12/2013 - 4:20pm

It's time once again to turn back the clock and revisit brewing history this Saturday with Nicolo Mastroianni, Ragged Jordan and the Province Ale Company. For the third installment of this antique brewing project, we're exploring the world of pre-Reinheitsgebot German ales.

The 5.9% ABV Saxony-Anhalt Ale is a gruit, or herb beer, made with coriander, caraway and Hartshorn. What's Hartshorn, you ask? It's the antler from a deer. Our best guess is this would have been added to help clarify the beer. We got ahold of some antlers with the help of a former co-worker who hunts on his family farm.

Saxony-Anhalt has notes of toasted bread and a lingering spicy finish. It'll pair well with Chef Joseph Arsenault's ash bread, a traditional Mexican pupusa baked in an open fire and stuffed with fresh cheese.

And don't worry if you missed last month's beer. We held back a keg so members and newcomers can catch up and join the 12-month run of antique ales.

Both beers go on tap at noon Saturday.


If you're new to Province Ale Company, here's the story.

We're looking for about 100 adventurous beer lovers to join us on this journey. We're off to a great start, but there are still spaces left. Participants will experience the re-creation of 19th-century beer recipes discovered in the dusty shelves of a local library. Nicolo (Sam Calagione) and his plucky head brewer, Ragged Jordan (aka Ben Potts), will release one beer a month in 2013, and Chef Joseph Arsenault (aka Dennis Marcoux) will re-create a period-appropriate food pairing to go with each beer.

For $30, investors will receive a handmade journal to record their thoughts, observations and experiences as each beer is released. The journals also will tell the story of Province Ale Co. and include Ragged's notes for homebrewers. At the end of the year, investors will receive their completed journal, as well as a turn-of-the-century Province Ale baseball cap and retro T-shirt. Also, anyone who can guess which two of the 12 recipes were invented by Nicolo and Ragged's modern-day alter-egos will enjoy a private dinner with the whole Province Ale team. Yup, all that for just $30!

Here's the fine print: Journal shares can be purchased only at the Rehoboth pub. This is a full-on analog project, so we want to see the whites of your eyes when you sign up. A new beer will be released at the pub on the third Saturday of each month. From noon to 4 p.m., Province Ale Co. investors have exclusive access. After that, they're fair game for any pub visitors. Our best guess is that each will last about a week, but we can't make any promises. To help investors stay up-to-date, the previous month's beer will also be available as each new batch is released. The antique brews will be $4 per 10-ounce pour, and food pairings will vary based on the recipe.

Sign up in person at the pub this Saturday, and join the journey of Province Ale Co. – an analog project for the digital age.