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Have a Gansett … and some clams

Posted by Paul Kandarian  July 19, 2011 07:51 AM

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Anyone, say, over the age of 45 from the Rhode Island is sure to remember the Narragansett Beer ad phrase, "Hi, neighbor! Have a Gansett!" about the legendary beer made in Cranston from 1890 until the early 1980s; my dad's cousin Joe was a long-time foreman there. The plant went dormant around that time, and was then razed before Rhode Islander Mark Hellendrung, along with some New England investors, bought the rights to the name from Falstaff in 2005. It is now made in Rochester, N.Y., and Latrobe, Penn., with craft brews made in Providence and Pawcatuck, Conn.

The company is now hoping to cash in on that neighborly feel of the old-time brew with its first Boston beer dinner, scheduled for July 21 from 5-10 p.m. at Kingston Station, on Kingston Street in Boston. The event will showcase the brand's brews, from standard to craft offerings, working with Kingston Station Executive Chef Dana Love. The menu will include another Rhode Island favorite, clams, made with a saffron broth, and served with Narragansett Lager. Other pairings are lump crab salad, with Narragansett Summer Ale; braised short ribs with Narragansett Porter; and lemongrass panna cotta, with Narragansett Bock. Cost of the four-course dinner is $35 per person. Reservations are recommended by calling 617-482-6282.beer and clams.jpg

There's a pretty nifty, unvarnished history of the company at its website, including how the brewery encouraged workers to have their own Gansetts - during the workday - and how the company icon was designed by a young artist named Theodore Geisel. He would later be more famously known as Dr. Seuss.

The company boldly boasts that Narragansett is "The Official Beer of the Clam." That's a pretty lofty claim in a state known for its beer and its clams, but arguing the point wouldn't be very neighborly.

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