When I arrived at Proclamation Ale Company, my senses of sight and smell were instantly engaged. The building is a borderless, industrial expanse, sectioned by deliberate design that allows the aroma of brewing hops to permeate, which is one of the features separating Proclamation from most corporate or family-styled brewhouses I have visited.
Situated in Warwick just off Jefferson Blvd., the central location makes it convenient from anywhere in the state, attracting beach traffic, and close to T.F. Green airport. Proclamation’s décor is impressive; from the original type pictograph, impressively comprised of aluminum can tops, to the wood mosaic bar and continuing through the Proclamation sound wave portrait, the pleasing to the eye design aesthetic credit owner Dave Wiltham’s wife, Laurie who acts as the design lead for the company. A key feature of the space–for the young and the young at heart–are a gamut of late-model video games from Centipede, to the six-in-one Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga. Feeling nostalgic? No need to search for quarters or waiting in lines by the change machines. These games are free! I played Ms. Pac-Man, beer in hand while waiting to speak the Proclamations’ floor manager.
“Dave Witham got started home brewing. Proclamation came about shortly after with part-owner and CFO Josh Karten,” says Thomas Pereira. Proclamations’ first external hire. Initially located in South Kingston, the success of the ale company made growing the brand feasible, while the move to the Warwick was transformative.
“Growing; moving is like starting over. We did the research. We wanted to bring something different, and keep to our high standards while increasing production to about 6,000 barrels per year. Reception has been excellent the new location is more convenient. People really dig the place; we aim to be accommodating and make people comfortable.” Thomas continued.
I have been drinking Proclamation’s Derivative for a number of years at local taverns around Rhode Island whenever I saw it on tap. The formula for Derivative is constant except for one thing. Like how one thing on every Chevy Corvette is different to give each car its uniqueness. The Derivative, which would be the Corvette of Proclamations’ fleet of ales, is more like a fleet of ships, with each batch slightly different from the last. Derivative is a term of art when the hops strain is changed, even though overall formula stays the same. Since hops are a living crop, each new crop will have its eccentricities, unique characteristics, and impacts on the overall flavor.
Though standards of judging libations can vary from region to region, country to country, and so on, there are generally accepted criteria for evaluating beers as cited from Beer Connoisseur magazine on a 100 point scale around the following categories: Aroma (24 points), Appearance (6 points), Flavor (40 points), Mouthfeel (10 points), and Overall Impression (20 points).
I had the Derivative Mosaic, a single-hop pale ale with 6% abv that is available year round. Using the Beer Connoisseur guidelines, the appearance is a cloudy, hazy yellow-orange suggesting a thick body. The smell was great with citrus and fruity notes. I don’t like fruit in my beer, which is a personal taste. I find that I can only drink a pumpkin or a blueberry beer once, then I have to switch. The Mosaic was not that style at all. The combination of the bitter hop accented by the mild citrus was not common like a lemon or grapefruit, but more of an island fruit with acidic qualities like pineapple. Sipping this American Pale Ale was a refreshing, enjoyable experience. Carbonated creamy where the flavors culminate until swallowed. In the back of the sip, I was left with the warm tart of the hop. Overall, I like to taste my beer. I was happy to order another one when I finished my first. In my opinion, no matter which ships in the Derivative fleet you choose, you can’t go wrong.
(Co-written with Christopher Johnson)
Learn more at Proclamation Ale Company’s website: www.proclamationaleco.com