About a year ago, Bud Drescher, current (retired) owner of Allie’s Donuts in Rhode Island, started talking with Narragansett Brewing Company, which had reached out to him to gauge interest in a new collaboration.
Drescher’s donut shop has been the stuff of legend and song in the Ocean State since the late ’60s—specifically notable for its classic double chocolate donuts—and since Drescher is a self-admitted “beer nut,” the prospect of working on his first joint-effort line of suds with an outfit like Narragansett was something he wasn’t intending to pass up.
“At first they were thinking about apple cinnamon flavor, and I said, ‘That’s awesome’”, says Drescher. “We talked a few other times after that, and later while in Florida I get another call from [VP of Sales and Marketing at Narragansett] Jim Crooks,” who after speaking with Drescher’s son (and fellow donut master) started getting ideas together for the collaboration.
“We kicked around ideas and realized we were on to something,” says Crooks. “The different flavors’ potential (like an apple cinnamon donut or a maple frosted brown ale) were there, and our brewmaster—as a big fan of their donut—felt like a double chocolate porter would be a fun style to do.”
“I said I love porters, but don’t know about double chocolate,” Drescher says. “But I said if [Narragansett’s] brewer thinks it’s a home run to go with it.”
Thus the Allie’s Double Chocolate Porter was born, and the limited-edition collaboration beer, part of the brewery’s “Hi, Neighbor!” series, is just hitting the market this week with distribution planned throughout New England and other cities across the US.
However, even with plans for the new brew in motion, Drescher had yet to give the stuff a taste for himself until recently. So he and his wife and son Matt made the journey up to Rochester, NY, to the Narragansett brewing facility to see where the magic happens, as well as get the first sips of the new line firsthand from the source.
“My first reaction was just: Wow, it’s good,” says Drescher. “Real nice chocolatey flavor, malty caramel. Smooth, goes down nice. I brought a case to my year-end golf tournament. Everyone tried it and loved it. Just a home run.”
Drescher says that the fact that the idea originated organically with Narragansett is an honor in itself, and it’s why, if any more donut-inspired beers are on the horizon, he plans to give first dibs to ’Gansett.
“I was elated [the brewery] even thought of us. We’re one donut shop in [the] middle of RI, been here for 46 years, and we pride ourselves on making quality products. So for [them] to approach me and ask if I was interested in that, and [them] not even knowing I was a beer nut—I would be looking to collaborate with [them] before anyone else.”
For those that happen to be in the North Kingstown area of Rhode Island this week, Narragansett will be hosting a release party at Oak Hill Tavern in North Kingstown, RI, from 6pm—9pm on Oct 1, with games, giveaways, and (naturally) plenty of Allie’s donuts on hand.
Go ahead, dip one in your pint.
Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.