On Sunday, March 9, the Gracie’s team hit the road for West Kingston to visit the RI Mushroom Company. The RI Mushroom Company is currently featuring the blue oyster, crimini, golden oyster, king oyster, maitake, portobella, and peoppino mushrooms. Each variety has unique flavors and textures, but we think they are all delicious. Owners Bob DiPietro and Mike Hallock gave us a tour, and guided us through the process of producing high quality mushrooms.
The process begins with the arrival of stuffed growing bags (usually filled with straw) from a company in Pennsylvania. These bags are the growing medium for the mushrooms, and are placed into greenhouses. There are three factors crucial to the successful growth of mushrooms: temperature, humidity, and ventilation. All of these factors are controlled in the greenhouses through a phone app (which is way cool). The mushrooms are continually monitored to ensure they are growing healthy and properly.
Mike and Bob have a lot of passion for their product, and we are excited to use their mushrooms on menu items at both Ellie’s Bakery & Gracie’s.
The next stop was to the RI Mushroom Company’s neighbor, Proclamation Ale Company (located in the same building). This nano-brewery is a one-man show, run by President and Brewmaster Dave Witham.
Proclamation Ale Company focuses on creating bold & complex beers that are unusual and outside of the typical style box. Dave plans to experiment with unusual brewing techniques such as barrel aging, as well as some unusual ingredients (we hear they may borrow some mushrooms from their neighbors).
Our last stop was at the Sons of Liberty Spirits Co., located in South Kingstown, RI. Two questions gave rise to this company:
“Why is no one distilling single malt whiskies from the beers we love?” and “Why are there so many seasonal beers, but no seasonal whiskies?”
Sons of Liberty was founded to redefine American Whiskey by challenging centuries old traditions. Sons of Liberty creates American Single Malt Whiskies from flavorful beers and has created the first ever line of seasonal whiskies. During our trip we were fortunate to taste their Seasonal Summer Release: Hop Flavored Whiskey.
“This whiskey started its life as an IPA; brewed under the guidance of Cottrell Brewing. After retaining the IPA flavors through distillation we aged the whiskey in American oak barrels. Once the aging process was complete, we finished the whiskey by dry hopping with Citra and Sorachi Ace hops for bright and complementary floral notes. The nose is hop forward with hints of lemon and grapefruit. With a malty first sip, light mouth feel and a hoppy finish the Summer Release will quickly become a warm weather favorite”.
Additionally, during our experience we were able to taste the three byproducts of the distillation process: the head, the body (whiskey) and the tail. Both the head & tail are discarded due to distasteful impurities & flavors. Tasting all three side by side gave us a great perspective on the whisky’s flavor.
All in all, a great day! We love learning more about local food and drink, and we especially love getting to know the people we partner with to share Rhode Island’s goodness with you!