The Interesting Story Behind Revival Brewing’s Fanny Session IPA

Brewery: Revival Brewing Co.
Beer: Fanny Session IPA
ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 55
Hop Varieties: Simcoe, El Dorado, Mosaic, Equinox, Centennial, Kohatu and Rakau

When it comes to craft beer, sometimes the name on the label has as diverse a background as the ingredients in the can. Let’s get the story behind Revival Brewing’s Fanny Session IPA.

Who is Revival Brewing? I could tell you the story of how Sean Larkin and Owen Johnson met and launched their brewery in Cranston, Rhode Island in 2011. I could tell you that they use local ingredients to make distinct and original brews. I think it’s best to tell their story with their own words:

“High Quality, innovative beers, born in New England and brewed with passion. That’s revival.”

It’s that pride in New England, and Rhode Island specifically, that really give this brewery its identity. How many people can tell me who Fanny the Elephant is? Comment below if you knew this beforehand, because I had no idea. I am willing to bet that most people outside of Rhode Island would admit the same ignorance here, and that’s OK. Thanks to Revival’s love for all things Rhode Island, we’re all about to get to know Fanny.

This story begins at the Slater Park zoo, which opened in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1916–albeit on a very small scale, and with only a few examples of local wildlife. In the 1950s, it was expanded, which led to some exotic additions to its roster of animal inhabitants. Unfortunately, the place was a proverbial cesspit. By the 1980s, with facilities crumbling, budgets dwindling and reports of animal cruelty flying, the once beloved menagerie was in shambles. Things got so bad that decade, that “60 Minutes” named Slater Park one of the worst zoos in America. In 1993, the city voted, mercifully, to shut it all down.

For 35 years, Fanny, an Asian elephant born in the wild in 1944, lived a lonely and isolated life in a small enclosure at the zoo. On most days, she was kept in a small barn, chained–literally, with a chain–to a post by her back leg. Despite the fact that elephants are known as one of the more social species, there were no other elephants at Slater Park. Fanny was alone. While you can argue that the elephant’s complex range of emotions and social ties to the herd mean there is no real ethical way of keeping an one in captivity, there are certainly better ways than sticking them all alone, in a small barn on a chain to be gawked at for over three decades.

When the Pawtucket City Counsel voted to close up shop in 1993, many of the animals were quickly relocated to other zoos. However, it’s hard to relocate a 12,000 elephant. Also, the people of Pawtucket loved her too much to let her go. After all, they’d been coming to see her for three generations. A legal battle ensued, and lasted several months. Eventually, several groups, including The Humane Society and the Free Fanny Coalition (stop giggling, that’s her name), won Fanny’s freedom.

That June, she was put on a steel-reinforced truck and took a 3-day journey to the Black Beauty Ranch in Murchinson, TX. There, she was renamed Tara for some reason, but was treated kindly and given plenty of room to roam. She even got a companion elephant named Congo, who ended up being her first friend in decades. She lived at the Ranch for 10 years, before passing away in 2003. In 2007, the City of Pawtucket dedicated a fiberglass sculpture to Fanny, ensuring she’ll always be remembered.

Is this a good story? Is this a sad story? To be honest, I’m not sure. What I do know, is that this is a story unique to Pawtucket, and that the guys from Revival are proud to tell it. As a New Englander, I am proud to share it with you guys.

As for the beer itself, it’s solid. It’s brewed using seven distinct hop varieties: Simcoe, El Dorado, Mosaic, Equinox, Centennial, Kohatu and Rakau. It’s definitely a bit of a hop bomb, but the low ABV make it super drinkable, like any good session IPA. I say give it a shot if you can find it, and make sure you honor Fanny the elephant with every sip.

Watch a documentary about Fanny:

Also, check out the Fanny on Instagram:

Revival Brewing Co.: Fanny – An elephant never forgets, and neither does the window sill! If you’re from Pawtucket, RI, you may have heard of Fanny the Elephant. Fanny was a beloved Asian elephant that spent 35 years basically chained to a post in a small enclosure at Pawtucket’s Slate Park Zoo–once named among the worst zoos in America by 60 minutes. When the zoo was shut down in 1993 (thankfully), a big legal battle broke out between the people of Pawtucket, who wanted to keep Fanny, and animal rights activists that wanted her to live out the rest of her days on a preserve in Texas. Texas won, but the people of Pawtucket never forgot their Fanny. Rhode Island’s own Revival Brewing Co. Decided to pay tribute to this RI Icon by naming their session IPA after her. It’s brewed with 7 varieties of hops (Simcoe, El Dorado, Mosaic, Equinox, Centennial, Kohatu and Rakau), so it’s definitely a hop bomb, but still super drinkable because of its low ABV. Solid brew! ABV: 4.7%, IBU: 55. Available year-round @beeradvocate says: 85 #beersonwindowsills #hopmendous #beer #beerme #beerstagram #beersofinstagram #beeroftheday #brewstagram #beergeek #craftbeer #craftbeerporn #craftbeerjunkie #craftbeerlife #craftbeerlover #mybeerisbetterthanyours #whatsinyourglass #revival #revivalbrewing #fanny #fannytheelephant #elephants #pawtucket #rhodeisland #ribeer #ipa #ipaguy #ipalover #ipanation #sessionipa @revivalbrewing

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