Beer Lover's Guide: RI Beer
Sixteen spots to grab a pint, from newly minted breweries to timeworn brew pubs.
Photo: Brewers at Proclamation Ale Company.
Photography by Chris Vaccaro
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Beer is to barbecue what wine is to cheese. And at Brutopia, bite into dry-rubbed, fall-off-the-bone ribs and pulled pork while sipping brewed-on-site suds from Revival, and Brutopia exclusives. The atmosphere is prime for watching sports — pick a sport, any sport — and shooting pool with friends. Check out the beer tanks visible from the dining room and head downstairs for a peek inside Revival. Don’t miss the outdoor beer garden in warmer months.
505 Atwood Ave., Cranston, 464-8877, brutopiabrewery.com
Bucket crafts beers with names that refer to Rhode Island’s history, like the 33rd Inning Red Rye Lager that marks the longest baseball game ever played by the PawSox. The brewery, started in 2012 by Nate Broomfield and Erik Aslaksen with a team of three other friends, T.J. O’Connor, Andrew Powers and Ron Klinger, has resurrected beer recipes from historical Pawtucket (try Hand of Pawtucket) and served them up for modern day tastes. Special events include movie nights, Featured Fridays (when they tap experimental and prototype brews), BBQ Saturdays and the Brewery Brunch, on Sundays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. with beer for breakfast and eats available from Pork and Starboard food truck. Don’t miss the Prudence and Patience Rosehip Gose, a tart wheat beer with citrus character and a slight saltiness like the ocean breeze off Narragansett Bay.
100 Carver St., Pawtucket, 305-0597, bucketbrewery.com
Crooked Current Brewery
February brings a chocolate stout tap takeover to Crooked Current, a standing-room-only brewery featuring limited releases that go fast once they’re tapped. Rhode Island’s smallest craft brewery — run by two lifelong Ocean Staters, including one of the state’s only women brewers, Nichole Pelletier, and Jason Lourenco — will pour chocolate cherry stout, along with chocolate orange stout, chocolate mint stout and chocolate habañero stout. The oatmeal raisin stout is one of their most popular dessert-in-a-glass drafts to take home for a cozy night by the fire.
560 Mineral Spring Ave., Pawtucket, 473-8312, crookedcurrentbrewery.com
Foolproof Brewing Company
Foolproof pairs beer with life experiences. Sip a Backyahd IPA outdoors when the sun is shining, and a Raincloud Porter when clouds cast a heavy gray. Run by Nick Garrison with operations led by head brewer Steve Sharp, Foolproof’s popular seasonal brews include the nutty, rich Peanut Butter Raincloud Porter made with peanut butter and, for Valentine’s Day, the briny but sweet Shuckolate, brewed in collaboration with Garrison Confections chocolate and Walrus and Carpenter oysters. Annual Barrel Reserve Nights are always a huge draw, during which guests experience the brewery’s rarest barrel-aged releases. Beer and Yoga nights start back up in April, where poses are followed by pours.
241 Grotto Ave., Pawtucket, 721-5970, foolproofbrewing.com
Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island
To mark its fifth anniversary, Grey Sail is building a 4,500-square-foot addition and installing new equipment by spring. The Westerly spot, run by husband and wife team Alan and Jennifer Brinton along with head brewer Josh Letourneau, will be able to brew up to 14,000 barrels to keep up with demand. Last spring, it added a taproom and beer garden in an Italianate Colonial home next door, serving Grey Sail creations and lots of other great Rhody drafts. The floral and heady Captain’s Daughter double IPA with hints of stone fruit continues to earn outstanding ratings from serious sippers, and fans look forward to Black Mast Stout earning a place on Grey Sail’s regular rotation.
63 Canal St., Westerly, 212-7592, greysailbrewing.com
Long Live Beerworks
Providence’s answer to the microbrewery, this West Side hotspot, run by former commercial mason Armando DeDona, is known for its hop-heavy IPAs and coffee-infused brews. Fresh off its first anniversary, favorites include Coarse Grind, a stout featuring Dave’s Coffee, and Black Cat IPA and Three-Day Weekend double IPA can releases. Check out Furkin Fridays to taste new cask-conditioned beers, made by experimenting with items like bourbon-soaked oak, toasted coconut and citrus zest. Great Northern Barbecue and Gastros food trucks often serve bites on site that pair well with Long Live’s potent pours.
425 W. Fountain St., Providence, longlivebeerworks.com
Ravenous Brewing Company
Police officer turned full-time brewer Dorian Rave launched Ravenous Brewing Company in 2012 in conjunction with the release of his beloved coffee milk stout (before ’Gansett started doing one). The actual brewery opened later down the road, allowing Rave to eventually quit his day job. Rave’s goal is to quench the “ravenous thirst” of craft beer lovers with very limited barrel-aged releases of his American Wild Ale and “brewery only batches” like the Dolly Cole, American black ale and a vanilla chocolate porter. Don’t miss Black Harvest Ale, a sweet potato stout with a creamy mouthfeel and caramelized finish.
840 Cumberland Hill Rd., Woonsocket, 216-5331, ravenousbrew.com
Revival Brewing Company
A hidden hangout for beer lovers exists beneath Brutopia. It nails the “friend’s basement” vibe with plenty of well-loved couches, a floor hockey net, Super Mario Cart on the big screen, pinball and cornhole on the cement floors. Here, you can sip some of legendary brewmaster Sean Larkin’s higher-alcohol, experimental brews on tap or in special release bottles (Up Ship Kriek lambic sour is aged with tart cherries in wine barrels and Elder Dweller is a chocolate stout made with cocoa, coconut, mint and marshmallows). Larkin’s personal memorabilia — think signed hockey sticks and skateboards — doubles as decor and offers insight into the mind of the master.
505 Atwood Ave., Cranston, 372-7009, revivalbrewing.com
Whalers Brewing Company
Spend the day playing cornhole and shooting pool in the warehouse-style tasting room while sipping the creamy hazelnut stout, brewed with hazelnut coffee. The brewery, founded by former marine Josh Dunlap and mad scientist Wes Staschke, will soon move into a larger space within the Palisades Mill Complex to expand production, and it will add an events space and outdoor patio. Flagship beers are always on tap along with special brews like Lyra, a tart ale made with lemons, and Nebula, a sour ale brewed with cinnamon. Monthly yoga sessions include a pint or tasting flight.
1174 Kingstown Rd., Wakefield, 552-0002, whalersbrewing.com