Long Live Beerworks Celebrates One Year

They are turning one and are celebrating with food, fun and, of course, beer.

Craft breweries in Rhode Island seem to proliferate like Italian restaurants, and one of the newer kids on the block, Long Live Beerworks, is celebrating its one year of existence with a beer-soaked shindig this Saturday.

To get the scoop on LLB's first year, we caught up with brewer Armando DeDona to see what went down this year and what his hopes are for the future. 

What made you want to start LLB?
A long, long time ago I really wanted to own my own business and I had a passion for brewing beer at home. I was a huge beer enthusiast. I really hated my job at the time. My wife told me to list three things that you love and see if you could turn it into a career. Number one was beer, number two was pizza and number three was a question mark. 

So beer was the choice then?
Yep, it was beer. We tried pizza, we were gonna try to open up a pizza place on the West Side, but then was saw a sign for “Pizza J’s, coming soon” so we said ah shit. So we went with the beer instead. 

Are you happy you did that instead?
Oh yes. I do love pizza though. 

So you were self-taught with all this?
I started home brewing a long time ago, but then when I started to make brewing my career, I went to the Brew Lab in the UK, it’s a brewing school at the University of Sutherland. We called it 'beer camp.'

What was it like getting into the craft beer scene here in RI?
Everybody has been very friendly, I already knew around three or four brewery owners and everybody has been very nice and helpful. I still bug Dave from Proclamation a lot. I’ll send him silly texts. Before Proclamation opened up, they had a party for industry people — I don’t know why we got invited — so I brought my own growler to the party and I was probably their first growler fill — they weren’t even open yet. 

How would you sum up your first year?
It was a whirlwind. A huge learning experience, not like how we planned it, way different. You really just can’t plan, there are new challenges all the time. 

Any specific challenges come to mind?
There are so many, I don’t even know where to begin! 

Were there any really rewarding things?
Really the people, the people that come in here. We’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve made some really solid friends from opening this place. The people we meet are the reward, really. 

Has the neighborhood response been good?
Yes, I mean, we know just about every local business and bar owner. Sometimes, once a week, you can find a lot of the business and restaurant and bar owners, all go for an earlier cocktail at the Avery. There was one time when there was eight of us in there. 

Favorite beer you’ve produced?
I have to say that my new favorite is my Course Grind, it’s a coffee stout. An espresso stout we call it. We use Dave’s Coffee.

Are you excited about the Anniversary Party?
Yeah! And nervous. But we’re trying to bring out some special things, we’ll have Great Northern BBQ, PVDonuts, glasses for sale, and some special brews. 

Tell me more about the Hurry Sundown (which will be featured at the party):
It’s our Russian Imperial stout; it’s been barrel aging for four months. We'll have sixteen-ounce bottles of that and one keg on draft. It’s high alcohol so we’re not gonna do full pours. It’s probably my favorite style to be honest, maybe because I’m almost forty! It’s rich in flavor…complex, more complex than, well I mean an IPA is just bursting with flavor, you don’t really taste many nuances in it as much as in stouts. They vary too, some of my favorites are just like drinking syrup. 

What are you most looking forwards to this year?
I’m trying to work out a new location, trying to get that off the ground. But that might take more than a year. Yeah looking forwards to growing; we love this space but it was too small six months ago. 

Will you stay in Providence?
Yeah, we’re trying to stay in the neighborhood. 

If you could define your brewery in a word, what would it be?
Hah, one word. Geez, that’s tough. I like to use silly and stupid descriptors but do I do that? Because that will stick. Let’s just say ‘cozy,’ because there’s absolutely no room in here whatsoever! (laughs). 

Try LLB's brews, talk to Armando, and munch on all sorts of local goodies on Sat., Jan. 14. from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. More info here

Long Live Beerworks, 425 W. Fountain St., #104, Providence, longlivebeerworks.com

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