Little Rhode Island offers a big selection of breweries

Most local beer enthusiasts know about Narragansett, and many are familiar with Newport Storm, but the brewery boom that’s swept the nation has washed over the Ocean State, with Rhode Island gaining five new breweries in the last few years.

Three of the new breweries are set up in the city, with Revival Brewing located in Providence (brewing at Trinity Brewhouse and Cottrell Brewing in CT) and both Foolproof and Bucket setting up shop in Pawtucket. Joining them is Woonsocket’s excellent Ravenous Brewing and Westerly’s Grey Sail Brewing.

Soon to join them is Proclamation Ale Company in West Kingston.

I’ve been lucky enough to taste offerings from all but Bucket, and I’ve been impressed with most everything I’ve had.

South Coast drinkers are most likely to find Foolproof or Grey Sail locally. I’ve written about Foolproof before, and have really enjoyed their offerings. Their three main beers are distributed in cans and on-tap and are all excellent. Barstool is a top-notch golden ale that’s a great introduction to craft brewing. Backyahd is a delicious IPA, and Raincloud is one of my go-to porters and has some heft at 6.5% ABV.

Grey Sail is also readily available at well-stocked liquor stores and drinking establishments. Their Flying Jenny is a decent pale ale that’s sufficiently bitter for the average beer geek. They offer a drinkable if understated cream ale called Flagship Ale. I would definitely grab a Foolproof Barstool before I choose one of these, but it’s a fine offering.

Revival Brewing’s bead brewer is also the head brewer at Trinity Brewhouse. Their typically higher-ABV brews start at 5.5% ABV and go up from there. I’ve been particularly impressed with their Double Black IPA, a delicious brew that’s not for the faint-of-heart. Their beers are available on tap all-over Rhode Island, so you’ll have to cross the border to get your hands on some.

Ravenous is even harder to find, as they’re a small brewery. I managed to try quite a few of their beers (including several that aren’t available regularly) at the Great International Beer Fest in Providence. They have two standard offerings – a well-balanced Blackstone Pale Ale and a truly delicious Coffee Milk Stout. If you find it on tap, make sure you try the stout.

Until recently, Bucket Brewing has been making their beer in a 1-barrel system (tiny by brewing standards). Their new 10-barrel brewery allows them to produce significantly more beer, so look for them to break out of the confines of Rhode Island and be available locally.

Of course, we can’t forget about the two longer-standing breweries: Newport Storm and Narragansett. Newport Storm has been brewing for more than a decade. Their recent IPA addition, India Point Ale, may be the best standard brew they’ve put out, and their Cyclone Series has produced some fine ales.

Everyone knows Narragansett’s easy-drinking lager, but they also make a fine set of other brews. Try their surprising Porter, which may have the best alcohol-to-cost-to-flavor ratio out there at 7% ABV and typical ‘Gansett prices. They also just released an Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout that’s supposed to be quite good.

Originally published on January 16, 2014

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Posted January 16, 2014 by natescape in category Columns

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