Over the past several years, craft breweries have been bubbling up all over Rhode Island, with more than 30 across the state. Eight of those are here in the capital city, offering beer lovers a wide range of flavor profiles and experiences, from IPAs in eclectic taprooms to hearty stouts pouring at pubs. We checked in with several owners to find out what’s brewing this season.
There’s something for everyone at Beer on Earth. “We try to brew a wide variety of styles and flavors to appeal to every type of beer drinker out there,” explains owner Adam Henderson. Regulars enjoy the Orange Belt IPA, the West Fountain St. pilsner, and I Am a Raspberry Donut, a Berliner weisse. “We have fine-tuned these three over the years, and we now consider them to be flagships that we brew year-round,” says Henderson.
Beer On Earth started as a small venture founded by award-winning homebrewers that co-existed inside a bakery in North Kingstown. The business expanded and moved to Providence with head brewer Cody Anderson taking over brewing operations, and now they’re canning beers for distribution throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, too. Local artist and tattooist Paul Endres Jr. designs can labels and logos and created the mural in the tap room, a funky, art-centric space perfect for the West End’s laid-back community of beer drinkers.
Henderson tells us, “we plan on bringing back bottles of our fan-favorite Marzanna Reborn. This beer is a Baltic porter that we age in a bourbon barrel for a couple of months, and then bottle into 750-milliliter Champagne bottles where it is able to naturally carbonate.”
Growing out of 425 West Fountain Street, Long Live Beerworks’ story begins where Beer on Earth currently resides. Long Live moved to their current Sprague Street digs in 2019, which allowed them to expand their brewing capacity. A spacious taproom features two levels in a historic mill building on the border of the West End and South Side, steps away from KNEAD Donuts and High Dive Bar with a second Boston location in the works. “We specialize in New England-style IPAs, fruited sours and pastry stouts, but also enjoy brewing inventive takes on traditional styles,” says co-founder Jessica deBry.
The brewery is expanding hours during the holiday season as well as hosting food pop-ups and gatherings. Watch for a big anniversary bash in January with a full week of events and new releases.
Long Live features an extensive IPA menu under head brewer Armando DeDona with the hazy Heart of a Champion, the bold Skull Medallion, and the double IPA Good, Good Things leading the way. “We certainly will be leaning in on stout season, and will release specialty bottles as we get closer to the holidays – perfect for sharing with family and friends,” shares deBry.
There’s a warm neighborhood vibe at Moniker Brewery, another West Fountain Street hot spot on the West End. Owner and co-founder Bryan Benedict shares, “The building popped up on our radar and we fell in love with it pretty quick. It gave us the opportunity to build something that isn't quite out there, at least in the city. It's got tons of outdoor space and an open-air feel to it.
“The name Moniker comes from the idea that if we did this right – good beer, good experience, good service – it doesn't really matter what we're called,” Benedict continues. “If we nail those three things, we can be successful. We want to keep it simple and go back to what we all love about the industry, which is hanging out with friends and drinking some good beers.”
Located in the vibrant West End alongside other growing businesses, Moniker partners with a handful of them, including Dip Dips, a mobile catering business (look for a new beer called Sip Sips coming soon to celebrate the collab). The dog- and family-friendly spot celebrates their second anniversary in January – look for weekly specials throughout 2023.
Lagers reign supreme at Moniker, with the Pickerel – a nod to the recently opened noodle bar down the street in the form of a crisp, light Japanese rice lager – and the American corn-based Lager Drink leading the way. Designed to the Nines, a pale ale made in collaboration with DESIGN WEEK RI, is another favorite. Benedict promises special releases for the holiday season, including stouts and IPAs.
A household name in Rhode Island, Narragansett Beer’s Providence brewery celebrated their one-year anniversary this past spring in their state-of-the-art tasting room across the street from India Point Park. The venue hosts music and community events regularly and has become a trendy destination for locals and visitors alike.
Spokeswoman Kayla O’Regan tells us that the region’s largest brewery was “founded in 1890 by six German immigrants on a quest to create an authentic German beer in the United States.” Known for their long-standing history that includes Red Sox sponsorships, JAWS features, and more, the brand almost died in the 1990s, until owner Mark Hellendrung revived Narragansett with a team of investors in 2005.
Best known for their traditional lager, you can find a number of selections in the brewery with local accents, including the Del's Shandy and Fresh Catch Citra Session Ale. Narragansett’s flagship beer, Musik Express IPA, is “a flavorful, citrusy IPA with inspiration drawn from the famous Rocky Point ride,” says O’Regan. Seasonal beers and limited releases such as the Gourd Reaper Pumpkin and the Bohemian Pilsner are among fall faves.
O’Regan notes that the company’s holiday ale is on the way as colder weather approaches. “It has lovely notes of sweet orange and coriander spice to make up the ultimate winter beer,” she says. “This brew is often served with a cinnamon sugar rim to play up and pair with the spices in the beer.” Another cold weather classic is the traditional 1822 Porter, a historical porter brewed using a recipe from the 1800s.
Another new kid on the block with historic roots, today’s PVD Brewing is a nod to the original Providence Brewing Company, which opened in the 1800s but closed in 1920 due to Prohibition. Owner Efren Hidalgo opened PVD Brewing’s new tasting room at Farm Fresh RI in 2021. Hidalgo, who likes to experiment with different styles, is focused on the product. Last summer the brewery introduced frozen sour beers, and Hidalgo has a new line in the works, a series of fruit sours.
“The New England-style double IPA called Pound Town has helped to take us to a different level,” says Hidalgo, explaining with zeal some of the techniques they use to set their brews apart. “We have another really cool beer, a lager that we use biotransformation with, so we're using specific types of yeast to help us get more of that juicy flavor out of the grains, the yeast, and the hops. It’s called Irresistible Delicious. It’s a super hazy New England-style India Pale Lager.”
“We’re going to be kicking off a new series of pastry stouts we created called Dump Cakes, an imperial stout based on some of the classic ‘70s and ‘80s style of cakes that were more crumbles than cakes,” says Hidalgo. “We’ll be using a lot of fruits, marshmallow cream as the sweetener, vanilla to help even it out, some sea salt, some oat milk, and milk sugar. It tastes like you’re having a cherry tart or blueberry pie.” This irresistible brew comes in blueberry, blackberry, cherry, and strawberry-rhubarb.
Formerly headquartered in Cranston, Revival Brewing is a recent transplant to Providence. Led by head brewmaster and co-founder Sean Larkin, Revival now shares an eclectic, upbeat space in the Valley neighborhood with Lost Valley Pizza, where skater vibes are strong and DJ music by Lowkey sets the tone on select nights. Larkin is a respected and experienced local brewer, having previously won over a dozen awards at the Great International Beer Festival.
The brewery is known for a wide selection, from their first batch of Double Black IPA brewed in 2011 to newer releases like the Merry Beary Strawberry Peach Sour Ale. Revival has also been recognized for collaborations with local organizations and businesses, like the winter-ready White Electric Coffee Stout, which includes specially roasted coffee from New Harvest roasters mixed with malts from around the world. There’s also a line honoring local 94 HJY FM radio personalities including Paul and Al's Pale Ale, Doug & Scarpetti Vanilla Porter, and Jenn's Mocha Stout.
Revival’s best-selling beers can be found at bars, restaurants, and liquor stores around the state. The trendy You Thirsty? is a pleasantly juicy IPA while the Night Swim’ah is a popular Belgian wheat ale flavored with orange peel, coriander, and raspberries. Sours like the Wild Beary Sour Ale, the Pinky Swear Berliner Weisse, and their Hail Beary Blueberry Sour Ale are always in demand.
Established in 1994, Trinity Brewhouse was one of the first brewpub-style restaurants in New England. Across the street from Trinity Rep and around the corner from the Amica Mutual Pavilion, Trinity is a popular hangout for sports fans, concert lovers, and theater-goers – along with regulars who come for the Mug Club perks and stay for wing night specials. Unlike smaller craft breweries with limited hours, Trinity is a full-scale restaurant, open from noon to 1am most days, and 2am on weekends.
The brewhouse features a full menu of pub fare and a rotating selection of ales, porters, and stouts, all brewed on site. Trinity has won numerous awards for their beer going back to 1997, including Gold Medals for their traditional Kolsch, Red Devil, and Belgian Strawberry brews.
The award-winning Kolsch, a crisp refreshing German ale is a crowd pleaser, along with Tommy’s Red, a hoppy, malty brew. The RI IPA, a bright copper beer first brewed in 1994 before the IPA craze, is an old English-style ale with a malty flavor, fruity aroma, and a dry bitter finish. For rich seasonal flavors, watch for the return of Maple Brown Ale and the beloved Milk Stout.
Rhode Island’s original brew pub was founded in 1993 in the former Union Station train depot in the heart of downtown. Union Station was originally privately owned and then sold several times before 2019, when a group of local restaurateurs and bar proprietors purchased the brew pub, transitioning it from a corporate business to a neighborhood institution. Union Station serves a full menu and brews their beer on premises, drawing a following of dedicated regulars and casual sippers stopping by for a pint before WaterFire or a show. They also host local bands and national touring acts regularly.
“New England IPAs are a style you will see frequently in the taproom,” says David Bertolini, a partner at Union Station. “Our flagship beer, Cranston Thug Life, is a New England IPA, and our popular Nautical by Nature is a New England Pale Ale – both are always available on draft, in cans to go, and pouring at various RI music venues, bars, and restaurants. Other styles you will find regularly are German and Czech-style lagers, as well as inventive fruited sour beers, which rotate regularly, and are all brewed on site by our brewer, Dave Kenney.”
“We just released a new, limited seasonal pumpkin spiced ale, appropriately named Nightmare on Thayer Street,” shares Bertolini. “Looking forward to the winter, we will have a Doppelbock available at the brewery – a strong, rich, malty lager perfect for the winter and well-paired with the comfort food we offer.”
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