Got Beer? Buttonwoods Brewery Is Ready for 2017

There’s nothing like watching a brewery being born — the fresh smell of yeasty fermentation, the open space with endless possibilities and the constant running around after foamy spillage. I love every carbonated second, and the more breweries that open in Rhode Island, the better! With the abundance of mill spaces for rent in RI and the recent change in beer laws, conditions in our state have never been more favorable for craft beer. So, naturally, when I heard there was a brewery opening up within walking distance of my childhood home in Cranston, I was stunned. Not only did I never expect such a thing to happen (at least until Brutopia/Revival came to town), I certainly didn’t expect it to happen twice and within spitting distance of the halcyon days of my youth.

The Buttonwoods Brewery isn’t fully realized yet. Like so many ambitious homebrewers, Morgan Clark Snyder Jr. is still in the process of building, pilot brewing and fine-tuning his ambitious plans to turn an old mill space into a destination brewery.

From a background working with Union Beer Distributors in New York, a cousin branch of our local Craft Beer Guild, Morgan also has experience brewing at Bronx Brewing before he left to start his own humble brewery here in little Rhody. He set up shop in the Buttonwoods area of Cranston (hence the name) and is diligently working toward an optimistic March debut.

I managed to catch up with Snyder in his future brewing space. Over a test batch of IPA and the occasional yapping of his excited dog Ollie, we chatted about his future plans.

“I wanna have a Kolsh,” says Morgan. “I want to have a Kolsh on tap. Especially after a long day, I want something super simple, something flavorful, something that I can just knock back and not worry about.

“I want to have super, crazy-big IPAs, double IPAs and dry-hopped pale ales, which are sometimes called Session IPAs.”

Snyder has a particular fascinations with yeast strains, which he intends to play with in order to produce his unique line of beers.

“I want to work with an English strain, but I’m not set on which one. I’m between one of three. Right now I’m experimenting with three of them and I’ll pick which flavor profile I like the best. Then I want to experiment with Saisons. The best one, I find, is essentially the Saison Dupont strain. I like the flavor profile it produces. You get a little bit of clove and hints of pepper, lemon and coriander. And I love brettanomyces. I think it’s the coolest thing ever, so I want to do barrel aging with it, and I want to do 100% primary fermentation with it.

“I want a Kolsh because I love sours. I loved mixed fermentation. I want the Kolsh strain mostly so I can brew Berliner Weisses, goses and stuff like that. And then use that in sour beers. Inoculate it initially with a Kolsh yeast, because you want a generally clean ferment, which a Kolsh yeast can do, then put it in the barrels and let it go nuts.”

Snyder isn’t afraid to experiment, either. With only his scaled-up homebrew equipment, he’s already experimenting with a Berliner Weisse made with mango, pistachio and cacao nibs based on a Greek yogurt he had once, one that was most likely inspired by a culinary fever dream.

“I would have never thought of it,” says Snyder, “But it was a tasty concoction, so I thought, ‘Why not try to make a beer out of it?’ It could go terribly wrong, it could go wonderful, and that’s half the fun.”

Yeast experimentation may be the final frontier in craft beer. As it is, there are hop varieties as far as the eye can see, and between different forms of malted barley and adjuncts, the possibilities stretch beyond the stars. Different strains of yeast can elicit entirely new forms of flavor within beer itself, and while it’s not uncommon for brewers to experiment, only a handful of breweries are being especially adventurous in this realm. I look forward to seeing what Snyder comes up with when the doors officially open in 2017.

Leave a Reply

Prove that you are human *

Previous post:

Next post: