Got Beer? Drink Local this Summer

It took some time, but Rhode Island is finally becoming the craft beer destination it always should have been. From the multitudinous beer bars scattered all over the Ocean State to the upswell in new breweries opening faster and more frequently than Starbucks, it’s a great time and place to be a beer nerd.

In addition to our local lineup of breweries, like Grey Sail and Newport Storm; the Pawtucket crew: Bucket, Foolproof and Crooked Current; and then Ravenous up in Woonsocket, there’s our destination brewpubs ready to pair good grub with some select suds. But I know what you’re thinking: Where do I start?

Well, if you want to avoid using the Yelp app, and I strongly suggest that you do, then I can help out. To begin with, you can barely throw a rock in Providence or Newport without hitting two great bars that pour good beer. Two bars with one stone? Surely not!

It’s true. And don’t call me Shirley.

Even in the less densely packed areas of our humble state, you can usually find some small taverns and ale houses with surprisingly good selections of beer. There are literally too many to mention, but you’ll know them when you see them. They’ll be the ones with signs for premium craft beer brands like Lagunitas, Dogfish Head, Heavy Seas or some of our local heroes like Ravenous or Whalers.

But suppose you want to visit one of our many local breweries. How can you possibly visit them all? Well, obviously, not quickly or all at once, and preferably with a designated driver. That’s the genius behind the Rhode Island Brew Bus. If you’re not familiar with them, check them out. It’s a good way to visit a bunch of local breweries very quickly and still be safe and responsible. They run their tours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in different regions. They also offer private bookings if you have a large group with you, and you definitely get your money’s worth. They even hop over the border to visit nearby Cottrell and Beer’d over in Connecticut.

If a brewpub is more your speed, you are in luck. Starting in Providence, there’s good old Union Station Brewery as well as Trinity Brewhouse, both fine restaurants and breweries, joined recently by the new kid on the block, Long Live Beerworks. Each restaurant has its own unique style, menu and brewing philosophy, so you’ll have plenty of reason to check out all three. Moving farther out, there’s Brutopia in Cranston if barbecue is more your speed. Their beer is made by Revival Brewing, and the restaurant is well worth a visit, as well as a tour if you’ve got the time. Since you’re hopefully on vacation, I would assume you have the time. If you don’t, make the time. You won’t regret it.

If you’re in East Bay, Coddington Brewing is right up the road from Newport Storm and also offers some finely crafted fermented fare as well as a good meal. Just make sure you take your time between the two places. Newport Storm also distills rum, and I implore you to drink responsibly while enjoying your fun in the sun.

Lastly, if you’re out on Block Island, you’ll find the Mohegan Café and Brewery as an oasis on a desert island. Well, it’s not a desert island, it’s a bit too temperate for that, but it’s still a very nice spot and worth checking out if you’ve hopped the ferry and find yourself slightly parched by all the fun you’re having.

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