RI Beer Passport / Trail
The Rhode Island brewing scene is growing faster than ever. This year has seen the development of a beer trail and Passport distilled by the RI Brewers Guild. The Guild will reward those stalwart souls who complete the entire trail with a special, limited-edition beer.
The Brewers Guild had consumers vote on the style of brew for this special prize last fall at the Ocean State Beer Festival. That festival was hosted by Foolproof and the attendees selected a Belgian Strong Ale as the Passport reward. The recipe was designed by collaboration among several brewers in the state and is being bottled at Ravenous in Cumberland.
The Passport idea came about because most RI brewery visitors, especially on the weekend, seem to be coming from out of state, according to Jennifer Brinton, co-owner of the Grey Sail Brewery and spokesperson for the RI Brewers Guild.
“We always get the question: What’s next?”
The Passport map includes breweries and brewpubs alike, making it easier for brewers to show tourists and locals where to look to continue exploring the beverage arts in the Ocean State.
With recent changes in the laws surrounding how much alcohol breweries can sell directly, the stars and politicians are aligning to help transform RI into a destination for the appreciation of small brews. “For the first time, the Rhode Island state pavilion at the Big E is going have a bar,” Brinton said.
In what is turning into a statewide push, the Rhode Island Commerce Corp worked to have beer involved as a state exhibit, Brinton explained. New legislation is setting funding aside to help new and existing breweries grow and expand their brands to help drive tourism in the state.
Greenwich Cove Meadery – greenwichcovemeadery.com
The Greenwich Cove Meadery in Coventry is a family operation that uses New England honey to make a unique and ancient concoction that is like a kind of wine. The meadery employs traditional practices like planting insectaries to attract bees, and using top-bar hives to keep the bees happy and healthy.
The end result is a beautiful golden liquid bursting with sweet flavor that has been known through history as the nectar of the gods. The meadery boasts a range of flavors from different recipes, some on the sweeter side, others that are downright spicy, pleasing a wide variety of palettes.
RI Brew Bus – therhodeislandbrewbus.com
Four Routes of Frothy Goodness
Bill Nangle started giving tours in July 2014, when he realized how fast the RI brewing scene was growing. He modeled his business on successful brewery tour bus companies in other parts of the country.
“It’s more focused on getting people to learn the process, taking tours of the facility,” founder Bill Nangle said.
There are a selection of tours that run Friday through Sunday, but according to Nangle the most popular tours are the ones out of Providence. The Beereakfast of Champions picks its riders up at the Trinity Brewhouse in Downtown Providence. The first stop is Bucket Brewery and then Foolproof brewery in Pawtucket, followed by Ravenous Brewing in Woonsocket and finishing at Trinity Brewhouse.
Some routes include non-beer producers like Greenvale Vineyards and Newport Distilling Co. (out of the Newport Storm brewery, on the “Get the Pell over here” tour). Nangle designs routes to keep trip time to a minimum but the ride between brewhouses includes beer related games and trivia to keep the party going between destinations.
Southern New England Appellation / Wine Trail
The Southern New England Appellation also presents a Coastal Wine Trail, which guides visitors to 14 wineries around New England, including three near Newport. If you spend a few days hitting at least 6 of the wineries on this Passport, you’re entered to win prizes like cruises and romantic B & B stays. You can also take the guide through the three participating wineries in the Newport area, sampling what our local grapes can do!
Newport Vineyards, 909 East Main Rd, (Rte. 138) Middletown – newportvineyards.com
Greenvale Vineyards, 582 Wapping Rd, Portsmouth – greenvale.com
Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard,162 West Main Rd, Little Compton – sakonnetwine.com