Though one might not expect too much from the country's tiniest state, there's a wealth of great breweries throughout all of Rhode Island. Ranging from minuscule nanobreweries to a company that once held the title of the largest brewery in New England, Rhode Island offers a plethora of options for both casual and fanatic beer drinkers. Not bad for a state that makes up .0004 percent of the U.S. landmass!
Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co.
Situated in the picturesque town of Newport, this operation specializes in a lot more than just craft beer. While brewing began in 1999, the staff started to experiment with distilling in 2006, recreating spirits using recipes sourced from local historical archives. Today, the facility offers a wide variety of cane distillates, including gin, vodka, moonshine, and a rum distilled using a method standard in 1700s-era Newport. In terms of beer, the brewery offers a diverse spread of products, including the new Watermelon Freez, a tart Berliner Weiss style, and Iron Horse, a seven-month barrel-aged double IPA.
Crooked Current Brewery
First opened in 2014, this Pawtucket-based nano-brewery takes pride in being the “smallest brewery in the smallest state.” Operating out of a tiny facility the size of a living room, the brewery offers guests a choice of several beers from their continually rotating seasonal menu. Brews range from traditional flavors like Irish red ale and imperial stout to more experimental flavors, including an eggnog milk stout and Neopolitan brown ale. Keep a lookout for the caricatures of local state politicians adorning the walls, a playful testament to Rhode Island’s reputation for political corruption.
Nestled in the heart of Providence, Trinity Brewhouse offers a full dining menu along with a diverse range of beers. Locally-sourced water is combined with a wealth of ingredients and brewed in-house, eventually finding its way onto their rotating beer list. The pub typically offers seven beers on tap at a time, with their Long Cast NEIPA and Belgian Wit standing out as current menu highlights. Outdoor enthusiasts may want to check out the new Trinity Beer Garden in nearby Biltmore Park, complete with food trucks, wine, cocktails, and a variety of beers from Trinity and other local brewers.
Proclamation Ale Company
Located in Warwick just outside the Rhode Island Mall, Proclamation houses a wide variety of beers in their 15,000 square foot brewery. The facility includes a barrel-aging wing, a tasting room, many vintage arcade games, and a rotating food truck lineup that ensures no guests go hungry on their property. The massive and varied beer menu is easy to love, thanks to the eye-catching labels, but don't miss the Flummox pilsner, Full Gamma triple IPA, and Down Side Up sour ale.
Grey Sail Brewing
Drawing inspiration from New England’s prominent maritime culture, Grey Sail Brewing has been operating in Westerly since 2010. Housed in a repurposed 1920s-era macaroni factory, the brewery is home to several year-round beers, including Captain’s Daughter, a heavily hopped Double IPA, along with Dave’s Coffee Stout, a brew that incorporates locally roasted coffee. Grey Sail is also the host of “Cheers for Charity,” a monthly fundraising event for local non-profit organizations.
Whalers Brewing Company
Awarded “Best Brewery in Rhode Island” by Rhode Island Monthly in both 2017 and 2018, this South Kingstown brewery has made waves since beginning production in 2011. Operating out of a taproom complete with cornhole, pool tables, and human-sized Jenga sets, Whalers offers a rotating beer list available on tap, in a half-growler, or as part of a flight. Current highlights include the Monchito, a sour ale with piña colada notes, as well as the Wanderer, an IPA featuring bold citrus flavor.
Narragansett Brewing Company
While a large number of Rhode Island’s distilleries are relatively young, Narragansett dates back to the late 19th century, first opening in 1890. The Cranston-based brewery exploded onto the scene, growing to become the largest brewing operation in New England by the 1910s. Surviving both prohibition and World War II, the company enjoyed immense success until large-scale strikes, and financial troubles brought about the demise of the brand. Though the brewery was demolished in 1998, Narragansett rose from the ashes in 2005, re-introducing the beloved beer into Rhode Island. Today, the company offers the classic Narragansett Lager from 1890, alongside other products including a lemonade shandy, a watermelon shandy, and a dry-hopped blonde ale.
Tilted Barn Brewery
In the tiny town of Exeter, Tilted Barn holds the distinction of being Rhode Island’s first “farm brewery.” The idyllic property is home to a century-old barn in which all beer production occurs, while hops and other produce grown on-site are incorporated into their recipes. Products include jack., a pumpkin ale brewed using farm-raised pumpkins, as well as Bramble, an American blonde featuring locally-foraged blackberries as one of its primary ingredients.