Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Support your local brew pub!

So, I was out this past weekend doing my old-man version of a pub crawl. That would be three different bars and then back home to go to bed before midnight. I could talk about the first couple of bars I went to (and the amazing Struise Tsjeeses I had at one) but the one I want to talk about today is the last one, Trinity Brewhouse.

I have been going to Trinity off and on for about ten years now. I used to go just about every week. I was a member of the "Mug Club" they had there. Eventually I tired of the place as I felt that the beer wasn't anything special and I just lost interest in it.

Well, fast forward about five years and I have made a nice transition into full fledged beer dork-dom. I still would stop by Trinity once in a while and felt the beer was OK, but nothing special. I could get much better beers out at the beer bars around. But, then came this past weekend.

Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. Sean Larkin, the brew master at Trinity, has taken some risks on beers recently and the quality of the brews has jumped WAY up. I am still not so sure about the draught system at the pub. I have heard complaints of carbonation issues. I also always tend to get hangovers there more than other places, maybe something with the system. But, it was never that big of a deal to me all in all. The beer was always what I sort of shrugged about. It was always "eh, whatever". Sean changed that. Where before I would only see the flagship IPA, a red, a pale ale, a lager, and an imperial stout (definitely the best), I now get a whole host of fantastic beers.

I now walk into the pub and see a barrel-aged scotch ale, a barley wine, a dunkel weisse, a kolsch, an imperial red, and maybe even a cascadian dark ale? The beers are bigger, better, and so much more well made. So, yes, the beers are a huge improvement over old standbys they used to have. Hell, even the food has gotten better there.

This past weekend, when I went in, I had the barrel-aged Scotch Ale.... on cask! And oh my, was it ever fantastic. The beer was strong as a good scotch ale should be. The barrel-aging wasn't overly done. It was in Woodford barrels but the bourbon just added a nice subtlety and the beer did the talking. And having it on cask just made it that much better. This is a beer perfectly made for cask.

My wife had the Cascadian Dark Ale that they had there. Yes, here in Rhode Island, we had someone brewing a CDA, and it was really good. Not my favorite style, but a great job with it for sure. We followed that by splitting a pint (mind you, all of these are full pints!) of the Barley wine. Caramely and sweet, it was a great beer. Maybe a pint is too much, but you certainly get your money's worth with it. My bill came to $17 for the three full pints. All beers were not low in alcohol either, so you would expect to pay more. I know their normal lower alcohol pints usually run in the $4 range. So, either way, you get a good deal in my opinion, especially here in New England.

So, yes the beer was excellent. The bartenders are actually good again too! But, while there, I realized what, even more than the beer, that I liked so much about the place. This place is Providence. It is where I live. It welcomes everyone in and keeps them all happy. It is a neighborhood type pub in the middle of a nice sized city. What more could you want?

I am glad to have rediscovered my love for my local brew pub. Do the same with your local brew pubs too. Keep them going, and they will pay you back in more ways than just beer.


  1. glad you could re-experience the enjoyment of a local brewpub...when you are looking for brewpubs throughout the U.S. and Canada, check out www.pubquest.com...cheers!

  2. I know what you mean by going into a place and getting bored. Sometimes it is the "grass is greener" syndrome. It is great that the brewer is starting to put some wheels on his skates.

    We have a local brewpub opening up, and the house beers will be an IPA, red ale, porter and wheat. First thing I thought was "boring", but I realize they have to have these beers. I am just hoping that they know their stuff and make these beers a bit better than many of the other brewpubs I have been to that underwhelmed me.

  3. Hopefully your brewpub there will play with a couple of styles in addition to the normal ones. They do need those styles but it is nice for the beer lovers out there to get the really interesting stuff we are looking for.