by Shannon Heneghan Jutras, Homebrew Con 2019 Local Committee, member of Quiet Corner Homebrew Club
Nearly 200 miles of driving separate Lower Manhattan and Downcity Providence, with something in the range of a billion breweries and restaurants—an official tally—to stop at along the way. For those who prefer not to leave those miles and meals to chance, here are 10 stops worth your attention along that I-95 ride. Just make sure to confirm brewery hours and offerings in advance, and always, always drive sober.
- It’s challenging to pick a single New York brewery to begin this beerventure, but if we had to, we’d start at Grimm Artisanal Ales. This sunny, modern taproom maintains its neighborhood vibe even as it grows in popularity, with sours and IPAs worthy of the long-stemmed glasses they’re served in. Lay down a solid carb base with a pulled-lamb quesadilla or chocolate-tahini brownie from Samesa Snack Bar and you’ll be all fueled up.
- Next up is Bronx Brewery, another New York haunt with a down-to-earth taproom offering experimental brews like Backyard Freestyle, a Rye IPA with peaches, alongside classics like the aptly named Hard-Earned Pils.
- For those seeking something a little sweeter, newly opened Decadent Ales in Mamaroneck, NY, offers an eclectic range of beers, including dessert-inspired offerings like their Lavender Cream Macaron DIPA. Resident food truck HAPA also offers a variety of Asian- and Pacific Island–influenced street food.
- Chugging along through Connecticut, it’s almost impossible to miss Two Roads Brewing Company. This impressive mill’s billboards emerge like an oasis above the blacktop, suggesting it’s time to pull off for beer. (Spoiler alert: Those signs are always right.) Get your caffeine fix with an Espressway Cold Brew Coffee Stout and map out your game plan for tackling the upcoming New Haven taco trucks at Long Wharf.
- For those seeking some old-fashioned New England charm, Fox Farm Brewery is a short detour off I-95. It serves authentic farmhouse-style ales, lagers, and lush IPAS, all in a gorgeous pine barn.
- Outer Light Brewing Company is a Connecticut institution that offers a well-balanced selection of offerings in a laidback, industrial taproom. The seasonal Ninja Trail Green Tea Pale Ale is a particularly successful blend of tea and beer.
- Beer’d Brewing Company’s original taproom is housed in the eccentric, craftsman-driven Velvet Mill in Stonington, CT. Grab a 4-pack or growler of juicy IPAs like Dogs & Boats, pick up a wood-fired pizza from Woodfellas next door, and head out for a few more miles to sit seaside with your bounty on the shores of Mystic, CT.
- Only a few miles up the road from Beer’d is Grey Sail Brewing Company. Though we’ll all be able to get a taste of Grey Sail beer at Homebrew Con when we get to taste this year’s commemorative beer, Wicked Smooth Milkshake IPA, which is a collaboration between Grey Sail and Heavy Seas, we can’t resist stopping into Grey Sail’s taproom to celebrate our first beer in Rhode Island. An imperial pint of their Hazy Day Belgian Wit or the Pink Guava is a perfect pairing for a summer day in New England.
- Tilted Barn Brewery lives up to the promise of its name. This hop-farm-turned-beer-haven pours a constantly rotating array of hop-forward and farm-inspired ales. Enjoy your pours in a century-old barn that’s been in the family for generations and is—you guessed it—tilting.
- Based in Warwick, Proclamation Ale Company is only a few miles from T.F. Green Airport, making it a popular destination for road trippers and frequent fliers alike. Enjoy some innovative offerings from their barrel-aging program while you test your skills on retro arcade games.
- When you stop at Buttonwoods Brewery in Cranston, you’ll be mere miles from the heart of Providence and all the Homebrew Con activities that await. But we posit that this brewery is worth one last stop. Not only do the owner and his faithful brew dog impress customers with thoughtful, industrial-style saisons, but this industrial mill is also the monthly meeting place for dozens of homebrewers in the RI Brewing Society (RIBS). As you can imagine, the space is chock full of good vibes.
Hop back on the highway and you’ll be in Providence in minutes. Once settled, will you crash the party at Long Live Beerworks, lounge in Providence landmark Trinity Brew House, venture out to Beer on Earth’s new downtown location, or save your palate for homebrew? The choice is yours. We just hope you’re still thirsty.