Category Archives: Craft Beer

FarmCoast MA

One of the most beautiful and underrated areas of New England is the area comprised of four coastal towns, Tiverton and Little Compton RI, Westport and Dartmouth MA.   It’s pretty, pastoral and quiet, but chock full of things to do ….if you happen to like food, wine and art.  A real tough sell, right?  Every year I swear I’m going to make it to SouthCoast Open Studios Tour, and this year I finally did.    The local artists open their studios to the public twice a year, and a map is provided to drive between them all.  After spending the day at the beach, I hit four or five of them.   But first, lunch.  A local favorite is The Bayside.  You’ll never catch me sitting inside for a meal in summer, but that often means compromising on the quality of the food.  Not at The Bayside!  I had a salmon burger with avocado and tamari aioli, washed down with a local brew (Grey Lady from Cisco Brewers on Nantucket).   I could have stayed here all day.

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A hub of activity in this area is the historic district of Tiverton Four Corners….lots of cute shops, a couple of options for eating, and lots of art and antiques.   The vibe here – and throughout the SouthCoast region – is understated and casual, but with a certain elegance about it.

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Act like a local – buy a used book at the library’s used book sale:

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Farming is a big deal here, Westport even bills itself as a “Right To Farm Community”.  It’s written right into their bylaws that farms shall be allowed “to function with minimal conflict with abutters and town agencies”.  It’s common to see an unattended table at the end of a driveway, with a pile of corn or other produce, and a container to leave your money.   One of my favorite stops is Westport Rivers Winery, specializing in sparkling wines.  Like many businesses in this region, they’re closed on Sundays so plan accordingly.

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The same family owns Buzzards Bay Brewing right around the corner…..don’t miss it.  If you’re looking for more to see and do in this region (as well as addresses and a map), see my Jauntful guide.

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Hi Neighbor!

That’s the tagline for Rhode Island’s own Narragansett Beer.  While the concept – a shandy made with Del’s Lemonade – and the can (PRETTY!) are both really cool…..true RI street cred in a beer goes to the Coffee Milk Stout from Ravenous Brewing in Woonsocket.  But a picture of this can taken on Block Island is a really cool bit of Rhode Islandia.

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FINALLY!!

I was beginning to think winter would never end.  Not that you’d know it from these pictures but we are well and truly into spring now.  My most recent pics aren’t very springlike because I lost the download cord to my camera, keep forgetting to order a new one, and have had to resort to my phone.  The first two are from Providence.  You know how I feel about this city.  They don’t call it the Paris of New England for nothing.

They actually don’t.  I just made that up.  But look at these scenes of Westminster Street and tell me I’m really that far off the mark.  Lots of small local businesses have sprung up, clothing, housewares, and a pair of little restaurant/bars.   Flan y Ajo and Bodega Malasana are owned by a husband/wife team.  Flan is an honest-to-goodness tapas bar that can accommodate about 14 people (that includes standing at the bar) and Bodega is an equally teeny wine bar, with both house wines and a small but interesting selection of tapas going for $5.  Yup, you read that right.

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An interesting trend is the rise of nano breweries (like a microbrewery but smaller).  I guess they’ve always been around, what’s different now if they actually distribute to local bars and restaurants, and they do weekend tastings like wineries.   In the past month or so I’ve been able to try brews from three different Rhode Island nanobreweries, and visit two of them.  Coffee Milk Stout is a riff on coffee milk (a kid’s beverage made from coffee syrup).  Most Rhode Islanders grow up on this stuff, a gateway drug to Dunkin Donuts coffee in adulthood.  Coffee Milk Stout bubbles up from an industrial park in Woonsocket, courtesy of Ravenous Brewing.  I’ve yet to visit them, I usually get my fill of their product at Ciro’s Tavern, right off Main Street in Woonsocket.   This is an English-style pub w/great food, cool brews, trivia nights, live music….it’s basically the Cheer’s of northern RI.

Bucket Brewery is my new favorite place.  Located in an old mill in Pawtucket, on the Providence line, its name comes from the disparaging nickname for Pawtucket, “the bucket”.  I love when someone takes a supposed negative, owns it and runs with it.  I think we tried six different beers the night we were there?  And – no kidding – each was better than the last.  Here is a snap of me playing barmaid.  Besides the great beers, the guys who own this place couldn’t be nicer….so far this has been one of my favorite nights of 2014 (the entire group concurred).

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I wanted to bring some fresh tap beer to a friend’s one evening, so I swung by Bucket Brewery.   Je suis désolée!  A hand-lettered sign on the door informed me they were closed to attend a beer fest.  I immediately got on my Yelp app as I recalled there was yet another nanobrewery nearby, also open on weekends.   Foolproof Brewing to the rescue!  I fell hard for their Raincloud Porter and got a growler home safely.

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