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Inside a small middle space at an inconspicuous West Fountain Street mall just across Route 95 from Providence proper, intimate LONG LIVE BEERWORKS thrilled its local neighbors, who came out in droves to celebrate its grand opening, January 2016. ‘Hardcore New Haven-bred hop enthusiast’ Armando De Dona utilizes a backroom seven barrel system to craft his highly respected original recipes. Unlike downtown breweries Union Station and Trinity, Long Live Beerworks is a traditional production microbrewery – meaning it only serves beer, not food.

Settling in on a cold Saturday evening February ’17, my wife and I grab seats at the L-shaped 8-seat serving table. On the right side, a large mural-like Long Live Beerworks canvas counters the black-walled bar area. In the springtime, a small exterior patio provides more room.

On tap during my 1-hour stopover were two magnificent coffee-flavored dark ales and one juicy IPA. Though we’re crunched for space, the tiny facility has no problem keeping the customers satisfied.

Lemony yellow grapefruit zest fronted Citra-Centennial-hopped Wesside IPA, a crisply clean medium body anchored by mildly creamed crystal malts and dank pine resin.

Next, Harry May Oatmeal Porter (with Dave’s French Roast Coffee) reigned luxurious coffee bean essence over sweet toasted oats, gaining cappuccino, café latte and cocoa undertones at its sweepingly majestic finish.

Just as enjoyable, Coarse Grind Stout (with Dave’s Coffee Espresso Blend) brought medium-roast coffee tones to the fore, as dry espresso, cacao nibs, dark chocolate and macchiato notions reinforced its java goodness.




I Totally Lost Control at Julian's in Providence, RI | Dirtybeerguy.     


In the Federal Hill section just west of downtown Providence lies cozy cafe-styled neighborhood bar, JULIAN’S RESTAURANT, one of the most amazingly eclectic cocktail and food joints any hipster collegiate or beer geek could imagine. Its fabulous all-around vibe starts with its trendy New York-styled art gallery intimacy, creative menu offerings and ever-changing Belgo-American-dominated tapped-bottled selections. Perfect for a hearty brunch (Eggs Benedict and enormous French Toast are recommended) as well as dinner, dessert and homemade ice cream, Julian’s gets packed quickly.


Inside a historic red brick building on Broadway (listed in the National Register), its right side red-lettered EAT sign, glass-windowed frontage, maroon awning and 10-cent pony ride greet lucky patrons through the black door. In springtime, a few tables get set up for outside dining.


Established in 1994, Julian’s was an early morning breakfast hotspot before its passionate management decided to also become a respected craft beer bar around 2007. Julian’s Double Decker Omnibus (pictured above) is an entirely mobile restaurant used for special events and a traveling smoker makes catering easy for backyard barbecues.


Upon entering, Julian’s tight space features several dining tables and an open kitchen behind the 10-stool bar. Much of the colorful decor, such as the big Reagan’s Opium banner and Impressionist art, get credited to Nate Nadeau, a local artist friend. The admirable world cuisine retains a casual country comfort perfect for family-style dining.

On the Monday after St. Patty’s Day ’13, I stop by and grab a seat next to the tap stand for an eye-opener at 11 AM. Available to curious connoisseurs this day are several great Belgian brews, two of which have their own separate mounts (Huyghe’s Delirium Tremens and Van Steenberge’s Gulden Draak) and a few more equally impressive libations (Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux, Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Red, Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic and Dilewyns Vicaris Winter Ale).

Several local Northeast favorites such as Sixpoint 3Bean Stout, Berkshire Coffeehouse Porter and Grey Sail Leaning Chimney Porter sit alongside Britain’s JW Lees Harvest Ale 2011 and Michigan’s Founders All Day IPA. A cooler full of hard-to-find brews is stationed at the front of the bar.

I settle for a delightful newfangled Pawtucket-based dark ale, Bucket Brewery’s Thirteenth Original Maple Stout (with its dark chocolate and black coffee overtones given maple-sugared sinew and dried cocoa powdering). But alas, I’m curious to hit Warwick’s Track 84 (closed on St. Patty’s Day) before making the trip back to Jersey ahead of nightfall.

Within two weeks, I’m back at Julian’s for April Fool’s Day. And they’ve pulled off a great prank. As I walk in, all the tap heads have Bud, Coors and Miller handles. I’m shocked until the waitress tells me it’s a joke. I settle in with a delicious fruit-hopped Goose Island Imperial IPA, salmon poached egg and Monster French Toast (shared with my wife). The brunch time college crowd fills the place up by 11 AM and most of the local students settle into Bloody Marys instead of beers.

During October ’13, took wife and youngest kids to this increasingly popular Providence pub for tasty front-porch 9 AM breakfast. I settle for the excellent Du Buccaneer Omelet (smoked salmon, red onion and capers) while the family splits Jedi Mind Trick Omelet (baby spinach, mushroom, red onions, Swiss cheese) and powder-sugared pancakes.

A small breeze hangs in the autumn air as I quaff a few tremendous and contrasting one-off brews. Exquisite collaborative affair, 10 Barrel/Bluejacket/Stone Suede Imperial Porter, drapes honeyed chocolate malts atop calendula-flowered jasmine and syrupy maple. Wonderful red zinfandel-aged Hofstetten Zymatore Granitebock layered its red-wined sweetness with buttery Chardonnay and cherry-soured oaken vanilla.

Beer enthusiasts should look forward to Julian’s exquisite Beer Pairing Dinners in warmer months.



Right off Route 95 and a rite of passage for any New England traveler, TRINITY BREWHOUSE is the pride of prestigious long-time brewer, Sean Larkin. Packed on Monday night (October ’05) during my first visit and drawing a vivacious college crowd, the wood-paneled restaurant-pub, located blocks from Union Station Brewery, opened to a wide narrow bar with encased brew tanks in backdrop. A nice beer can collection and a few brightly painted canvasses (some boasting beer awards) were scattered across ground level and green-walled cellar area featuring billiards, darts, a secondary dining area, and backside bar.

Inexpensive sandwiches, burgers, and pizza, plus worthier paella, Shepherd’s Pie, and New York Strip Steak, fit alongside easygoing brews such as dry-bodied Saaz-hopped popcorn-like straw-dried grapefruit-slacked Patriot’s Pilsner, sullen toffee-based Papi’s Mild Ale and middling phenol-hopped German-lagered Octoberfest.

Better were expressive dark fruit-embittered pine-needled spruce-sapped Rhode Island Pale Ale, soft quince-peach-pear-kiwi-clipped molasses-sapped Tommy’s Red and thin Kahlua-tinged coffee-dried black cherry-dabbed People’s Porter.

My wife and I settled at central bar around noon during wintry February 2011 trip up from Jersey home front. The Cure and sundry indie rock luminaries played in the background as I dove into six previously untried libations.

Starting with the lightest offering, maize-dried Kolsch layered soured fig, orange rot, bruised lemon, pink grapefruit and pineapple pleasantries into soft earthen wood tones trailed by pumpernickel-breaded alfalfa, horsehair, barnyard and hay parch. Hells Bock placed candied apple, sugared fig, cocoa nibs, pecan, and vanilla inside mocha-dried Vienna malting. Earthen compost waft and dry marble rye entry confirm rigorously English-styled Extra Special Bitter, a leathery fungi- tinged vegetal-coarsened iodine-addled changeup with only the mildest citron splash.

These were nice warm-ups for the following three expressive brews.

Resinous wood-dried spice hops contacted floral-draped orange-apricot tartness and alcohol-burnt grapefruit rind bittering for exquisite Rhode Island IPA (supposedly the first IPA available in the state since Ballantine’s).

Representing the dark side well were two ‘treated’ stouts, one soaked in oak and the other raised in the cask. Oaken vanilla, bourbon, and burgundy lead the way for eloquently noir Oak Aged Russian Imperial Stout, a superb after dinner treat with cedar-chipped hop char raiding black chocolate, espresso, cappuccino, and gingerbread subsidy to toasted oats backbone. Soft-toned Cask Conditioned Irish Stout flattened mild brewed coffee entry into ashen walnut-shelled black chocolate, black cherry, black grape, and unrefined cocoa conflux.

After settling daughter, Nicki, into Roger Williams University, headed north fifteen miles to Providence once more, August 2011. On a Friday prior to Providence College and Brown University opening for fall semester, got to try two complex Imperial dark ales, one fruited strong ale, and a Czech pils at Trinity (just prior to Hurricane Irene).

Bold Baltic-styled Imperial Porter retained a peat-y black lager/ schwarzbier likeness reinforced by hop-smoked grain roasting, creamed coffee curdling, chocolate rye malting, and sticky anise bittering. Better still, Barrel Aged Belgian Imperial Stout worked initiatory bourbon-burgundy-port wining into chewy vanilla, brown chocolate, cocoa and blackstrap molasses creaming as black cherry-pureed anise, Kahlua, and currant illusions fill the gaps.

Dry alcohol-burnt bourbon soaked tart strawberry motif of Barrel Aged Belgian Strawberry Tripel, picking up softly hop-fizzed mango, kiwi and passion fruit tropicalia over sinewy sugared malting and fungi-like yeast funk.

Pungent Czech-styled Providence Pils maintained a woody Saaz-hopped earthiness magnifying leathery straw wheat, barnyard, maize and hay musk.

Got to sojourn once more to Trinity ’round noon on a Friday in mid-December ’12, tasting another four previously untried libations, including two efficient Belgian knockoffs, one Russian full body and a casked strong ale.
Tart orange-bruised Belgian Saison brought musky red cherry, banana puree and soured prune as well as dewy minerality to a rampant ethanol burn.
Better still, sour fig-juiced Belgian Quad layered prune-dried plum, date and Muscat grape dried fruiting above coarse spice-hopped sharpness, leaving bruised banana, buttered pecan and butternut squash illusions in its creamy toffee malted path.
Cask conditioned Redrum softened its musky perfume-hopped red and orange fruiting with wheat-sugared crystal malting.
For mid-afternoon dessert, mild Russian Imperial Stout provided black coffee bittering, dark chocolate creaming and sweet molasses sapping for the dark-roasted oats cushion.
On January ’13 lunchtime day trip, I finally got to try heralded Larkin’s Irish Stout (previously consumed offsite at Malted Barley under Revival Brewery banner). Its cascading Guinness-like head, soft eggshell creaming and freshwater crisping serenaded the bittersweet black chocolate signature as well as brisk black coffee, vanilla and dark nut illusions.
Alongside Greek Pizza (a five-cheesed herb-oiled delight), enjoyed Milk Stout,  a bitterer-than-expected coffee bean-roasted medium body gaining milky dark chocolate persistence over acrid oats-charred vanilla extract and peat-smoked hops.
During September ’13 dinnertime stopover, watched Michigan play Notre Dame in college football while imbibing two previously untried beers alongside Zuppa di Brew black-shelled mussels (with chorizo sausage, roasted garlic, onions and pilsner) at windowed right corner table.
Dryer-than-expected Hefeweizen brought lemon-seeded orange rot and compost-wafted spelt graining to scaled back banana-clove-bubblegum tartness, temptingly recalling soured Berliner weiss style by green apple-skewed citric-hopped finish.
For dessert, lovely mocha-embittered White Electric Coffee Stout sufficed. Its barley-roasted hop char seeped into stove-burnt coffee, espresso, cocoa powder, vanilla bean  and charcoal illusions. Two years hence, this dark ale was brewed by Larkin under his Revival banner.
Since long-time brewer Sean Larkin took up residency at nearby Cranston’s Brutopia, Tommy Taish has taken over chores as of 2014. During Labor Day ’14 excursion, my wife and I tried three of the burly red-headed brewmeister’s brand new elixirs prior to Trinity’s 20th Anniversary.
First up, dry summertime moderation, Captain America Pale Ale, brought wood-dried citra hop bittering to zesty lemon spicing, brisk grapefruit-seeded orange juiciness and floral perfumed wafts, leaving grassy residue at the mineral grained bottom.
Next, easygoing Lynn’s Porter hid hop-charred earthen soil beneath Baker’s chocolate, powdered cocoa and maple molasses conflux.
Better still, cask-conditioned barrel-aged Red Rum soaked its perfumed galaxy-hopped citrus niceties with Woodford Reserve Kentucky bourbon, allowing oaken vanilla and cherry subtleties to underscore its soothing caramel buttering.
During September ’15, got in Saturday at noon to try ambitious Belgian Strawberry, a well-balanced 11.5% ABV strong pale ale cramming sweet-tart strawberry jam into candi-sugared Belgian yeast, orange marmalade, lemon basil, white-peppered hops and just a hint of chocolate mint. Its heavy alcohol concentration is so well-hidden several imbibers reportedly got dazed and confused without warning.
On a warm Sunday evening in September ’16, discovered silken eclair-headed Coffee Milk Stout. Subtle espresso-vanilla bean flourish picks up fluffy milk-sugared coffee creaminess as fudgy black chocolate, chalky cocoa and walnut nuances drape the earthen peat backdrop.
During May ’17 trip for son Christopher’s graduation from Johnson & Wales at nearby Dunkin’ Donut Center, tried mild Belgian Wit, an easygoing citric-perfumed delight with delicate orange-peeled coriander spicing contrasting lemon-rotted lemongrass bittering.
Better still, Screaming Viking Wheat Beer splendidly utilized gregarious ginger and cardamom spicing to sweeten its wildflower honey astringency and wafting cologne perfumed hop base.



Union Station Brewery in Providence, Rhode Island - Best Breweries


Initially visited harbor-bound state capitol October ’05, finding contrasting upscale brewpub and blue collar watering hole within walking distance. Opened in ’93, below-street level pub, UNION STATION BREWERY, situated in the foreground of ritzy Marriott Hotel, was converted from an old train station cellar.

A subsidy of John Harvard’s Brewhouse, its large courtyard deck fronts the side door entrance. The homey brick walled interior features prominent bar with glass-encased copper kettle brew tanks, green leather-seated wood chairs, a mid-size left side dining area, and exposed ceiling pipes. Burgers, pizza, filet mignon, hickory-smoked ribs, and crabmeat-stuffed Atlantic cod were fab menu choices.

Lighter beers on ’05 stopover included mainstream Family Guy-inspired namesake Pawtucket Patriot Pilsner (a lemony wheat-straw-backed phenol fizzy) as well as grapefruit-embittered dank-grained wheat-dried Golden Spike Pale Ale.

Soft-tongued piney-hopped dark-fruited Ripple IPA, dry sour-fruited wheat-husked Oktoberfest, and musky hickory-smoked coffee-softened black cherry-tinged cask conditioned Espresso Stout were firmer choices. Sipped the latter with Pumpkin Tiramisu dessert.

While driving through Rhode Island’s capital June ’11, spent a few hours at Union Station watching Boston Bruins defeat Vancouver Canucks in Game 6 of Stanley Cup championship. Venturing from mildest light hued fare to heavier dark-bodied fare, I enjoying six wide-ranging, previously untried libations with wife.

A pair of Belgian-styled ales got perused first. Light-bodied, orange-peeled, coriander-spiced Belgian Wit retained a hard-candied sweetness while medium-bodied, fig-spiced, prune-stewed Abbey Ale received a latent orange-spiced courvoisier kick that also befit caramel-drudged, lemon-rotted, fungi-dried Dunkelweizen.

Bittersweet blueberry-perfumed Brew Berry Ale lost up-front blueberry-seeded essence to soapy lemon Seltzer fizzing. A woody Pine Sol lacquering and wafting cologne musk fluttered through buttery citric respite to alcohol-burnt finish of sharp hop-headed bitter, J.K.’s Simcoe IPA. Soft-textured Jay’s Breakfast Stout blended Vermont maple syrup into oily hop-charred coffee bean bittering, oats-toasted black chocolate serenade, and acrid charcoal singe.

Stayed at Marriott Hotel October ’11, sampling several untried libations and one improved year-round staple. Brewmaster Aaron Croffit, a spirited homebrewer originally from Grass Lake, Michigan, has been at Union Station for nine years, continuously improving his recipes. Standard fare such as dry, perfume-hopped, grapefruit-peeled Golden Spike American Pale Ale boasted a brisker lemon-soaped apricot-apple-pear fruiting that’s nearly as bitter as bolder, juniper-pined, spruce-tipped Simcoe IPA (with its tangy grapefruit-peeled peach-apricot swerve).

Providence Pale Ale brought an earthen-grained ESB-like musk to pale-malted toffee and woody Chinook hops. Just a tad richer, River Otter Red draped dried-fruited fig sugaring atop fungi yeast must. Unassuming Blueberry Ale lost its ripe blueberry tartness and wheat-crackered backdrop to metallic hop astringency and soapy oiliness.

On cask, College Hill Porter provided an oily coffee bittering to charcoal-smoked pipe tobacco, walnut, peat and cocoa bean nuances, contrasting wavered cherry-bruised blackberry tartness.

Seasonal dessert treat, Pumpkin Spice, maintained a pilsner-malted, brown-sugared pumpkin pie spicing, pleating cinnamon-nutmeg-allspice-clove niceties with vegetal gourd astringency and light lemon rind wisps.

My wife and I stayed at the 4-star Rennaissance Providence Hotel so we’d be within walking distance of Union Station to have dinner and a few previously untried brews, December ’12. We split the moist Fungus Burger (with bleu-cheesed shiitake and portobello mushrooms) and fabulous goat-cheesed Arugala Pizza while consuming two pleasant dark ales, one Belgian ale and a light pilsner.
Though nebulous Northern Light merely sufficed with its maize-dried citric mist and phenolic grassy-hopped celery backend, lightly fruit-spiced Belgian Abbey benefited from bruised banana, peach and tangerine ripeness.
Easygoing Lights Out Stout brought mildly creamed dark chocolate and vanilla overtones to dry bourbon-burgundy wining and molasses-sapped oats roasting. Not dissimilar to Lights Out, Vanilla Bean Porter increased the vanilla bean influence over subtle black chocolate roast, astringent hop bittering and bourbon-soaked toffee malts.
Dropped by for dinner, November ’16, consuming newest version of smoothly maple-syruped, milk-sugared, coffee-chocolate-laden Breakfast Stout and musky yellow-fruited Golden Spike Pale Ale. Previously untried Large Marge IPA boasted about its “big, bold, bitter” profile, but even the hefty 8.5% ABV couldn’t disguise the easy feel of Belgian candi-sugared spruce-fruited sweetness contrasting piney citric hops. Pleasant peach, pineapple, orange and tangerine tang outdoes grapefruit-peeled bittering and fresh-cut grass astringency, gaining splendid sugar-spiced relief.
Revisited Providence on the way to Boston, September ’17, to quaff five more previously untried Union Station brews.
Mild Pale Ale with Lemondrops featured zesty Lemondrop hops that gained a grassy edge, herbal snip and grapefruit lick. Light lactic acidity grazed You’re Going To Louvre This Grisette, a sessionable saison-like dry body with yellow grapefruit tartness and candied mandarin orange sweetness picking up herbal lemongrass snips and dry barnyard acridity.
On the dark side, feisty Ryeway To Hell IPA spread toasty rye malts across spicy orange-peeled grapefruit rind, pineapple and lemon tanginess as well as dry wood tones. Hazelnut-spiced brown ale, Ecru, retained a deep hop roast and mild caramel malting. Dry Shout Shout Let It All Out left Bakers chocolate and smoked molasses upon its bitter nutty center.
True beer connoisseurs should check out varied selection at Barrington, Rhode Island’s Grapes & Grains, where I purchased fine local brews by Foolproof, Just Beer, Maine Beer Co., Buzzards Bay and Narragansett on St. Patrick’s Day ’13. Also, Chris Gasbarro’s Fine Wine & Spirits has craft beer locations in nearby Seekonk, Swansea and North Attleborough, Massachusetts. Those going southbound into nearby Bristol, Rhode Island, ought to try 1776 Liquors.