South County might not have a bustling craft beer scene like Boston or New York, but that doesn't mean you have to leave the area to find a unique brew. That's because a few towns in the region have small breweries, providing some venues for beer-lovers to check out.
Each of these breweries provides a great place to stop for a quick beer or pick up a few drinks to have at home later on.
Here's some information on South County's rapidly expanding craft beer scene.
Grey Sail Brewing
Grey Sail Brewing is located on Canal Street in Westerly in a building from the 1920s that was once the Westerly Macaroni Factory. In 2010, Alan and Jennifer Brinton bought the factory and turned it into a brewery, which opened in late 2011.
Today, the brewery offers eight year-round beers, including Flagship Cream Ale, Flying Jenny Extra Pale Ale, Dave's Coffee Stout, and Captain's Daughter Double IPA, in addition to some seasonal flavors. You can head to the brewery to try some of these products, or grab some cans to go. The beers are also available in numerous stores throughout New England.
Shaidzon Beer Company
The Shaidzon Beer Company sits in an industrial area in West Kingston, just south of the train station and not far from the University of Rhode Island. While the brewery uses recipes from all over the world, most of the ingredients are locally-sourced, allowing you to get a little taste of Rhode Island in your drink.
You never know what you'll find at the Shaidzon Beer Company because the taps are always rotating, and they like to experiment, although the Bock, Buffalo Czech Pilsner, and Will Henry's Wee Heavy Scotch Ale are staples. Beer is available in cans if you want to take some home with you.
Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Company
So, you want something a little different? Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Company has you covered because not only do they make their own beer, but they create whiskey from this beer. In fact, Sons of Liberty is New England's most awarded distillery, so it's easy to forget about the brews they create.
The diversity of this business in downtown Peace Dale means you can head to the brewery to try some beers, have a flight of whiskey, or take both home with you. Whiskey varieties include American single malt and bourbon, and they also create seasonal flavored spirits and gin. For beer, you never know what you'll find, so stop by often to see the selection.
Tilted Barn Brewery
The Tilted Barn Brewery is the first farm brewery in Rhode Island. This distinction means that the brewery grows its own ingredients on-site, so you can see exactly what's in your beer.
Because the Tilted Barn is located on a farm, it's a little out of the way to reach. In fact, you'll have to drive close to half a mile up a dirt road from South County Trail in Exeter to get there, but it's well worth the effort once you taste their offerings.
Some of the more popular beers available at the Tilted Barn include Cactus Double IPA, Milo's Phoenix IPA, and Jack Pumpkin Ale. To try the beer, you can do an on-site tasting in the barn or take some cans home with you.
Whalers Brewing Company
Perhaps South County's best-known brewhouse, Whalers is also one of the country's 50 fastest growing breweries. Whalers Brewing Company products are available in stores all over Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and we could see it expand even further in the future.
This Wakefield brewery is known for its two flagships, Rise and East Coast IPA, although it releases Blockstar Wheat Ale once a year. Whalers also has limited-edition releases every season, so you never know what you'll find in stock.
In addition to beer, Whalers Brewing Company encourages you to have something to eat while you visit. They don't have a kitchen, but they'll let you bring your own food or even order from a nearby restaurant while you enjoy the beers in their taproom. Whalers is a good time and definitely worth a visit for beer lovers.
The South County Craft Beer Scene
We are seeing craft beer become more popular all over the country as consumers are becoming more likely to try new things. South County is no different, as the expanding market has opened up the door for local entrepreneurs to open small brewery throughout the region.
As the craft beer industry grows even further, keep your eyes open for new breweries popping up all over Rhode Island's coastline and beyond.