I’ve been to Providence, Rhode Island so many times, but I never made a full-day commitment to exploring the craft beer scene in this lovely town. After approximately seven straight summertime visits to Providence, I finally decided to spend time digging for craft beer. Accompanied by my wife and awesome driver/great friend Keith, we jetted over to Dexter Field (Armory Park) to check out Providence Kickball: “The Greatest Show on Dirt.” The story of a Providence craft beer adventure should rightly start here, in case you were beginning to wonder. Sean Larkin, the Brewmaster behind Revival Brewery of Providence, is head of the kickball league. I got in touch with him to chat about the Providence craft beer scene and Revival. Sean let me know he had an all-day obligation, but invited me to come down and check out kickball. I was left bewildered and utterly intrigued. I had a feeling there would be something special happening at Dexter Field.
We arrived and were quickly pointed towards Sean’s direction. He greeted us with cans of Narrangansett Beer (the league’s official sponsor) and broke down the history of Providence Kickball. The kickball league has been in full swing for the past ten years, with games taking place every Saturday during the warmer months of the year. In order to join the league, your team needs to have some sort of schtick. The zombie team was playing in full “walker” attire. For good measure, zombies on the sideline were even spraying members of the opposing team with (fake) blood. I could only imagine what some of the other teams wear and use as props. Some of the other team names include Jedi Mind Kicks, Bath Salt Heroes, Cereal Killers, and Derek Zoolander Zoo.
In between innings, you’ll find kickball players sipping on some local brews, as opposed to Gatorade. Sean promised me the games would be “a great example of Providence drinking sub-culture” and he was absolutely right. When Sean is not presiding over this colorful sports league, he is busy brewing some really fantastic beer. Revival is two years old and has a steady rotation of five beers, with other releases on deck. Sean earned his brewing stripes working for Trinity brewpub and Narrangansett Brewing Company, earning 12 awards at the Great International Beer Festival. I was able to try Revival’s delicious Double Black IPA at a local craft beer bar, but more on that later. We said goodbye to Sean and made our way to Pawtucket to catch the tail end of Foolproof Brewing Company’s final tour of the day.
We had one of the best drivers in the business, but we still missed the final tour at Foolproof. Nevertheless, the tasting room was still open, so we slid right in to catch a few glimpses of the brewery. We met Nick Garrison, president/founder of Foolproof, and briefly chatted with him and his wife. After trying a few samples and snapping photos of the sparkling brewery (it is so brand-spanking new), we said goodbye to the Foolproof crew, including Lucy, the brewery’s guard-dog.
Next stop… What Cheer Tavern This is a pretty simple formula: Great bar food…awesome selection of craft beer, mostly local…laid back, unpretentious vibe. The Mooredola, where I always stay during my summer excursions to Providence, is within walking distance, so we ditched the car and walked down the block. This place is dangerously good. If What Cheer was located down the block from our apartment, I’d probably have my mail sent over there. Kudos to Sean Larkin. The Double Black IPA was pretty darn good. I wish I could have tried more Revival beers. There’s always next summer.