Friday, January 27, 2012

Brewery Tour Stop #13: Trinity Brewhouse

If you’re in Rhode Island, and you’re looking to taste some locally-made beer, I hope you’re standing in Providence or Middletown. Because those are the only towns in “Little Rhody” making beer. If you want a brewpub, it’s better if you’re in Providence, where you have a choice of two.

Technically, Rhode Island makes beer in one more location – Block Island. But let’s not kid ourselves. Being physically detached from Rhode Island and void of mainland character, Block Island is ultimately its own world.

Back in Providence, you have a choice between the Trinity Brewhouse and Union Station Brewery. If you’re looking for a bit of Rhode Island soul, it makes sense to try Trinity first. Since 1994, Trinity Brewhouse has been an integral part of downtown Providence. Located next to the nationally renowned Trinity Repertory Company, its clientele is a mix of is theatre-goers, sports fans, art students, journalists, and local…uhm…“characters”.

During a recent visit DBNE made to Trinity Brewhouse, I realized how much older it looks than its mere eighteen years of age. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was standing inside an old catcher’s mitt, or a repurposed WII-era soup house. It’s got character, no doubt. If nuanced interior design is what you require to enjoy beer, move on. Otherwise, step inside and keep your hands to yourself.

On this night, DBNE consisted of myself, my wife, sister, and brother-in law. Though the place was packed with people pre-gaming before moving on to the Providence College basketball game at the Civic Center next door, we got a table quickly.

First beer up – a pint of Larkin Stout on nitro. Given the bitter snowy weather outside, this roasty session-stout satisfied.  Notes of Baker’s chocolate, oats, and charcoal were noticeable. It’s a bit thin, but I didn’t see that as a downfall.

I then ordered a sampler of 6 different beers. First was the Kolsch. Given the inherent traits of the Kolsch style, it’s hard to be blown away by one. And it’s just as hard to pick up its aromas while you’re surrounded with food. It goes without saying it was hard to pick up any aroma in Trinity’s version, except for some soft malt. The flavor continued with light grains, very faint floral hops, and finished short. Its color is a proper, pale gold and this is an easy-to-drink brew at 4.2% ABV.

Another easy-drinker at 3.5% was the Belgian Saison. An aroma of bread and banana gave way to a nice yeasty spice flavor with a little lemon. A pleasant enough brew, but no matter how hard I swirled the glass, I generated no head. Thumbs down for appearance.

The IPA is Trinity’s flagship, and it’s the one brew that’s bottled and sold in select stores throughout New England. It’s a worthy east-coast IPA. It’s unfiltered and very hazy. I mainly smelled tea leaves on its aroma. The flavor sees the tea leaves carry through, along with notes of citrus notes in the form of orange and lemon. The brew is smooth but didn’t hold its head very well. It’s not as if it’s flat, so the mediocre body and appearance is not a deterrent to the beer’s enjoyment. Overall this is an enjoyable brew, and if Providence is too far for you, the Trinity IPA is worth finding in stores.

Tommy’s Red was next. This was my least favorite. Why? I tasted plastic. Fail. Some earthy grains on the aroma were inviting, and the carbonation level was good, but the flavor was almost synthetic and I just couldn’t recover.

The “Wolf’s Breath” Winter Warmer is Trinity’s agreeable take on a Barleywine. I enjoyed this. The aroma was fruity and its 9.00% ABV was noticeable. Ruby-red in color, the flavor here followed the fruity nose and served notes of apple, plum, raisin, and even lemon-tinged hops. It’s fairly sweet with above average weight in body. It sported a whisp of head, but no lace.

I finished up with Trinity’s Scotch ale which was a hit. Looking like a dense brown ale, the Scotch ale brought Autumn to mind. A fruity nose with fall-like spices were noticeable. The flavor consisted of dark fruits, cinnamon, and even a tease of rum.

A note on food: We mainly ordered burgers, which were fine, though not great. The fries are shoestring style. The low note was my sister’s lettuce on her veggie burger. It was visibly dirty, unwashed, and quite gross looking. Overall, the food seems serviceable, but not great.

In the end, I don’t feel that Trinity excels at anything in particular. But it has personality and is worth a visit if you’re into divey ambience. Soon we will report from Union Station (owned by John Harvard’s), just down the street from Trinity, and compare these two Providence brewpubs side by side.

If you do find yourself at Trinity, I personally recommend the IPA, Larkin stout, and Scotch ale. Just watch out for the lettuce.

Trinity Brewhouse
186 Fountain Street
ProvidenceRhode Island, 02903
United States

phone: (401) 453-2337

No comments:

Post a Comment