Bucket Brewery and O’Crepe – Teaming Up to Put a New Twist on Sunday Brunch

For some time now, Providence (and Rhode Island in general) has gained a reputation as being a foodie and culinary destination. The capital city has its fair share of well recognized dining options, as do plenty of other cities throughout the state. One part of the food scene that has been gaining attention are the local food trucks. You can find them scattered on various side streets, at local festivals and other recurring events, all offering a unique selection of food options to choose from. And what could be better to pair with a delicious bite to eat than a cold local craft beer? While beer might be easily associated with typical pairings like chicken wings, burgers or pizza, it is becoming more common place to find people and restaurants now putting craft brews together with a wider variety of different dishes. This concept of bringing these two things together is what Bucket Brewery had in mind, as they have teamed up with local food truck O’Crepe to now serve up a weekly Sunday brunch at the Pawtucket based brewery.

Bucket Brewery has been producing locally made beers here in RI since November 2012. They have a core lineup that features beers like the Pawtucket Pail Ale, Park Loop Porter, an Irish milk stout called Black Goat of the Woods and a newer addition, Leroy: The Million Dollar IPA. Nate Broomfield is the President of the brewery and he explained to me where the concept came from to offer a Sunday brunch. “When the state passed new laws allowing breweries to sell beer by the glass, I started looking at ways to make the brewery a fun place to hang out. The brunch idea struck when I was at Food Truck Friday and saw O’Crepe. From there it was a lot of brainstorming about how to make something like that work. So many people loved the idea that I decided to go ahead with it.” As Nate went on to say, the idea to team up with O’Crepe for this new event seemed like the perfect fit. “The main consideration was the type of food they serve. Crepes have flexibility to fit both breakfast and lunch perfectly. O’Crepe also has a good reputation. I definitely wanted to pair up with someone who was going to do something high quality. I spoke with Brian and his enthusiasm from the start, as well as his willingness to build something and be creative and flexible, convinced me that he’d be a good partner in this.”

The Brian who Nate mentioned is Brian Sousa, owner of O’Crepe, The Rolling Creperie. For a little insight and background, he told me that, “I’ve always wanted to own a restaurant but I’m actually a pretty risk averse person, so a food truck was the next best thing.” And when his original idea to open a Portuguese cuisine food truck didn’t pan out, he said that “We had to pivot into another cuisine and crepes were something that hadn’t been done yet on a food truck in Providence. My mother has always been whipping up crepes for my family since I could eat solid food so it was something I was comfortable with.” O’Crepe officially opened in August 2014 and for two years now they have been serving up both sweet and savory crepe options to hungry and eager customers. You can find the truck around the streets of Providence, at food truck related events and can even have them cater your own private event. So when it came to partnering up with Bucket Brewery for a Sunday brunch, Brian was fully onboard. “Nate, the owner of Bucket contacted me with the idea. I thought it was great and as soon as we were able to work out the details we got up and running.” As you can probably tell, both Nate and Brian are equally passionate about not only about what they do but about being able to put together a fun, different spin on the Sunday tradition of brunching that a variety of folks will be able to enjoy for months to come.

I was lucky enough to attend the first brunch which took place last Sunday, August 21st and, with a plan in place to make it a weekly event that will carry through into the late fall/winter months, I’m sure it won’t be my last. You may wonder what visitors will have to look forward to on the menu and the great news is that there are a variety of both sweet and savory crepes, along with some non-crepe brunch sides as well. Bucket is serving up their full lineup available on draft, their new Gose Mimosa, or for those opting for something non-alcoholic there is also OJ, milk and coffee to wash it all down. With a very reasonably priced menu on both sides and a café style ordering system, guests won’t miss the traditional brunch lines and crowded waits but will receive the same tableside service they’ve come to expect with food and beverage pairings that rival the best spots in the state. It’s quite true that craft beer and food continue to grow and evolve, especially here in RI, and it is great to see two local favorites team up to create an event that showcases both of these elements. Do yourself a favor and bring your friends, family and, most importantly, your appetite down to Bucket Brewery to enjoy a delicious Sunday brunch. I want to send out a very big thank you to Nate and Brian for both sharing some fantastic information and details about themselves and this great event. On behalf of Prost Providence, I raise my glass and Prost Bucket Brewery and O’Crepe!

 

 

(Be sure to check out both the Bucket Brewery (www.bucketbrewery.com) and the O’Crepe (www.ocreperi.com) websites for more information about these two businesses. You can also find them on Twitter (@BucketBrewery and @Ocreperi), Instagram (@bucketbrewery and @ocreperi) and on Facebook for even more up to date content and updates)

Ravenous Brewing Company – Thirsty Nevermore: Small Batch Brews Crafted in the Heart of Woonsocket

As it has been well documented in previous blog posts, Rhode Island is home to many popular and historic cities and towns. There is the capital city of Providence, the former industrial hotbed that is Pawtucket, as well as touristy seaside destinations like Westerly and Newport. But if you make your way up towards the northeast corner of the state, you will come across another historic (yet slightly less traveled) city of Woonsocket. Officially incorporated in 1888, the city has historic ties dating back to the 17th century when it was inhabited by both the Wampanoag and Narragansett Indian tribes before the land was purchased by Roger Williams in 1661. It served as a popular location for textile mills during the Industrial Revolution due to its proximity to the Blackstone River. Now, in the present day, Woonsocket is home to the corporate headquarters of CVS Health, one of the largest retail/healthcare companies in the United States. With a lofty heritage, locals as well as tourists now also find themselves making trips to this area to visit its very own microbrewery, Ravenous Brewing Company. This fairly young brewery has been producing some small batch, popular brews that have certainly help put their small corner of the state on the map.

Dorian Rave is the founder and head brewer at Ravenous and, as he explained to me, has “always loved things that are craft related, from wood working to wine-making, I’ve always had an interest. A friend of mine had an uncle who made wine and I would enjoy watching the process.” But, as Dorian admitted, he was always more of a beer drinker and so he decided to get a kit to start brewing at home. As time went on and he began getting more and more compliments from friends, the wheels started turning. “When I started looking for a place to brew, I wanted a place that fit and also financially made sense.” Ravenous ended up making a home for itself in Woonsocket and was officially established in October of 2012. While they had found a space, the way they utilize it is constantly evolving. Dorian said, “Every day is a game of Tetris working in our space but we still feel like we have enough room.” Even though it might not be the biggest or most traditional brewery, there is a great local feel and a commitment to providing high quality beers which is evident with each batch being brewed.

When it comes to their beer selection and offerings to visitors, Dorian says, “We go against the trends when brewing. We try not to be too extreme one way or another.” One of the first beers released by Ravenous was their Coffee Milk Stout, which has definitely become a fan favorite and has seemed to develop its own cult following. While locals might not be surprised by the popularity of this beer (considering our official state drink is coffee milk), Dorian actually told me, “We wanted to shy away from having a staple beer, but people love the coffee milk stout.” Don’t think though that this means when it comes to their brews that they are a one trick pony. Blackstone Pale Ale is another popular beer you can find almost year round at the brewery. There is also Bienvenu, a red ale, whose name is a tribute to their hometown of Woonsocket and its deep French roots. Their fall release is usually Black Harvest, which is a unique take on autumn beers because, “we didn’t want to brew to do another pumpkin beer” and so instead they offer a stout brewed with sweet potatoes. There are also special releases to look forward to, such as the Dormum Corvino, their twist on an American Wild Ale. Don’t think that’s all – with some bourbon barrels in house, you never know what limited and specialty brews might be aging as well. This is only a glimpse into the possible options you might find when you visit Ravenous, a place where creativity and quality give guests something to look forward to when they come check out what’s on tap at the brewery.

Being part of the RI craft beer community for close to four years now, Dorian has an honest and positive outlook on how things are going. “We are very tight knit but also competitive. We all push each other and there is no lack of willingness to help, people are all a phone call away. Breweries here in RI are definitely making some great beers.”  Having the support of your peers is something that can make the job rewarding but even more so is the support received from the fans. “The public has done a great job spreading craft beer awareness around here. For us it’s all about sharing an experience here at the brewery. 99% of the people that come in here have craft beer in common with the person next to them.” At the end of the day, the labor of love for brewing translates to great beers that invite people in the door and keep them coming back. “We really want to open a person’s mind to new things, that’s the key.”

Ravenous is also different from most other traditional microbreweries in the sense that both Dorian and Chris Combs (brewer/brewery manager) are only onsite to brew part time, which one day might turn into a full time gig. Even with that being the case, you can feel their sense of positivity and optimism not only in the present but also for the future. “There is always a constant push,” Dorian says. “But we are taking our time. We never want our quality to suffer. Home is always first, making the best beers we can for RI to enjoy. We hope one day to expand partially into Massachusetts and Connecticut. It’s going to be a slow push; we definitely want to grow organically.” He also added, “The possibilities for growth are there, especially with the new laws. They make more sense and definitely helps our business. It brings awareness to RI beers and helps us keep spreading the word.” As it has been mentioned, Ravenous might not look like or operate the same as most typical breweries, but that uniqueness helps make them a destination worth visiting when it comes to local craft beer. There is an obvious appreciation and sense of pride when it comes to the city they call home and they welcome you to come enjoy that with them one tasting or pint at a time. I want to thank Dorian for taking time out of his schedule to sit down with me and sharing his knowledge, insights and passion about brewing and the local community. On behalf of Prost Providence, I raise my glass and Prost Ravenous Brewing!

 

 

 

(Check out the Ravenous website (www.ravenousbrew.com) for details about them, latest news and releases, as well as brewery tasting hours. You can also find them on Twitter (@RavenousBrewCo) and Instagram (@ravenousbrew) for various content and updates)

An Update from the Desk of Prost Providence

Summertime is in full swing here in Rhode Island and it is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather is great which means there are plenty of cookouts, weekends spent at the beach and lots of time being spent with family and friends. I’ve also had the chance to do some recent traveling as well, with 10 days spent in Greece, a mini getaway with friends on Block Island and even enjoyed a nice long 4th of July weekend up in North Conway, New Hampshire. With all of this going on, the blog has been on a little summer hiatus, if you will. But rest assured that I have also been out and about trying new local brews, chatting with the people who craft and enjoy them, all while working on some brand new interviews and posts for readers to enjoy.

For a sneak peek into what has been brewing here at Prost Providence, I’ll be featuring new information and insights from Ravenous Brewing, Long Live Beerworks, and catching up with Newport Storm. Also, to mix things up and stray from the local scene here in RI for a little bit, I’ll be recapping my visit to Santorini Brewing Company (aka Little Donkey).  They are only microbrewery on the Greek Island of Santorini which I was lucky enough to check out while on vacation. Honestly, there is never a dull moment, especially when it comes to craft beer and I’m excited to be working on all this new content.

As a part of this update post I wanted to take a moment to mention that after lots of back and forth and hard work by many people, better beer laws have finally been passed and are in full effect here in RI! For those who haven’t heard, on Tuesday June 28th, Governor Gina Raimondo signed Senate Bill 3053 Substitute A and House Bill 8100 Substitute B into law. In summary, this now allows breweries to sell up to 288 ounces of beer for off premise consumption (a big increase from the previous 72 ounce limit) and 36 ounces to be enjoyed for on premise consumption. This is a huge victory for our microbreweries who are now able to not only provide tastings and tours but also offer the opportunity for visitors to stick around for a pint or two and bring even more great beer home to enjoy.

Wrapping everything up, I’d like to take a minute to stop and thank my family, friends and all the people who have supported Prost Providence along the way so far. The amount of support, encouragement and feedback I’ve received continues to motivate me to get out there, explore our local community even further and gather more information to share. I truly appreciate the brewers and all those working within the local craft beer scene for taking the time to sit down and share with me their knowledge and passion. It’s always fun for me to strike up a conversation at a backyard BBQ or with a stranger at a bar or brewery and be able to talk about the great things going on within the local beer community, all thanks to your continued support. On behalf of myself, the blog, and of course local craft beer here in Rhode Island, I raise my glass and Prost Providence!