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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Grey Sail Brewing - Rhode Island

I swear I do more than visit breweries and drink beer.  The problem is, if you can even call this a "problem" is that there are so many awesome breweries popping up all over New England.  Some (like this one) are virtually in my backyard.  Add in the fact that it's winter in New England and outdoor activities are a little limited and all the brewery tours suddenly make sense.  Summer is for playing in the woods.  Winter is for drinking beer in breweries. 

This week, the blog is taking you over to one of my newly found and favorite local breweries.  Grey Sail Brewing calls the town of Westerly, Rhode Island home.  Yes, I live in Connecticut but the little Pawcatuck River is what separates the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island, Pawcatuck (CT) and Westerly (RI).  Over state lines but still virtually in my back yard.  Now let's talk beer!

Grey Sail is a common name among beer lovers. Often when I hear someone talk about Grey Sail its in reference to the Double IPA, Captain's Daughter (it sells out quick on most restaurants and liquor stores, but you can always find it right at the brewery!). With Double IPA's exploding across the country, Grey Sail got their name in the ranks with this highly rated and adored beer. If double IPAs aren't your thing, don't worry, Grey Sail has a great variety of tasty beers on tap. When I visited the tap room, there was Flagship Cream Ale (a favorite of mine), Flying Jenny Extra Pale Ale (also delicious), Autumn Winds Fest (again.. delicious!), Pour Judgement IPA, Great Ketch India Pale Lager, Captain's Daughter, and Beet Cancer (a fun "pink" beer enhanced with beets where a certain amount of proceeds went towards cancer research- a limited edition beer).

When you get to Grey Sail, you will notice there are two buildings.  In the main brick building you will find the brewery itself and a small bar and counter where you can buy bottles and cans and fill up your growler.  You will find some awesome art and get a behind the scenes glance at their brewing operation.  Dogs are allowed inside the brewery as well as the outdoor area of the tap room (not INSIDE the tap room) .  The magic - a.k.a the making of the beer and the bulk of the beer purchases happens in this building.  The other building is where the fun happens. 

The newest addition to Grey Sail is the Tap Room, the large yellow building next door that kind of looks like a frat house.  Really, it is a 1,600 sq. ft. 1934 Italianate Colonial home that was opened to the public in May of 2016.  Picture historical, well kept, lots of room full of charm and really unique...a grand idea for a tap room if you ask me.  There are amazing murals on the walls and the furniture matches the older but well kept house.  Read more about the Tap Room and the renovation HERE.

It is here that you find various tables and chairs but most importantly, snacks and a bar where you can get pints and flights ($10 for four 5oz. samples).  

There are several rooms in the Tap Room from cozy seating to dining areas.  Being a converted house, you get the feeling of being in a cozy little beer mansion.  You can hang out in the main area or find a room to enjoy your beer with friends.  When you walk up to the bar, you have a log of options. Grey Sail offers their beer on tap for purchase by the pint, and also offers several "guest taps" from other breweries.  Coming with a group?  Grey Sail is sure to have something for everyone from their sixteen beers on tap. 

If you come on a nice day, you can head outside to their awesome outdoor space. The outdoor space is dog-friendly, has bocce courts and other lawn games, a walking path around, picnic tables and best of all a pizza "truck" on the weekends (a small cart like oven that lives at Grey Sail and has been called the best pizza in the area). Pizza, beer and bocce, what more could you ask for?

The expansion of the Tap Room is just one part of Grey Sails quickly growing business and fan base. An article in The Day features Grey Sail and highlights their plans to expand. "The owners (the Brintons) currently have plans to double the size of the current brewery and cannery operation by building an addition with a masonry exterior that will provide storage and packing space. The addition will allow Grey Sail to reach the maximum capacity for a microbrewer of producing 15,000 barrels of beer annually, but Brinton said the company would never expand further".

We stopped at the brewery for our growler fill (and new growler because I loved their logo) and grabbed a few sets of cans.  We chatted with the bartender, bought some swag and then walked on over to the Tap Room where we sat outside, chatted with the pizza guy and enjoyed a pint on winter weekend (with our pooch).  I loved the variety of beer Grey Sail offered from their famous Double IPA to their other fun flavors like a Beet Beer and smoked porters.  I really loved their logo and thought all of their can designs were perfection (and oh so Rhode Island).  The Tap Room is an awesome new space and I cannot wait to come back with my dog to drink a beer and play some bocce in the sunshine, all while eating pizza of course.  If Grey Sail isn't on your list, it certainly should be now.  You can even make a beer tour day out of it by visiting neighboring Cottrell Breweing Co. also in Westerly and Beer'd Brewing just over the state line in Stonington, Connecticut. Thanks Gray Sail, you have forever earned your spot on our eclectic Beer shelf here in Stonington.  

Growler Station Hours: Wed – Fri 3-8 PM. Saturday 12-8 PM. Sunday 12-5 PM.

Tap Room Hours (next to the brewery): Wed – Fri 3-8 PM. Sat 12-8 PM. Sunday 12-5 PM.

Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island
63 Canal Street, Westerly, RI

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