Beer on the move

A new home for Nikki's; and the Rhode Island Beer Bus is revving up
By LOU PAPINEAU  |  April 16, 2014

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Two years ago, Nikki’s Liquors announced that it planned to move to a new location at the former DePasquale Pharmacy across from Julian’s on Broadway in Providence. But they got embroiled in a zoning appeal, which dragged on in the courts (and wasted thousands of dollars). But the story has a happy ending, with the recent news of a move to 32 Branch Ave (next to Benny’s, near North Main St), with 5000 square feet (2.5 times bigger than the current location, with a 50-car parking lot) to fill with craft beer (and wine and spirits). The store will have a 23-door custom beer cooler, a climate-controlled vintage beer room, and a high-end scotch and whiskey room in a walk-in safe. The opening is slated for late May/early June; check their Facebook page for updates and the grand opening date.

 

HIT THE ROAD

Get ready for a cool new way to cruise into the local beer scene: the RHODE ISLAND BREW BUS will start rolling in June. Bill Nangle (a home brewer, natch) and his crew will offer weekend tours to three or four breweries per excursion, including Bucket, Newport Storm, Foolproof, Grey Sail, Proclamation, Ravenous, Tilted Barn, and Whalers (rum and wine tastings will likely be added). Nangle says, “We are focusing on the craft of brewing and how it is made. This will not be a booze cruise — we are all about the education of great local beer! We will be playing games on the bus and giving away Brew Bus swag along the way.” They’re hoping to start ticket sales next month, and the tours will launch in June. Go to therhodeislandbrewbus.com for updates.

 

BEER ’ROUND HERE

The Brewers Association recently issued its list of the top 50 breweries of 2013 (based on sales), and NARRAGANSETT is one of three new companies, ranking 49th. . . GRAY SAIL is welcoming the warm weather with its Hazy Day Belgian Wit, a truly sessionable (4% ABV) and refreshing beer. . . JULIAN’S is hosting a Vintage Beer Dinner this Sunday (the 20th); offerings include a 2005 Schneider Aventinus Weizenbock, a 2009 Dogfish Head Black & Blue, and Firestone Walker 14 (from 2010). Tix are $99, call 401.861.1770 for reservations. . . Yuengling has made a big impact on the Massachusetts beer market, and the imminent arrival in Rhode Island of brews from Spoetzl Brewery will also shake things up at local tap handles. Never heard of Spoetzl? Well, you’ve likely heard of the Texas company’s flagship beer — SHINER BOCK, which enjoys the same semi-legendary status that Yuengling has. The amber lager and other varieties from the oldest independent beer-makers in Texas (and the fourth-largest craft brewery in the US) will arrive in early May. . . And hey, don’t dawdle: tickets are going fast for the 3RD ANNUAL NEWPORT CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL at the Great Friends Meeting House in Newport on April 26. It’s a swell event, with 30-plus breweries (including most of the locals), music, food, and the ocean breeze (and a bigger tent this year, in case of inclemency). Sessions run from 12-3 pm and 4-7 pm; tix are $45; get ’em at newportcraftbeer.com.

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