Review Date 9/19/2015
Let me tell you, it’s a long drive from Canton, Georgia to Warwick, Rhode Island. I made the trip in two days, really two long days of solid driving. I don’t get back to Rhode Island, the state where I grew up, as much as I should, so when I do, it’s a big deal for me. Of course, people ask me why I don’t fly, but hey, you can’t bring back cases of Narragansett beer and other assorted goodies on a plane.
Anyway, I arrived at my brother’s house late on a Thursday night, just in time to watch the Patriots beat the Steelers to open the 2015 NFL season. We did some shopping the next day and took a ride to Gillette Stadium, but it wasn’t until the next afternoon that I got my first taste of beer at Brutopia Brewery & Kitchen in Cranston. I sampled just about every beer they had, ordering two samplers and two pints while I was there (my brother was driving, that's him in the red Patriots shirt). How refreshing that Brutopia doesn't offer a million shades of IPA only; still I was happy to see they did have a few on the menu. Perhaps the strangest of all (though quite tasty) was Shell Shocked Cask Conditioned Belgian Oyster Saison.
This one was quite reasonable at $5 a pint. I know it has 7 IBUs and I think (though I'm not sure) it's about 5% ABV. The color of the beer, a solid cloudy orange topped with a whipped-cream like head. was unique. I am assuming from the name it might be brewed with oysters, though I didn't taste any such influence.
A few things to note about Brutopia. They tout themselves as Rhode Island’s Best BBQ and Craft Beer Spot! The brewer here, Sean Larkin, used to brew for Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, RI, and I would run into him frequently in the 90s when I wrote for the Yankee Brew News. Sean also runs Revival Brewing Company of Providence, Rhode Island, and draft revival beers are brewed at Brutopia. You’ll also (obviously) find them on draft here at Brutopia.
Shell Shocked Cask Conditioned Belgian Oyster Saison, Whatever that is, is good. A whiff gave me funk and spicy coriander in the nose, a sip revealed smooth malt and slightly tart citrus peel with funky yeast and spice and a pleasant tart finish.
If in fact this beer is not made with oysters, I think it would be a perfect match for them. The spicy tart finish would perfectly complement a plate of fried oysters I think. Would that I had the chance to try that pairing, though if you do, I encourage you to do so.
The food was excellent here as well. No visit to Rhode Island could be complete without biting into a hot steaming clamcake, and an order of them here was chock full of big juicy clams. They weren’t really available before 4PM, but the staff prepared them for me anyway. A barbecue sampler tray was as good as anything I’ve found in the south, with tasty pulled pork, brisket, and ribs.
Rest assured, I’ll be back to visit Brutopia again. If you’re in the area, you’d be crazy not to stop by.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.