Things are certainly brewing in Providence …

The Providence Brewing Company, a welcome addition to the region’s growing line-up of micro-breweries, recently opened at the Farm Fresh RI hub on Sims Avenue in the Valley neighborhood.

The state’s newest micro-brewery isn’t really brand new. The original Providence Brewing Company opened in the 1800’s and closed in 1920 due to Prohibition. The new incarnation opened in 2018 on Mineral Spring Ave. in North Providence. But the brand outgrew that location – owner Efren Hidalgo’s goal was to open a first class tasting room in the capital city. Like everything else these days, Covid got in the way.

“The biggest challenge we faced which was pretty much what any business faced trying to start up or in our case, move, was the supply chain,” noted Hidalgo in an interview. “It was a nightmare getting the materials that our contractors needed in order to do the buildout, not to mention the high price of those materials. On top of that our contractors had difficulty maintaining full-time help.”

Work was delayed but finally completed last month. The location is near the original Providence Brewing Company which first opened in 1814 in Newport and later moved to Providence. “We’re only two blocks away from our namesake,” explained Hidalgo. “I was able to trademark the original name, and all rights to that, that meant a great deal. In some small way, I was bringing a piece of Providence history back not far from where it started.”

I attended the Grand Opening along with photographer Rick Farrell and we agree, PVD Brewing has a great future ahead. We sampled a couple of brews including “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” a slightly bitter sessions IPA and the Tattoo of Blood Sour Ale. Hidalgo described Tattoo’s origins.

“It’s a hibiscus IPA, a sour, we call Tattoo of Blood. It’s about focusing on the artistry, the story that folks experience when having a tattoo on their body, and everything that’s involved with having an augmentation to your body. In many cases you’re putting your life story on your sleeve. It’s about folks who are brave enough to tell us about their pain, their pleasure, and all of the things in between.”

The Brewery currently has several beers on tap, with more to come.

“We’re hoping to be able to do a special release with Red’s Sauce (which is directly next door to the brewery) where we’ll work together to come up with a barrel-aged spicy stout. We’re also hoping to work with New Harvest, the coffee roasters next door on a series of coffee stouts based on their coffees.

As one of two Hispanic-owned breweries in the state, Hidalgo wants patrons to know that the business embraces diversity. His family immigrated from Cuba where his father once worked in a brewery.

“Beer transcends race, religion, sexual orientation, it doesn’t really matter. I’m bringing some of the love for craft beer that my dad had when he worked in a beer company in Cuba. By starting this brewery, it feels like we’re coming full circle, we’re closing a loop here between two generations. We’re an all-inclusive company.”

PVD Brewery joins neighbors ISCO Spirits and Revival Brewery in what is fast becoming a destination for beer lovers.

“We’re really excited to be a part this new destination. Across the street we’ve got Industrious Spirits and next door we’ve got Revival Brewery. We’re turning into this great destination where folks can go from one venue to the next and enjoy different types of fares and different types of drinks,” said Hidalgo. “We’re also working on having live entertainment… there’s an area (in the tasting room) that’s going to be dedicated to live music or comedy.”

Sounds promising! For more on the Providence Brewing Company, visit their website here.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.

Rick Farrell

​Rick Farrell of Mojo Photography has been drawn to music his entire life. Maybe it was growing up in Newport, RI, host to the venerable Newport Jazz and Folk festivals. Or maybe it was the countless hours listening to his older siblings' classic LP's and 45's on the stereo in the 1960's. Whatever the reason, there has always been a strong connection.

He had originally taken up photography as a hobby, eventually gravitating towards shooting professionally in 2007. Never knowing what his true passion or niche was, proved to be very frustrating to say the least. Then in 2009 he shot a concert, and everything seemed to click. He had discovered his passion! Concert photography!

He considers himself fortunate to have photographed shows at some of the premier venues in New England, including Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium. He has literally photographed hundreds of shows, including some of the biggest acts in today’s music industry. He has photographed many esteemed festivals including the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Newport Folk Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, and Farm Aid. His work has been published in numerous outlets locally, regionally, and nationally.

Musically, he loves everything from rock to country, jazz, R&B, pop, and classical. There is no greater feeling for him than capturing a moment on stage for others to enjoy for posterity. Whatever your taste, his goal is to provide "music for your eyes."