One of the newest kids on the (craft brewery) block in RI is definitely one of the coolest. I recently visited Pivotal Brewing Co. in Bristol and found it to be a welcome addition to the region’s craft brewery scene.

The location might be a bit out of the way for some, but the building itself is a model for (sub)urban factory renewal, creating a great environment for beer loving customers. Pivotal sits in the historic Bristol Industrial Park, now known as Unity Park, under the giant smokestack.

The wide open room is filled with light from the massive windows that overlook the former factory floor. The décor is perfect for a young brewery, an eclectic blend of mid-century modern furniture, art-covered walls, and more than enough stage space for local players.

Well-behaved dogs are welcome, as are slices and pies from Brick Pizza, a popular spot adjacent to the brewery. It’s the best place to hang out on the East Bay without a water view!

Let’s get down to business. The beers we sampled were outstanding, with a selection wide enough to suit most tastes.

A selection from Pivotal Brewing Co in Bristol, RI

As usual, I started with an IPA or two … “Authoritatively Incorrect,” a hazy New England IPA featuring a unique peach, white grape, and tangerine blend is a new favorite. Mildly bitter at 6.8 ABV, I brought home a four-pack to savor the flavor even more.

The “Triple Point,” another fruity IPA described as a “full-bodied haze bomb” was just that. The word “triple” is there for a reason, at 10.1 ABV this one certainly packs a punch – be warned. A third IPA, the “End of Session,” with a lower 4.2 ABV, was solid, with hints of melon and citrus, worth sampling at the start or close of your session.

The evening we were there, local guitarist Jimbo Harris of Playing Dead was on stage. He was featuring Dead songs originally sung by Bob Weir … so the “Lost Sailor” brew tasted especially good. The dark IPA is moderately bitter, with hints of chocolate, coming in at 7.0 ABV. Next up, Smokestack Lightning? (You can have that name, Pivotal.)

One brew reminds us of the goings-on in the outside world … you’ll feel good about sampling the “NATO” ( No Authoritarian Tyrannical Oppressors) Belgium Double, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the World Central Kitchen that helps feed families in Ukraine. This sweet caramel brew went down really smooth … its also a little on the high end at 9.0 ABV, so sip ‘em slow.

Other notable samples included the “Factory Porter,” a classic porter blended with beans from the Borealis Coffee Company, and the “Pale Ale,” a straightforward brew for the less adventurous.

We recommend Pivotal for a great brewery experience – I’m looking forward to a return visit soon. More beers are in the works, with Spring and Summer brews being added regularly.

Pivotal Brewery is located at 500 Wood Street in Bristol. Most beers are available on tap and in cans, so be sure to take a few home. For hours and more, click here.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines. Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse,"...