A friend of over 30 years sent me a text that he was going to be in Providence and that I should pick a place halfway between us for dinner.  These Guys Brewery fit the bill.  While I would classify the experience as a great Pub experience, the beer is brewed on-site, so absolutely a brewery and worthy of a beer reviewers time.

Right in the center of downtown Norwich (the iconic Norwich City Hall is a block away), walking in the feel of the place screams ‘Pub’ and I expect good fried pub food and fresh beer.  I sat at the table my friend had grabbed before I got there, suitable a pub height wood table for two. He had already ordered himself (and finished) a cocktail called Empress and the Thyme.  Empress Gin is a pretty blue and turns purple with the introduction of acid.  This cocktail has lemonade in it, which is enough. I was thoroughly impressed with their seasonal cocktail menu.

The food menu has a selection of burgers, Fish and Chips (just what I want in a place like this), but also some rather unexpected selections.  Pork Fried Rice, Baked Stuffed Shrimp and Chicken Farfalle is a welcomed divergence from my expected Pub menu.  My friend had Grilled Salmon and I the Fish and Chips.  The food was excellent.  Let’s get into the beer.

They offer a beer flight for twelve dollars that includes four, five ounce pours of anything on their tab (with an extra charge for a selection with a high alcohol content). I chose their Blackberry Shandy, the Kaiser Willy Imperial Stout, Little Barbarian, and Time-Out Corner.

Blackberry Shandy – This is a Shandy Radler, so a light ale mixed with fruit juice.  I had to ask if this was sour, because too often when brewers use fruit in their beer, they miss controlling the bacteria, it comes out sour, and then they just go with it.  This was not the case and was how a Radler should be: sweet.  Not overly sweet, as the dry and slightly bitter beer counteracts that.  I would order this again.

Kaiser Willy Imperial Stout – An Imperial Stout clocking in at nine percent alcohol by volume, this is a serious beer.  I love stouts paired with Fish and Chips, so I saved this one to drink with my meal.  It’s big, dark, and toasty.  This is the kind of beer that will fill you up with a pint, and at that alcohol content, two might just do you in.  Get a cab.

Time-Out Corner – And then came the Barleywine. At 10.5 percent alcohol, this one incurred the one-dollar surcharge to add to my list, and it was worth every penny.  They used a medium toast barley for this, so the color was still a medium amber, despite having enough grain in there to get to 10.5%.  There is some alcohol forwardness to this, but it goes well with the malty nose and mouthfeel.  It’s easy to flaw a Barleywine, but this one is perfect.

Little Barbarian – A double IPA.  So far, I’ve been impressed with IPA’s here in Connecticut.  I haven’t had a ridiculously hoppy, teeth cleaning IPA yet, and I’m happy for that.  This is hoppy, but just enough to call it an IPA.  Instead, they focused on the double malt bill and came out with an eight percenter that quenches a thirst.  Still too hoppy to pair with anything but a salty bar snack, but a great slow sipper with that or on its own.

These Guys Brewery is really an amazing place. As we were finishing our meals, a hosted trivia night began, which was fun to watch, even though we didn’t participate.

I recommend These Guys Brewery for a good time, great food, and excellent beer.