Brutopia blends beer with bold new menu

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There’s no doubt about it: Cranston’s Brutopia Brewery & Kitchen boasts the finest assortment of home brewed beers in Rhode Island.

Joining with the Revival Brewing Company in a huge facility at 505 Atwood Ave., the owners hired consultants to develop a new menu that would complement the eclectic variety of beers. It works at high end restaurants that pair their wines with dinner selections, and for what we tried at a Prix Fixe Dinner and sampling last week, the pairings work perfectly at Brutopia.

The restaurant features a huge bar with tables around the perimeter, plus two additional rooms that can be used for large parties or regular dining. In warmer weather, there is an outside patio. Adjoining the restaurant is the brewery, filled with large vats, which is available for group or individual tours.

Revival Brewing has one of the most interesting basements I’ve ever seen, where you can sample their long list of beers and ales, play ping pong and electronic games, or just relax and enjoy a Rocky Point Red Ale, coffee or cocoa stout, or Belgian White Ale. For only $5, you get three choices, paying a dollar more to taste more of the over 10 choices.

Richard Benson has been the head chef and kitchen manager at Brutopia for the past two years, coming with a variety of experience in the food industry.

“I started when I was in the Navy on the Nimitz, where we cooked for over 1,000 sailors,” he said. “I worked for a company that provided the meals at LaSalle Academy and then at Red Stripe. I love working here and especially enjoy coming out of the kitchen and talking with our customers.”

The new menu expands on the usual BBQ and craft beer favorites of the growing customers.

“We now offer something for everyone,” Benson said as he offered me a sample of a pork belly taco, which was tasty and like something I had never experienced.

Starters also include house-smoked wings with a variety of sauces ($9), Hush Puppies ($8) and pulled pork nachos ($13). Soups and salads have been added to the menu. Joyce enjoyed a very large Arugula salad, which looked too good to eat. It included craisins, almonds, figs, blue cheese crumbles and a balsamic and extra virgin olive oil ($9). Joyce’s pan-roasted Atlantic salmon was perfectly cooked and lay on a bed of pearl barley pilaf with Brussels sprouts and cranberry ($22). I enjoyed the Dark Marvel Stout Braised Short Ribs, the most tender, tastiest short ribs I’ve ever had. They were served over a dish I have never had and changed my opinion on grits: Vermont cheddar grit cakes. Forget the southern style grits and try these. Pickled red cabbage, kale and the dark marvel stout gravy all made for one of the best meals I have ever enjoyed. ($19).

We topped it off with a White Electric Stout Float ($9) and an old-fashioned root beer float ($6) Their new menu also includes brined pork chop ($17), grilled flat iron steak ($19) and a big bowl of mac and cheese ($8), to which you can add pulled pork, brisket or pork belly for a few dollars more. The traditional pub food remains on the menu, including burgers, fish and chips, tacos and, of course, BBQ. For those with huge appetites, we suggest the BBQ combo of pulled pork, brisket and a half rack of ribs ($25).

Open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late night snacks, Brutopia has become one of the top eating and drinking establishments in Cranston and the entire state. They have a variety of specials, special events, brunches, tours…too many to mention. Check out their website at www.Brutopiabrewery.com. Their phone number is 464-8877.

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