Bottles & Cans: RI's Better Beer Blog
The Malted Barley is coming to downtown Providence [a B&C exclusive]
The craft beer scene in South County got a huge boost when the Malted Barley opened on May 6, 2011 [and Grey Sail raised the bar even higher when it debuted on 11.11.11]. Owners Colin and Stephanie Bennett “met working at a brewery [in Honolulu] and fell in love drinking Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock,” Stephanie told the Yankee Brew News. When they returned to the mainland, the couple set up shop on High St in Stephanie’s hometown of Westerly, and quickly attracted a devoted clientele with Malted Barley’s winning combination of exceptional brews and gourmet pretzels [and music on weekends], served in its gorgeous old building with a contemporary feel.
In April 2014, the Bennetts announced that they would start franchising their business model. We’re pleased to tell you that the second Malted Barley will open in downtown Providence at 334 Westminster St [the Kinsley Building, corner of Snow]. The building is currently being renovated [the Cornish Group]; MB is the first commercial tenant, and there will be 40 apartments on the upper floors. Colin said that he and Ron Koller, the franchisee, “looked at 70-80 different locations and pursued three or four fairly strongly” before signing the lease for the new location. The liquor license was approved on Monday [7.20]. All systems go! [Click here for details about being a MB franchisee.]
Colin said the new space will “feel similar but look different” than the Westerly HQ. [“When you hear the word franchise, you just think of this cookie-cutter, soulless entity,” Stephanie told The Westerly Sun last year. “We don’t want that, and I think we have a lot of great ideas for how to make other Barley locations also have their own sincerity.”] But all of the essential Malted Barley ingredients will be on hand: 37 rotating draft lines [plus a wide range of bottled options, inventive cocktails, and wine] and the appetizing array of pretzels, soups, pretzel sandwiches, desserts, and a new menu item, salads — with pretzel croutons, of course. The salads will be introduced soon in Westerly, which is also in the midst of renovations: work is underway on the second-floor space, so there will be three levels of fun. Live music will also be in the mix in Providence.
Fingers are crossed for a September opening; we’ll provide updates as things take shape on Westminster. The Downcity Malted Barley will be a great addition to the capital — and will be warmly welcomed by beer [and pretzel] fans who are reluctant to drive alllll the way to Westerly…