Open Hours:
Thursday 5-7PM
Friday 5-8PM
Saturday 1-5PM


Tours are casual & best of all FREE (because we're so small you see everything upon entry).  Visit anytime during open hours.

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Crooked Current Brewery

Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2015 4:36 pm
​The political corruption in Rhode Island is enough to drive you to drink. That’s exactly what Jason Lourenco and Nichole Pelletier had in mind when opening “the smallest brewery in the smallest state,” Crooked Current in Pawtucket. Even the name is an homage to our state’s collective inability to follow the straight and narrow, as is their mascot, “The Crook.” With brews like Kickback American Wheat, Immorality Pale Ale and the always-popular Plunderdome Pumpkin Maple Ale, Crooked Current is using beer as commentary. “We thought, ‘What could we do to be Rhode Island, yet still be different?’” ​ explains Jason, adding, “And people have really taken a liking to this concept.” The duo is also working with a local artist to create a gallery  
of famous moments in corruption for visitors of the brewery to enjoy.Of course, Crooked Current was bound to stand out one way or another: Nichole is Rhode Island’s only female brewmaster. While she’d love to see more women join the party, she notes that gender isn’t the biggest obstacle they face in the business: “The licensing red tape on both the state and federal levels intimidates prospective brewers, female and male alike.” We can all savor the way Nichole has chosen to register her protest against ineffective government. 

A Taste of Crooked Current Brewery

Rhode Island's tiniest brewery crafts flavors for all palates.

Published: 2015.02.03 12:05 PM
Crooked Current's Kickback Wheat.
​It’s less than 400 square feet, but this pint-sized Pawtucket brewery packs in a whole lot of flavor with wheat, pale ale and seasonal beers ripe for the tasting (Chocolate Cherry Stout, anyone?).
I stopped by the brewery over the weekend to chat with co-owners Nichole Pelletier — Rhode Island’s first female brewmaster — and Jay Lourenco, her partner in life and in business, about the Crooked Current way. And, boy, is it drinkable.
Were you aiming to be the tiniest brewery in the tiniest state?
Nichole Pelletier: We wanted to start with as low overhead as possible to get off the ground running, so 350 to 375 square feet was a good place to start.

Rumor has it, another brewery got its start in this space, too.
NP: Yes, the Bucket Brewery! About six months prior to us moving in, they moved out of here. They chronicled their whole operation on their website and their move to their new space. In their sampling area now, they painted the 375 square feet to on the floor to show where they started.
When we were looking for equipment, we went on Craigslist and, just by chance, we bought the Bucket’s former kettles. Bucket sold these off to a guy, and that guy decided to sell them on Craigslist. We came from a home brewing background, we had no connections and everything happened purely by chance. The kettles found their way back home.​

So the space was brewery-ready?
NP: For the most part, but we insulated the ceiling and installed cooling so we could brew in the summer. We also made some improvements with their guidance. After we moved in, we had some dialogue. The Bucket guys came in with cupcakes one day. They’ve been very helpful, and it says something for the Rhode Island brewing community on the whole. Everybody is very welcoming. A rising tide floats all boats.
​How did you get into home brewing in the first place?
NP: I’ve always put alcohol in the food I cook, whether it’s wine in my scampi or beer in my fish and chips. I have a passion for food and beverage and most of my family does, too. When I started brewing on my own, it gave me more control. We got a kit, and shared our beers with friend and family. As our passion grew, so did the cost of our hobby. It became a hobby that got carried away and turned into a business.
Was the beer business always on your radar?
NP: I went to college and decided that my degree was not something I was passionate about. I studied criminal justice. It’s very interesting, but it’s not necessarily something I want to work my way up in. I believe everything happens for a reason; even wrong choices lead you to the right ones. But as you get older, you realize life’s too short. You’ve got to do what you’re passionate about. Life gets mundane. This is anything but mundane.
Brewing beer seems to be a creative outlet for you.
NP: Exactly. There’s so much creativity and ability to control the product. To create a product you designed, cultivated and brought to fruition with your own two hands — there’s nothing like it. Especially when I stand behind the bar here and people are enjoying the beers and buying growlers and rating our beers online [Crooked Current won the Bottles and Cans and Just Clap Your Hands best brewery of 2014].
That’s why we want to stay here as long as we possibly can. We want to really squeeze this space for all it’s worth because there’s a lot to be said for low overhead.
Like tiny living for breweries.
NP: Exactly. And people seek it out; they’re passionate about craft beer. We’re not doing really any marketing, aside from social media. It’s a very organic fan base we have right now, solely based on the fact that they like the product and wish to follow our growth from the ground floor. And if there were ever a ground floor, this would be it.
Do you get a good crowd on Saturday afternoons?
NP: We get a very good crowd; we get intimate quickly. At any given time, there might be twenty people in this room. Lots of people are coming in, tasting the beers, grabbing a growler and heading to another brewery.
When we started out, our sampling area was extremely small. We put up shelving to get stuff off of the floor. We had someone come in and extend the sampling area so we could get more people up tasting and have growler fills going on at the same time.
What about distribution?
NP: We see ourselves going into distribution this April. It’s a decent jump from just branding the company to distribution in a year. That’s the next step for us. We’ve got some places slated.

Any you’d care to share?
NP: What Cheer Tavern and Rouge Island in Providence. The owner of What Cheer came in the first day we opened for tours on October 26. He wanted to see our operation and taste our stuff, and he’s been asking the distributor about us. A couple of weeks ago, we spoke with a distributor and figured out a timeline. We wanted February and March to ramp up production and tours. We’ll also be open on Friday nights soon.
So what’s the deal with the name? I heard there was a scandal.
Jay Lourenco: The initial idea was Crooked Current. We thought it was a little risque, dabbling into corruption. So we went with Brewery 401 instead, which was typical Rhode Island.
But the beer gods stepped in. We researched our name before we put our licensing paper in, and we did not see a problem with any copyrights. But a brewery in Connecticut, Stony Creek Brewery, had a product at the time, 401 IPA, marketed to Rhode Island. Fortunately, this was our chance, guilt-free, to go back to Crooked Current.
How are you playing with the name?
JL: The beer names stick to the theme, and we’re bringing in different pieces of artwork that speak to the Rhode Island political scene as well. We’ll have a little gallery so it will really be a dual experience. The artist, Kevin Donnelly— he does what we’re thinking. It’s fun. Who knows who will make the wall of shame in the future? Right now, we have (illustrations of) the North Providence town council here, another with Charles Moreau and Buddy Cianci.
It would’ve been tough if Buddy got elected.
JL: We would’ve loved it if Buddy came in! If we were large enough to get him in here? What a photo op. We stayed apolitical throughout the whole thing, but the art stirs up conversation while people are here sipping away.
Alright, enough with politics. Let’s talk beer.
NP: Our year-round offerings are our pale ale and our American wheat. Every brewery has a pale ale. It’s drinkable; it’s not light, it’s not heavy and it’s not too hoppy. Our Immorality Pale Ale is conditioned on top of fresh lemon, orange and grapefruit peels. It gives it a nice, juicy kick.
Our Kickback American Wheat is much lighter. It’s my personal favorite. I love wheat beers; they’re so easy drinking that it’s almost dangerous. There’s nothing on the market, locally or commercially, like this.

What about Blue Moon?
NP: That’s a totally different type. It's sweet and fruity, and you get a lot of banana, clove and orange. But this is completely different. We use a different type of yeast. This one drops out of the beer, so you’re not drinking the yeast. All that’s left is the hops and grain. It’s mashed at a low temperature, so it has this tart dryness and a nice cracker-y aftertaste.

​You also have a seasonal beer on tap, right?
Our seasonal right now is the Oatmeal Raisin Stout. There aren’t any raisins; it’s the flavor of the grains. It’s Guinness-esque, it settles in a similar way. It's right in the middle of a sweet stout and a dry stout. The first thing that hits you is the coffee and chocolate, then in the middle you get dark fruit flavors like currant and fig. I use a whole vanilla bean to bring out the flavors a little more. As the beer warms to room temperature, it’s almost better, in my opinion. It’s a great wintertime beer.
Nothing too hoppy on the menu, it seems.
NP: None of our beers are hop-forward beers yet. It’s a seemingly popular thing these days, joining the hop race.
JL: Some other pieces are relatively neglected — other spices and elements. Craft beer drinkers have become synonymous with hopheads, and that alienates a whole group of people. I recently read an article about how some breweries mask inadequacies by dumping in a whole bunch of hops. Ours is a more dangerous route; you’ve got to be a high-quality brewer.

What’s in the fermenter now?
NP: It’s our Chocolate Cherry Stout, for Valentine’s Day. We use flaked barley, which gives it lots and lots of thickness. We use cocoa powder and cocoa nibs after the beer is finished fermenting, so you have lots of that chocolate flavor. There’s some black cherry extract in there, too. Some people think it’s going to taste dessert-y, but it’s not necessarily sweet.

Crooked Current Brewery, 560 Mineral Spring Ave. in Pawtucket, is open Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday night tastings, start date TBA, will take place from 5 to 8 p.m.
For $7, guests get a brewery pint glass and three samples. Thirty-two-ounce growlers are $8 and sixty-four-ounce growlers are $14. 


DECEMBER 8, 2014             LOU PAPINEAU             BEER NEWS

We knew that the craft beer lovers in Rhode Island were passionate about the state's brewmakers, and the response to the 1st Annual Bottles & Cans & Just Clap Your Hands Favorite Rhode Island Brewery Poll certainly proved it. We anticipated a large response and were thrilled to welcome more than 1000 visitors since the poll went live on December 3 [and we hope all of you will continue to visit this blog every day!]. And look who took top honors - Rhode Island's smallest [and second-newest] brewery,Crooked Current!

​Here are the complete results [total: 548 votes]

​We asked the folks at Crooked Current for an “acceptance speech.” Here’s CC president Jason Laurenco:
When we first saw our name on this poll listed alongside a giant like Narragansett, a veteran such as Newport Storm, and the iconic Trinity Brewhouse, to name only some of the great beer-makers on the list, we were already in disbelief. To even share the same list was already an honor to us. When we learned we were actually voted the Favorite Brewery in Rhode Island, directly by the consumers themselves, we were simply stunned. Being the smallest brewery in Rhode Island (we max out at only 40 gallons of beer per batch after boil off), and having opened to the public less than two months ago, we envisioned a world where we would have to muscle our way into the sights of craft beer drinkers amongst the aforementioned beer titans and other established local breweries. This poll proves that we could not be more wrong. The craft beer consumer has become more sophisticated than ever. Production quantities and marketing budgets clearly mean little to them, as word-of-mouth and their own steadfast drive to seek out quality beer has now become the irresistible force turning the gears of the craft beer industry. This concept became evident within only weeks of our opening, as we knew something positive was definitely occurring at the brewery with crowds growing exponentially week after week and plans continuing to be designed and re-designed to adjust our operation for the influx; but again, we had no idea that 
this attention stood any chance of materializing into the recognition we are receiving today. We are humbled beyond words. Aside from our size — which we believe to be, paradoxically, an advantage, as it lends itself to almost boundless experimentation that assists in keeping our customers guessing what’s next — we also have the advantage of Rhode Island’s only female brewmaster, Nichole Pelletier.​ Nichole brings a unique vision to her duties and describes herself as a self-taught brewer with a childish inquisitiveness about beer creation. She’ll never stop perceiving herself as a student of her craft, as opposed to a master of it, a light others are quick to cast upon her. We believe this role distinction may be the largest contributing factor toward this achievement, aside from, of course, the consumers themselves. As mentioned previously, the new craft beer drinker is more educated than ever before and therefore, enters your brewery with higher expectations than ever before. It is up to us as an industry to continue to improve upon ourselves in order to continuously meet those ever-increasing demands upon us and never let the consumer down. We, at Crooked Current Brewery, look forward to accepting that challenge now and in the future and thank you all so very much for this display of confidence in us. Cheers!

JUNE 27, 2014   The Providence Phoenix

Rhode Island breweries have had a bit of trouble with their handles: High Jinx morphed to Foolproof before it opened its doors; Grey Sail Brewing added “of Rhode Island” to settle up with Oregon’s Full Sail over a trademark infringement tussle; and now Pawtucket’s new Brewery 401 has become Crooked Current Brewery. The carpetbaggers at Stony Creek Brewery in Branford, CT, trademarked the 401 area code for beer-related use and disingenuously aver that their “(401) IPA is produced specifically for beer lovers in Rhode Island” — though the profile is virtually identical to their CT-“specific” (860) and (203) brews. (The label extends the subterfuge, noting the bottle contains "12 Fl.Oz of Hometown Brew.")

But the folks at Crooked Current report that they wanted to use the CC name all along. Co-owner Jay Lourenco told us it “refers to RI’s history of corruption. It was the element we wanted to highlight when we started the brewery but we thought it was too risqué, so we kept with more traditional RI icons such as lighthouses and the area code 401. . . The brewery itself will double as a museum of sorts detailing RI’s corrupt past, in order to make tours a more unique experience. We didn’t want to be just another brewery showing kettles and fermenters.” You’ll have your first chance to sample CC’s brews — plus all of the other RI beerists (except Coddington and Mohegan) at the Rhode Island Brew Fest, at the Providence Rink at the Bank of the America City Center in Kennedy Plaza on July 20 (4:30-7:30 pm, $45, And CC hopes to begin pouring at their home at 560 Mineral Spring Ave in Pawtucket soon after. Hit for the latest.
Read more

June 10, 2014    BREW NEWS, RHODE ISLAND 

Following a request by Connecticut based Stony Creek Brewing Company, Rhode Island’s newest brewery has changed their name from “Brewery 401″ to Crooked Current Brewery.

Stoney Creek produces a “401 IPA”:  [Product_401]

“Our (401) IPA is produced specifically for beer lovers in Rhode Island. Like Stony Creek’s first two IPAs, 401 embodies a distinctively American IPA flavor. Enjoy its light amber color, hops, light citrus flavor and peppery finish. First bottled April 24, 2013.” -


A trademark claim on the “401″ brand has effectively denied any brewery in the State of Rhode Island to use their own area code for branding.

To their credit the folks at Crooked Current have taken the change well:

“Alrighty, Folks! So in today’s news we are hearing that an out-of-state brewery feels that a beer they make with “401″ in it’s name too closely resembles our name. We have been politely asked to remedy the situation so a name change is in our imminent future. Not to worry though, as I believe Billy Shakespeare said it best “”What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Stay tuned for our new name that we have already selected. Here’s a hint: it’s going to embody a specific characteristic of Rhode Island in a way no beer before has ever done;)”

Via the Crooked Current Facebook Page:

Crooked Current will make their beer festival debut at the 2014 RI Brew Fest Summer event on July 20 in Providence.

By ETHAN SHOREY, Valley Breeze Staff Writer
June 4, 2014

Many of you read our story last week on the "brewhaha" over a name change for the state's smallest brewery, Pawtucket-based Brewery 401. The new Crooked Current Brewery recognizes the state's corrupt history and will feature a museum highlighting that past. Read that story here.

Crooked Current Owner Jay Lourenco has now released the new logo for his company, and it very much reflects both the 'crooked" and "current" parts of the name. What do you think?

Follow @TheStoryShorey

By Madeleine Wright with reporting by Andrew Adamson
May 23, 2014

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – A new brewery is open for business in Pawtucket, joining a growing list of breweries setting up shop in Rhode Island.

Brewery 401, named after Rhode Island’s only area code, opened on Mineral Spring Avenue earlier this month, becoming the smallest brewery in the smallest state, and the third to open in Pawtucket in recent years; following the Bucket Brewery on Pawtucket Avenue and Foolproof Brewingon Grotto Avenue.

“The craft brewing industry is so far from saturated in the state of Rhode Island,” said Nichole Pelletier, co-owner of Brewery 401. “There’s more than enough room for people to come in.”

Pelletier says she and fellow Brewery 401 co-owner Jason Lourenco chose Pawtucket as their base of operations partly because of the city’s welcoming atmosphere.

Brewery 401 took over the same spot Bucket Brewery once occupied, but outgrew. Now that the Bucket and Foolproof have gained success, Pelletier hopes her brewery will follow.

“We would love nothing more than to be at their scale in the not too distant future,” said Pelletier.

Saturday will be Brewery 401’s first brewing session. Pelletier says she hopes to see her beer in area bars and restaurants in early summer.


PAWTUCKET – There are nine craft breweries in Rhode Island, and three of them are in Pawtucket, which just might make the city the craft brewery capital of Rhode Island, says Jason Lourenco, co-owner of the city’s third micro brewery – Brewery 401 – which opened on May 1.

“It’s purely coincidental that we landed here in Pawtucket, and we only realized later that it was where Bucket Brewery Co. used to be before they expanded,” says Lourenco, who along with co-owner and Brewmaster Nicole Pelletier opened Brewery 401 in the Lorraine Mills building on Mineral Spring Avenue.

Bucket Brewery, Foolproof Brewing Co. - and now Brewery 401 – all make Pawtucket their home base of operations.

Full story appears on page A1 of Saturday's Times and page A5 of Saturday's Call.

MAY 7, 2014   The Providence Phoenix

With the continuing growth of the better beer industry locally and nationwide, one can make a case that every week is American Craft Beer Week. But the official, ninth annual celebration of small and independent brewers will take place from May 12-18. There will be events statewide. Some highlights: a Gray Sail cask tapping at Julian’s (5.13); the Mother of All Barrel-Aged Tap Takeovers at Norey’s (including Founders’ KBS, Goose Island’s 2012 BCBS; 5.14-18); Founders tap takeovers at the Scurvy Dog, the Avery, and Julian’s on the 15th; and a face off between Founders’ KBS and Revival’s Imperial Stout at the Wild Colonial (5.16). There are also meet-the-brewer events (Sean Larkin will be at the Scurvy Dog on the 11th and the Malted Barley on the 14th). Check for more, and expect big beer fun wherever better brew is sold all week long.

And speaking of local growth, welcome the third new beer maker in Pawtucket — Brewery 401. Jason Lourenco and brewmaster Nicole Pelletier have moved into the former Bucket Brewery space at Lorraine Mills on Mineral Spring Ave (they also bought equipment from the Bucket crew) and hope to have growlers on sale in a month or so. Follow their progress at

By ETHAN SHOREY, Valley Breeze Staff Writer
April 29, 2014

PAWTUCKET - The planned opening of a third brewery in the city this week easily solidifies Pawtucket as the "craft brew capital of Rhode Island," say those behind it.

Brewery 401 will officially open on Thursday in a small space previously occupied by the Bucket Brewery in the Lorraine Mills, at 560 Mineral Spring Ave. The owners even purchased the equipment previously used by the Bucket owners when they were here.

Brewery 401 President Jason Lourenco says he and brewmaster Nicole Pelletier, his girlfriend, see no reason why their venture can't have the same kind of rapid success as the Bucket Brewery. All indicators from the stories of the Bucket and Foolproof Brewing are that Pawtucket has the right ingredients for a good brewery to succeed, he said.

Lourenco and Pelletier, who live in West Warwick, have been creating brews at home for years, and they say the success of those home brews is a significant reason why they think they'll be embraced right from the beginning. While many fledgling brewers struggle to get it right early, with a "huge learning curve," these two have been spot-on with each of their brews from the beginning, according to Lourenco.[Lincoln Specials]

"We've yet to ruin a batch," he said.

Though a number of new breweries have opened in Rhode Island the past few years, and there is a great deal of energy in the local craft beer scene, Lourenco and Pelletier believe the market is far from saturated in craft beer, and there is more than enough room for them to jump in.

"Rhode Island is still small compared to what other places have for craft breweries," said Lourenco.

Though the 350-square-foot brewery space at 560 Mineral Spring Ave. easily makes Brewery 401 the smallest brewery in Rhode Island, said Lourenco, he and Pelletier expect added fermenting containers will give them greater capacity for growing their volume of beer while they're here.

Brewery 401 brews will initially be sold in five-gallon kegs, said Lourenco. Bottles and perhaps cans will come with later expansion.

He and Pelletier, formerly a chef by trade, are planning to offer various pilsners, either a raspberry or strawberry wheat beer, and are working on a recipe for a chocolate peanut butter porter, among others.

As brewmaster, Pelletier's passion for creating "delicious concoctions" will make Brewery 401 easily visible on the craft beer scene, said Lourenco.

Both Lourenco and Pelletier plan to leave other jobs as Brewery 401 grows and expands. This is their dream, said Lourenco, and they're committed to making it happen.

Do you get a good crowd on Saturday afternoons?
NP: We get a very good crowd; we get intimate quickly. At any given time, there might be twenty people in this room. Lots of people are coming in, tasting the beers, grabbing a growler and heading to another brewery.
When we started out, our sampling area was extremely small. We put up shelving to get stuff off of the floor. We had someone come in and extend the sampling area so we could get more people up tasting and have growler fills going on at the same time.