September is shaping up to be a busy month, so here’s a rundown of upcoming events. Are we missing something? Hosting an event? Have some info you want us to add? E-mail us for info on how to get it promoted- firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s that time of year again, for folks to gather on the grounds of the Great Friends Meeting House in downtown Newport, on a (hopefully) beautiful day. It’s the 4th Annual Newport Craft Beer Festival, and this year there are multiple dates to save, as it has stretched into a two day long event! Friday, May 8th from 8-10pm is the VIB event (Very Important Beers), featuring beers from festival brewers that won’t be available on Saturday, in a smaller, more intimate setting at the Newport Storm Brewery, with some festival brewers in attendance.
Saturday’s two sessions (noon-3, 4-7) will feature 35 craft breweries from across the country. Each brewery is required to send staff employed by the brewery so guests can have all of their questions answered and learn about beer from the people that actually make it. The festival also emphasizes local, Rhode Island beers with “Guild Row”, a special area under the tent where guests can easily access all Rhody beers in one spot. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Rhode Island Brewers Guild, a non-profit organization that promotes Ocean State brewers.
Guests will have the opportunity to sample brews, snag a commemorative tasting glass, and vote for their favorite brewery in a Fan Favorite award. Some Newport restaurants will also be showcasing their best dishes and live bands will be performing each session.
Did we mention that we will also be there at both sessions signing copies of Rhode Island Beer: Ocean State History on Tap??
Friday VIB tickets are $35 and Saturday tickets are $45 and are available at http://www.newportstorm.com/GearStore. Space is limited to 75 tickets on Friday and 550 for each session on Saturday so act fast, people! This is a great event for a great cause. For the most up-to-date info and a list of attending breweries, check out the festival Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @NewportBeerFestival
If you can’t make it to the festival, we will also be at Norey’s in Newport from 8-10pm that evening.
As if you need a reason to come hang out in Newport for the day. This Saturday at the Great Friends Meeting House is the 3rd Annual Newport Craft Beer Festival. The event is sponsored by local establishments Pour Judgment Bar & Grill and Newport Storm Brewery with proceeds going to benefit the Rhode Island Brewers Guild and the Newport Historical Society.
There are two sessions: Session One from noon-3pm and Session Two from 4-7pm. Tickets are $45 and available via the Newport Storm Gear Store.
There’s a lot going on in the Rhode Island beer scene and this is a great chance to talk to brewers and check out some of the state’s best beers. Hope to see you there!
This past weekend was the sixth annual Great Pumpkin Festival at Cambridge Brewing Company – a place where autumnphiles can come together and have a pumpkin beer without the ubiquitous cinnamon-sugar rim nor the sneers from the general craft beer public. This was our third year in attendance, and in our opinion, the most successful event yet. In the past, the festival operated on a one-in/one-out policy, resulting in a line, usually on the first cold day of October, that left you cursing yourself for wearing a dress and cursing all those terrible terrible people who agreed to hold their friend’s place in line while they went into Tommy Doyles to stay warm doing pumpkin bomb shots. There is a special circle of Hell for line-cutters, I’m sure of it.
This year, the event was divided into three four-hour sessions throughout the day, which got rid of the wait time and made things much more comfortable and accessible inside the restaurant. We chose the last session so we could witness the event we’ve missed years past, a monk-led procession leading to the tapping of a giant pumpkin filled with CBC’s Great Pumpkin Ale.
This is a great place to experience interpretations of pumpkin beer you’ve never imagined. But truth be told, at least for me, it’s about pretzel rolls with beer mustard and pumpkin ale braised sauerkraut and hanging out with robots. Oh, and commemorative glassware.
Here’s some of my evening’s most memorable beers:
CBC Stout at the Devil – 666# of pale malt, 6.66 oz. of Devil’s Claw herb, a 6.66% ABV – how can you not love this devilish beer? Plus add to the fact that this is their 2011 version that has been aging on Brettanomyces barrels. “It’s all for you, CBC!” ~*Jumps off balcony*~
Jack’s Abby Pumpkin Crop Lager – A perfect blend of autumnal spices mixed with locally sourced pumpkins makes for a crisp lager with a well-done pumpkin profile without any of the sugary sweetness.
Iron Hill Pumpkin Berliner Weisse – Tons of candied pumpkin and sugar cookies with some tart lemon characteristics. Very interesting and enjoyable.
Avery Rumpkin – Ahhh the venerable Rumpkin; aged in fresh rum barrels and clocking in at a monstrous 18%. Yes, it’s totally overwhelming and like taking a shot of pumpkin pie rum, but it’s still complex, sweet, and good to try once.
Right off the bat, I could tell that this was less an event to make money off of the craft beer movement, and more to actually showcase the New England beer scene and provide just a well-rounded beer experience.
I kind of stayed away from reviewing pumpkin beers this year and let Kristie take over that. I’ve learned the hard way that drinking pumpkin beer too often makes me tire of them, and they are something I love so moderation is key, and there’s only so many ways one can compare a beer to a pumpkin pie, and the market is so saturated that I decided to instead focus on marzens and fests and leave my pumpkin cravings for the annual Cambridge Brewing Company Great Pumpkin Festival. Now that I’ve had time to gather my thoughts and decompress from a busy week at work, I pulled together a little recap.
Total Electric Wizard weather the day of this fest. Dismal, damp, bleak, and an hour plus line just to get inside because of the one-in, one-out policy. If the girl who was dressed up as a French stereotype reads this, we wanted to find you and bludgeon you with your baguette once we got inside because you thought it was, “oh so clever” to have your man-friend stand in line, while you and your horde of ladyfriends sat inside a nearby pub, nice and warm, until you all flocked to join him when he was up at the admission table. Seriously, all of the cutters were these kids in elementary school: