Fall’s Here, Get Beer!

The fall beer season has been underway for a few weeks – the pumpkin brews and Oktoberfests are abundant on shelves and taps. ’Tis also the season for the year’s biggest beer bashes and other autumnal attractions. So here’s the Got Beer? guide to where to find the Big Get Beer! events in the coming months.

Let’s kick it off with the Big Congregation of the Locals: the Ocean State Beer Fest II. The inaugural bash was in 2015 at Grey Sail Brewing in Westerly; this year, most of the members of the Rhode Island Brewers Guild will be at Foolproof Brewing Company (241 Grotto Ave, Pawtucket) on September 25 (1 – 4pm). Each brewery will pour a few of their flagship and/or seasonal beers – plus a unique “festival-only” concoction. It’s a great one-stop sampler for the Biggest Little’s ever-growing beer scene (eventbrite.com/e/ocean-state-beer-fest-ii-tickets-26788576353). (And the Foolproof folks are cooking up a special event for Columbus Day weekend; get updates at foolproofbrewing.com.)

Regular (and even irregular) readers of the Got Beer? pages know what’s coming next: The Really Big RI Beer Happenings. The eighth annual Beervana Fest is on October 14 (6:30 – 10pm) at Rhodes-On-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston. As always, the state’s supreme beer event is getting even better this year — the entire second floor will be filled with brewers’ tables (about half the space was used in ’15), adding 15 or so new pourers to the preeminent palate party. The seminars will be presented by industry vet Phil Markowski of Two Roads and local legend Sean Larkin (Revival/Narragansett/ex-Trinity). Cheers (beervanafest.com). And the 23rd Great International Fall Beer Festival is at the Rhode Island Convention Center on November 5 (1 – 4:30pm and 6:30 – 10pm). The downtown throwdown has been the gateway to better beer for thousands of suds enthusiasts; we met Pete Slosberg – the namesake of one of the legendary craft brews, Pete’s Wicked Ale – at one of the first GIBFs (beerfestamerica.com). There will be a keg full of details on both of these fests in our Big Fall Beer Issue (coming soon!).

The official Oktoberfest – the 183rd annual mega-excess-fest – will take place in Munich from September 17 through October 3. For those who wonder why the event begins in September, here’s the backstory from Oktoberfest.de: “The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities began on October 12 and ended on the 17th with a horse race. In the following years, the celebrations were repeated and the festival was prolonged and moved forward into September. By moving the festivities up, it allowed for better weather conditions. Historically, the last Oktoberfest weekend was in October and this tradition continues into present times.”

You can avoid the international travel and get a next-best-thing Authentic Experience at Oktoberfest 2016 at the German American Cultural Society (78 Carter Ave), on September 24 (Noon – 11pm – the first keg gets tapped at 1:30) and 25 (Noon – 5pm). Indulge in a cornucopia of beer and brats and ’wurst and (cow)bell ringing, and kick up your heels to the booming oom-and-pah sounds of the Bavarian Brothers and Alpenblumen Schulplattlers. The GACSRI motto sums it up: “Oktoberfest – where everyone is German, every minute memorable” (gacsri.org). And on the same dates, the International Oktoberfest will be at the Alex and Ani City Center in downtown Providence (Noon – 4pm  and 5 – 9pm on the 24th and Noon – 5pm on the 25th). It’s not quite as authentic as the Pawtucket bash, but offers the same mix of Germanesque flavor and fun (newportwaterfrontevents.com/international-oktoberfest).

Hoist those steins! (And go easy on those pumpkin brews….)

For more beer news, check Lou’s blog, bottlescansclaphands.wordpress.com, or follow @BottlesCansRI.

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