Got Beer? Thank You, GIBF, for the Revolution

The longest-running beer festival in Providence, the Great International Beer Festival (GIBF) is once again descending onto the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence on October 24 with its endless flow of delicious brew. Over 30 breweries, local and national, will be represented, pouring some of their best and brightest brews.
If you’re new to craft beer and want to get your feet wet, or you already love good beer and want to introduce your friends, this is the beer festival for you. In the cavernous convention center exhibit halls, you’ll find booths packed with fresh beer ready to be served in unlimited 2 oz. pours.
If this is your first foray into the GIBF, allow me to impart a bit of advice. Take it easy, as those unlimited pours can sneak up on you. Learn to appreciate the wide variety of flavors available from our favorite delicious beverage, and take advantage of the three-and-a-half-hour length of the sessions. There’s ample time in either the afternoon or evening session to sample whatever beer tickles your fancy.
Almost all the local RI breweries will be there as well: Newport Storm, Foolproof, Ravenous, Bucket, Trinity, Revival, Union Station and Grey Sail. If you’re not a fan of beer, that’s okay, because the GIBF also welcomes cider makers like Downeast and Angry Orchard, as well as Twisted Tea.
If you choose the afternoon session, which is usually less crowded, you’ll be out around dinner time and can choose one of the many fine craft-beer-serving restaurants within walking distance for dinner, such as Trinity Brewhouse, Union Station Brewery (see story on page 21), Rogue Island, G-Pub, AS220 and many, many more, all of which, really, you can thank the GIBF for.
The GIBF was my first beer festival many-a-year ago when I was but a young, impressionable college graduate with a love of good beer and a pocketful of dreams. Back then, RI’s craft beer scene was very different. Ten years ago, Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada were as crafty as you could get in these parts. Our only local commercial brewery was Newport Storm. There were three brewpubs, fewer than a dozen beer bars and you’d be lucky to see the arrival of the Boston Lager on your local tap. If you wanted something fancier, like a Belgian Ale or an IPA, you really had to go looking. Even IPAs weren’t what they are now, being mostly about cascade hops and lots of them.
The GIBF helped change that, I think, by creating a festival where people could try new, different and rare beers without having to venture beyond the dreaded RI borders or shell out for an entire six-pack of beer that they might not like. Without the GIBF, we might not have had a craft beer revolution here in little Rhody, which means no local breweries, no beer bars, no vast selections of national brands, no homebrewers and no craft beer column in Motif, which means you’d have to get back to work right now with no reason to slack off. The horror.
This year’s fest also features – as always – prestigious awards for brewers from both a judging panel and tasters at the event. Last year, Whalers from Wakefield took first position, followed by Innis & Gunn from New York.
There will also be free pizza from Pizza Pie-er, and some top-notch live music of the sort that goes with brew. The afternoon session features the versatile Northeast Groove, while the evening session will be accompanied by the Black & White Band (see story at motifri.com/black-and-white-band-rocking-for-a-generation)
T-shirts, cigars and flavorful Newport Jerky will also be on hand. Proceeds from the event go to the RI Community Food Bank.
Also landing early this month is the First Annual WBRU Craft Brew Fest at Lupo’s in Providence on October 3. This virgin event will feature two sessions with over 100 local and national craft beers along with chow provided by local food trucks. Lupo’s is another Providence institution, and it looks like they’re jumping in on the craft beer bandwagon. They should! It’s a great ride.
The list of breweries is growing, so check out the WBRU website for more details (wbru.com/wbru-craft-brew-fest-lupos). Help support your local beer festival, and keep the craft beer culture roaring!
Finally, if you’re really nuts, there is an RI beer-related tradition that can’t be ignored happening at the Wild Colonial on October 11 – The Grog & Dog Jog, in which relay teams compete to run roughly 1.25 miles, chug a Gansett and speed-eat a hot dog. It’s the 12th annual, somehow, and it’s family and spectator friendly – you may want to come watch just for the costumes!
The WBRU Craft Brew Fest Oct 3 at Lupo’s in PVD. Session I Noon – 3:30pm & Session II 4:30 – 7:30pm. wbru.com
Grog & Dog Jog: Oct 11, 4pm at The Wild Colonial, 250 S. Water St, PVD.
The GIBF on Oct 24 at the RI Convention Center. Session I is 1 – 4:30pm & Session II is 6:30 – 10pm. beerfestamerica.com.

 

These are the brewers that are planning to attend this year, to the best of our knowledge at press time. Note that event planning is a dynamic undertaking, and brewers may be added or subtracted up to the last minute. Check the website for the very latest list.
Angry Orchard Cider Company, OH
Back East Brewing LLC, CT
Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery, MA
Blue Moon Brewing Company, CO
Coney Island Brewery, NY
Coors Brewing Company, MA
Cottrell Brewing, CT
Craft Brew Alliance – Kona Breweries, HI
Craft Brew Alliance – Redhook, WA
Craft Brew Alliance – Widmer Bros.,  OR
Diageo Guinness USA, CT
Downeast Cider House, MA
Farmer Willie’s, MA
Foolproof Brewing Company, RI
FX Matt Brewing Co. (Saranac Brewery), NY
Grey Sail Brewing Company, RI
Harpoon Brewery, MA
Heineken USA, NY
Innis & Gunn USA Inc., NY
Lagunitas Brewing Company, CA
Landmark Beer Company, NY
Mayflower Brewing, MA
Narragansett Beer, RI
Paper City Brewery Company Inc., MA
Samuel Adams, MA
Shipyard Brewing Company LLC, ME
Sonoma Cider, CA
Stony Creek Brewery, CT
Tenth & Blake Beer Co. – Leinenkugel, IL
The Gambrinus Company – Shiner, TX
The Newport Storm Brewery, RI
Traveler Beer Company, VT
Trinity Brewhouse, RI
Twisted Tea, MA
Two Roads Brewing Co., CT
U.S. Beverage, CT
Union Station Brewery, RI
Woodchuck Hard Cider, VT
Yuengling Brewing Company, PA

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