Summer and suds are a perfect match. Here’s a jam-packed guide to where to make the most of both of ’em.
First, the fests. Each of the summer months has a big-time beer gathering. Two of them are at Roger Williams Park: On Saturday, June 18, America On Tap spreads out on the greenery in front of the Temple to Music, with more than 75 brewers and ciderists offering samples of more than 150 beers. On Saturday, August 27, Brew At the Zoo lets you up get up close and personal with the creatures at the RWP Zoo whilst sipping fine fare from more than 60 purveyors of luscious liquids. On July 16, head to Newport for the Craft Brew Races extravaganza at Fort Adams State Park. A 5K walk/run is followed by a three-hour brew fest, featuring 40 breweries – including 13 from Vo Dilun. And you should definitely get on an Amtrak or Peter Pan bus to Boston to dive into Beer Camp Across America. It’s the second iteration of Sierra Nevada’s mega-celebration of craft beer, with six fests held across the US in June. The bash at City Hall Plaza on the 18th boasts more than 125 breweries – a drool-inducing array of heavy hitters and delicious discoveries. Go!
Other outdoor diversions: The Burnside Music Series and Beer Garden livens up downtown Providence every Thursday from July 7 through September 8, with a diverse slate of bands, food trucks – and libations from Trinity Brewhouse. And if you’re jonesing for Oktoberfest (which starts on September 17), get a headstart on fall frolicking at Foolproof’s fourth annual Augtoberfest. On Saturday, August 6 (from 1:30-4pm and 5-7:30 pm), you can hoist sweaty steins filled with the fest’s namesake Märzen (and other taste treats from Foolproof’s potent lineup), and indulge in music, food, games and more festive fun. Info at foolproofbrewing.com.
And be sure to get your al fresco on at patios and decks and edenic patches of concrete all over the state. Sip your suds in the open air at What Cheer Tavern, the Malted Barley in Westerly, Brutopia, Julians, the Wharf Pub, Ogie’s Trailer Park, the Hot Club – and the brandy-new Grey Sail Tap Room. The historic house next to the brewery in Westerly has been transformed into a luxurious beer palace, with 16 taps – half of them dedicated to Grey Sail brews, plus three Rhody entries and five international pours – and a biergarten with a fountain, a bocce court and other delights. The Tap Room is open on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3 to 8pm, on Friday and Saturday from Noon to 8pm, and on Sunday from Noon to 5pm. Congrats to the Grey Sail crew on their awesome addition!
Speaking of local brew artisans, the better-beer-laws growler is half-full! On May 19, the house of representatives approved a bill that will allow breweries to sell 288 ounces of beer (up from the current 72-ounce limit) and serve 72 ounces per visitor in their taprooms (pro tip: do not consume 72 ounces per visit at a taproom). If/When the senate passes a similar bill, the Gov will sign it and you can procure more fresh brew to enjoy at your leisure. Fingers crossed!
And to tickle your palate whilst basking in your own backyahd during the splendid summertime, head to your favorite better beer store and sample some brews that are new to the Ocean State. This leap year has seen the arrival of Coronado, Boulevard, Brewmaster Jack, Maui, von Trapp, Evil Genius and DuClaw. The latest additions are Epic Brewing of Salt Lake City (Big Bad Baptist, an imperial stout, is their standout) and New Belgium Brewing. The craft beer giant (the fourth-biggest in the US) will hit the Rhody market on on June 20; the first shipment will include Fat Tire (their flagship amber ale), Ranger IPA, Citradelic IPA, Heavy Melon Watermelon Lime Ale, Rampant, La Folie Sour Brown, and Glutiny. Cheers to more and more beers!!!