’Tis the season for beer gardens and patios and fests and a deluge of summer fests and fun. Pop a top and dive in!
On Sunday, June 16 (thisclose to official summer) from 2 – 5pm, the Beervana folks and the RI Food Fights crew will team up again for the 3rd Annual Bacon & Beer Fest. This year’s bash at Cranston Print Works (1381 Cranston St) features 28 bacon-packed temptations by local kitchen magicians – from noodles to waffles to pizza to cheesesteaks and two dozen other tasty treats – paired with palate-enhancing liquid from local and national brewers. The complete list of beermakers and food-preppers is on the fest’s Eventbrite page (tix were still available at presstime).
RI will be hosting the American Homebrewers Association’s Homebrew Con from June 27-29 at the Convention Center. The 41st annual event will gather 2,900 attendees and 50 homebrew clubs for a full slate of workshops, presentations, book signings, awards – and parties. The commemorative beer – Wicked Smooth, a milkshake IPA – is a collab by Grey Sail and Heavy Seas. Tix are available for the “Social Package” if you’re not all in on the educational offerings; get all the details at homebrewcon.org. And check the socials the week of the event – there will likely be many special events (and brews) to draw the conventioneers to the 401 taprooms.
On Saturday, July 20, the Craft Brew Races hotfoots it into Fort Adams State Park in Newport. A 5K walk/run is capped with a three-hour brew fest, featuring 40-plus breweries, including many members of the 401 circle of beer life. It’s big fun under the big tent. Get the details at craftbrewraces.com/newport
In the dog days of August, you might start hankering for some cooler temps. On Saturday the 18th, get a jump on sweater weather and Oktoberfest (which takes over Munich from September 21 through October 6 – book your flight now!) at Foolproof’s seventh annual Augtoberfest. Jester-branded steins will overflow with the fest’s namesake märzen (and many other choice offerings) at the Pawtucket biergarten, and you can catch the German spirit with music, food and related fun from 3 – 7pm. And to skew the chronological order a bit, Foolproof will entice the early-arriving Homebrew Con-ventioneers – and you, dear reader – with a Crawfish Boil on June 26. Get updates on all-the-above at foolproofbrewing.com
On Saturday, August 24, Brew At the Zoo will take over Roger Williams Park Zoo with more than 170 beers from 80-plus breweries. People really like channeling their inner Dr. Dolittle and talking with the animals – tix sold out a month or so ahead of the 2018 gathering. This year’s admission slips will be on sale any day now at rwpzoo.org
The fifth annual Ocean State Beer Fest will take place in September in Westerly. Most of the 401 breweries will participate and, per usual, debut a “festival-only” beer. The date and venue will be revealed at ribrewersguild.org (and every other beery 401 social) soonish; last year tix sold out in less than 24 hours, so don’t dither when they go live!
And we encourage you to hit the road and experience the summery splendor of alla the 401 breweries, from the tiny Community Bruin to the massive Long Live Beerworks and every size in between. Get your RI Brewery Passport at ribrewersguild.com and get cool swag as a “reward” for your efforts! A coupla save-the-dates: On June 19 from 5 – 8pm, Taproot Brewing in Middletown is celebrating its first anniversary with a First Trip Around the Sun party. Click through facebook.com/taprootbeer to secure your free RSVP for the beer (and wine) tastings and music and games and food and swag raffle. You can toast the first day of the season at Shaidzon Beer Company’s Summer Solstice Weekend Party on June 21 and 22 at their solar-powered West Kingston HQ. Josh and Chip will host live music by Anna May and John Fanning & the Curators and food by CUFFS Counter (facebook.com/shaidzonbeerco). And there will be new destinations along the 401 beer trail, including Beer On Earth settling in where Long Live usedtabe any day now, Twelve Guns Brewing firing up its fermenters in Bristol and Lops Brewing opening its doors in Woonsocket at the end of June/early July. Happy sipping!