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Newport Craft Beer Festival Blooms and Magic Hat Mistreats Naughty Beer Lovers

Class Reunion, Family Reunion, Craft Beer Reunion

New craft beer events pop up all the time, and while this one isn’t exactly a newborn, it’s still young enough to be fawned over by all of us like a pack of proud grandmothers at a family reunion. Attracting nearly a thousand people every year, the Third Annual Newport Craft Beer Festival blooms on the lawn at the Great Friends Meeting House in Newport, which sounds like where Batman, Superman, and the Flash get together to play poker (spoiler alert: Batman wins.)

In attendance at the April 26th festival will be all the usual suspects on the RI beer scene; Trinity, Newport Storm, Ravenous, Bucket, Revival, Union Station, Grey Sail and Foolproof, as well as some out-of-towners like Sebago, Stone and Lagunitas.

The festival is sponsored by Pour Judgement Bar & Grill and the Coastal Extremists of Newport Storm themselves, and benefits the Rhode Island Brewer’s Guild and the Newport Historical Society, a truly noble pursuit. Three years ago, Hank Whitin of Pour Judgment approached Newport Storm about putting together a festival to fill the gap between the St. Patrick’s Day madness and the summertime rush of the coastal town. That year many good times were had under the tents at the Meeting House, and the festival has grown larger since, while still maintaining an intimate vibe.


I love the smaller craft beer festivals like this. Unlike some festivals, these little fests are smaller and more personal, while containing a dizzying variety of brews and a much better atmosphere than one might find at the larger extravaganzas. You can chat with the brewers without being shoved aside by some lunatic in a foam hat with a half-gone pretzel necklace demanding another sample of “that light stuff.”

There’s an afternoon session (12-3pm) and a later afternoon session (4-7pm), which is really ideal for those either relying on public transportation or who want to spend the rest of their day in downtown Newport, hopefully in nice weather assuming this winter ever kicks over and dies.

If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket, you’ll be able to enjoy over 30 breweries worth of excellent beer, and some of the finest food the area has to offer. Sip your delicious suds while enjoying live music and, hopefully, warm sunshine. There will also be a Fan Favorite Award, which I assume means an award for the beer most enjoyed by fans, not an award for the favorite fan of beer, which would be me!

You’ll also get to take home a souvenir tasting glass to add to your mantelpieces.

This lovely fest sells out quick, so head to the Newport Storm online store to purchase.


Thank You, Magic Hat. May I Have Another? 

True to form, Magic Hat continues to treat me like a callous dominatrix would, by tempting me with something I want, then smacking me in the face with a riding crop once my hopes get high enough. At least, ahem, I hear that’s how it goes. I received some samples of the Dream Machine IPL, and my eyes lit up with excitement! The last package contained a quite delicious smoke beer.

Before we leap to any conclusions, I do like the Dream Machine. It’s a crisp, hoppy little number that’s just light enough to want during warmer weather, but still enjoyable even if you can’t feel your toes, and haven’t since October. To be honest, I can see myself lazily sipping on this brew on my porch in the warm sunshine, but maybe that’s just delusion brought on by hypothermia.

On the other side of this coin, Magic Hat, where is my Jinx?! The original recipe, please, and I’ll take a case!