So, you may have heard of this thing called Beervana, the Nirvana for beer nerds. But such beer lovers — and food lovers and socialites and human beings alike — need more than just one day to experience the finest craft beers at the bars/restaurants/liquor stores that serve them. Thus, a solution: Providence Craft Beer Week, an entire week of showcasing the new, the loved and the uniquely special beers that our brewing neighbors have created.
Last year there were 25 participating venues, from The Wild Colonial to High Spirits Liquors, from Warwick to Pawtucket — don’t let “Providence” in the name throw you. Check with your favorite local beer spot to see if they’re participating.
Two venues that will definitely be returning this year are Julians (and its new cousin, Pizza J) and Rogue Island Local Kitchen and Bar. If you’re dating the “I’m more of a mixed-drink” kind of person, use this article to convince her (or him…) to accompany you on five evening’s worth of beer adventures. Because it’s going to be awesome.
To begin, Brian Oakley, the GM of Julians, explained that it’s okay to sample the beer — in fact, it’s encouraged.* You can order a flight of the four showcased draughts or order half-beers. And they have a system for selecting each night’s draughts: a brewery’s core item (eg, on Allagash night, the white ale), an “upper tier” release item (Allagash’s James Bean coffee-aged Belgian triple), and two exclusive or specialty items. This way you’re getting variety as well as a true sense of what makes each company unique.
Not only that, but on certain nights you’ll have the opportunity to meet with the brewers themselves. Oakley said one of his favorite things about these events is seeing people who wouldn’t normally interact come together for shared conversation. People realize that brewers (“Beer World Celebrities”) are just normal people who want to engage with others, and “seeing that kind of connection is very cool. These evenings are fun and social — people are feeling festive, but it’s not a crazy or rowdy crowd. There’s just a really good vibe.”
Plus, they are opportunities for giveaways and beer swag.
Here are some events you can look forward to during the week.
Monday, Oct 10
Julians: Vintage evening. This is where you’ll get to sample specialty vintage items, or “beer unicorns” as I was told they’re called — not to be confused with “Unicorn Beer,” something that doesn’t exist (my bad). These will likely include sour/sparkling favorites, like Goose Island Sofie.
Pizza J’s: 12% imports. American brands. Did I mention 12%?
Tuesday, Oct 11
Julians: Whaler’s Brewing Company. A RI favorite, they’re located in Wakefield. Stop by and meet the brewers!
Pizza J’s: It’s all Allagash (see above)
Rogue Island: Flatbread and Flight Night. For only $10, you get a flatbread pizza and four (4oz) samples of craft beer (!)
Wednesday, Oct 12
Julians: Sneak peak from Beerd: samples not on the market until after Beervana.
Pizza J’s: Grey Sail, including the coveted Captain’s Daughter, the fall seasonal, and the pink “Beet Cancer” special, proceeds for which go to breast cancer research.
Rogue Island: Ithaca Beer Co. Buy a pint, keep the glass!
Thursday, Oct 13
Julians: Two Rhodes, one of the sponsors of Beervana. Head brewer Phil Markowski will be in da house. Holla!
Pizza J’s: Uinta Brewing Co.
Rogue Island: Revival Brewing Co, from Cranston. Brewmaster Sean Larkin will be there, and since it’s burger night at Rogue Island, they’ll be pairing each draught with specialty burgers. I’m digging the Aquidneck farm patty topped with duck confit and roasted cherries, paired with Up Ships Kriek (a sour cherry beer).
Friday, Oct 14 (Beervana)
Julians: After-party! Chat with brewers, drink more beer, enjoy late night food.
Rogue Island: After-party! There will be ‘Gansett girls, swag giveaways, the new White Ship IPA, and late night snacks (“house party snacks,” but better).
These events are free and open to the public. The idea is to explore, enjoy and appreciate the art—the craft—of beer.
*Please note, each venue is allowed to do its own thing, so this might not apply to every location. And check out these other Beer Week events: Rogue Island: facebook.com/events/1285271498152030; Scurvy Dog: facebook.com/events/1705096729815856.