Joe Ferro - Ferro@990WBOB.com
The guys that put together Beervana have a simple mission; "To enlighten and educate the community for the responsible appreciation of craft beer" and boy do they come through. Held this year at the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston, Rhode Island. Craft beer festival in my home town?
You had me at hello.
Now sometimes these gatherings of beer lovers bring a few things to mind, mostly the people who spend time before pre-gaming just so they can suck down as many 2-ounce samples as they can get their hands on only to find them laying somewhere outside, or inside, the venue hammered, but this wasn't even close to the case here. Beervana was truly a classy learning experience of one of my favorite things in life, beer.
Determining where to begin was tough but I figured I'd start with the familiar and headed over to Foolproof from Pawtucket, RI. I tried the "Rain Stick" which is their "Rain Cloud" porter but aged in oak. Now that I had a tasty beverage waiting in a line was made much easier. Deciding which to stand in next was tough since I wanted to stand in all of them. Luckily enough some of the other patrons mingling about could tell I was being indecisive and happily ran off a few must tries and/or personal favorites. Heavy Seas Brewing Company out of Baltimore was my next stop. Keeping with the "aged in wood" theme, and my love of bourbon, I tried their "Bourbon Barrel Below Decks" an English style barley wine aged in Bourbon barrels, a stop I would make a few times that night
whenever I'd pass by their booth.
Forcing my way past the urge to stuff my face with waffles, "Waffle Cabin" was on hand serving up what smelled like the best waffles ever, I made my way to North Coast Brewing Company's booth and tried the "Old Stock Cellar Reserve 2009, which came highly recommended by a fellow beer-lover on the other side of the room, a vintage 2009 brew aged for 18 months in oak bourbon barrels and was out of this world. That's just to name a few of the
many great beers I had this night. This was THE craft beer Mecca.
At this point, I had a good lay of the land and heard that Rob Tod, founder and brewer of Allagash Brewing Company would be holding a educational seminar, I arrived a bit late and missed Dan Shelton of Shelton Brothers Importers who also spoke earlier in the night, so I stopped off at the Allagash booth to fill up before heading over. I tried the "Midnight Brett" a Belgin Dark brewed with Midnight Wheat and fermented with House Brett and sat in on the very informative seminar for a bit.
Overall,the organizers of Beervana hit the nail on the head with their mission statement. I left the evening enlightened and definitely more educated. If you missed this year's Beervana Fest fear not there will be more.
Stay up to date by checking out Beervanafest.com. And don't forget to check out The Franchise every Tuesday at 8PM where I'll be delving further into some of the incredible brews I tried on what was a great evening.