The inaugural Rhode Island Brew Fest, held at the Pawtucket Armory Feb. 2-3 was a sell-out. By 1 p.m. on Saturday, there were crowds waiting outside in the cold to taste the beers of 34 breweries, who collectively poured more than 100 kinds of beer. The beers, brewed all over the U.S., from Rhode Island to California, ranged Sam Adams and Narragansett and Shipyard to Cape Ann Brewing, Ravenous and Moonlight Meadery.
Matt Gray of Gray Matter Marketing, the producer of the Brew Fest, said he was happy with the turn-out—the event sold out both days, a total of 1,200 tickets. Gray said he was “excited to see lots of postings about the Brew Fest” on his Facebook page, including comments about “the newest microbrewery in Rhode Island,” Whaler’s Brewing in Wakefield. “We are definitely going to pursue this event again,” he said.
“I thought the inaugural Rhode Island Brew Festival was a great example of how a beer fest should be run,” said Chris Marzi, from California’s Lagunitas Brewing Company. “The volunteer staff was super helpful, and it was attended by a well-mannered, knowledgeable and thirsty crowd of consumers and industry folk alike, with a great variety of breweries and other vendors present.”
Tom Briggs, from Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale called the event “a friendly and enthusiastic crowd of craft beer supporters. It’s always nice to see the community of brewers and sales people from different local breweries as well.”
Local food vendors included Narragansett Creamery, who served cheeses and fruit, while Sassy Mama Cuisine handed out saucy meatballs and Bad Kat Kup Kakes offered bourbon-infused cupcakes. Pawtucket’s mayor Don Grebian stopped by the event as well. Bucket Brewery of Pawtucket commented that, “The reaction to our beers was positive and enthusiastic. We all left there feeling absolutely buoyed by all the enthusiastic support.”