Beervana Fest Plans More Intimate Atmosphere for Craft Beer Festival
This year's event will be divided into two separate day and night sessions on Saturday, October 26.
Beervana Fest is coming right up with its eleventh annual beer festival on October 26 at Rhodes on Pawtuxet in Cranston. This year’s craft beer festival is bigger than ever, with sixty craft beer tables and more than 200 tastings, divided into two sessions on the Saturday, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and from 6 to 9:30 p.m. to allow for additional ticket sales and a more intimate atmosphere for attendees and brewers.
“We are reducing the size of attendees per session to make it more comfortable. We found out in surveys given at the end of the show that the most important part to attendees is the face time they get to spend with the table worker,” says Beervana co-founder Brian Oakley. “Essentially, our rule is we buy all the beer, but we require that the brewery has a direct employee work their table. We have been fortunate to have founders or head brewers attend and guests really appreciate that.”
The beer festival includes two floors of extremely rare and special release craft beers, some of which have taken more than six months to procure. Beervana has also brewed four distinct collaboration beers that will only be available for tasting at the festival. Beervana co-founders Brian Oakley of Julians and Mike Iannazzi of Nikki’s Liquors visited Buttonwoods Brewery and Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. in Rhode Island to brew the collaboration beers, and they also worked with Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company out of Framingham, Massachusetts, and Good Measure Brewing Co., a small brewery in Vermont. “Each year we decided we’re going to try to do four collaborations,” says Oakley. “Each brewery represents a different area of the brewing community.”
They did a barrel blend collaboration at Sons of Liberty and an experimental raw beer with Buttonwoods. Buttonwoods heats the boil of the wort to a temperature that’s high enough to pasteurize, but not boil, which is producing very delicious, elegant brews similar to a wild ale or sour. “I don’t know anyone else who is doing that at all,” Oakley says. “A wine drinker might be more interested in that, anyone who likes sours or wild ales…. I am psyched that they are thinking outside the box and doing interesting things.”
Beervana has always prided itself on showcasing the rarest of brews, while also paying tribute to the craft beer pioneers, including Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head and Brooklyn Brewery. It also makes a point to celebrate the best in locally made brews, including Proclamation Ale, Long Live Beerworks, Tilted Barn, Shaidzon, Ragged Island and many more. However, Rhode Island’s brewery scene has expanded to more than thirty breweries, so they’re not able to feature them all, since they also want to provide tastings from all over New England and the United States. “Every year it’s more challenging as the beer world has grown consistently more interesting and there are different breweries that showcase experimental styles,” Oakley says.
That’s the point of the festival: To try things you wouldn’t otherwise experience. “Every year we try to find the rarest things we can find, but with the explosion of breweries, a lot of the things at every table are going to be rare,” Oakley says.