Rhode Island Craft Beer Week Kicks Off March 5

Celebrate local brewing with contests, new beer releases and more
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The Rhode Island Brewers Guild will host Rhode Island Craft Beer Week March 5–13.

Local beer lovers rejoice — Rhode Island is hosting its first-ever Craft Beer Week, a nine-day celebration of local brewing featuring special events, new releases and lots and lots of craft beer.

The event, organized by the Rhode Island Brewers Guild, kicks off on Saturday, March 5, and will last through Sunday, March 13. Throughout the week, participating breweries will host special events and contests to mark the celebration of all things local.

Among the highlights for the week are “Ultimate Rhode Island Day” at Narragansett Beer in Providence, featuring New York System wieners, Del’s and other Rhode Island fare, and a “Saugy Showdown” at Linesider Brewing Company, where local brewers will compete to see who can eat the most Saugy dogs.

“Our goal is to put an emphasis on Rhode Island-made beers during the week of March 5 through the 13 and to really just give our membership an opportunity to shine a spotlight on any activities that they’re up to in a typically quieter time of the year,” says Matt Gray, chairman of the Rhode Island Brewers Guild marketing committee and president of Ragged Island Brewing Company in Portsmouth.

“The Rhode Island brewing scene has really grown tremendously over the past few years, and this is really a way to shine a light on that,” he adds.

While other states offer regular Craft Beer Weeks, he says, this is the first time Rhode Island will host the inaugural event. The celebration comes after several years of rapid growth in the local brewing industry.

“In 2013 when the Rhode Island Brewers Guild was founded, there were five members. So going back nine years, there’s a pretty significant increase over the past nine years,” Gray says.

Throughout the week, the guild will host the Rhode Map Challenge, encouraging participants to visit as many of the state’s thirty-seven member breweries as possible. Patrons can use the RI Brewers Guild Passport App to check in and post photos at their favorite breweries. The top five participants who visit the most breweries will receive prizes, including two tickets to the Ocean State Beer Festival, two entries to the Craft Brew Races Newport, a Rhode Island Brewers Guild puzzle and more. (The guild would like to remind patrons that they should only participate with the help of a designated driver.)

Gray points out that Rhode Island is unique in that beer drinkers can easily travel between breweries across the state.

“I think this is probably the only state where you could go to every brewery in a week,” he says.

Restaurants are also getting in on the fun, with locations like Pour Judgement in Newport, Black Oak Kitchen and Drinks in Coventry and Back40 in North Kingstown planning tap takeovers featuring dozens of choices from local brewers. Smaller breweries will have a chance to get their beer out to a wider drinking public with one-day distribution events. Apponaug Brewing Company in Warwick and Greysail Brewing in Westerly have committed to hosting other breweries in their taprooms during the week to showcase all Rhode Island has to offer.

Gray, who will be among the brewers testing his stomach and his willpower at the Saugy-eating contest, is optimistic the craft beer scene in Rhode Island will continue to grow.

“It’s pretty exciting and will continue to be. Craft beer seems to be pretty recession-proof,” he says.

Here are some of the highlights planned for Rhode Island Craft Beer Week. For a full list of events and participating breweries, visit ribrewersguild.org/ri-craft-beer-week.

  • March 5 – Narragansett Beer PVD will host “Ultimate Rhode Island Day” to kick things off. Expect Gansett to launch a new beer as well as host iconic Rhode Island staples like Del’s and New York System wieners.
  • March 8 – “Saugy Showdown” at Linesider Brewing Company. Come watch your favorite brewers compete to eat the most Saugy dogs while you enjoy Rhode Island craft beer.
  • March 11 – Taproot Brewing Co. Beer Hall Night with live music from Take It to the Bridge Trio. Free Admission. Details here.
  • March 12 – The Guild Brewing Co. Pawtucket turns five. Keane’s BBQ is taking over the kitchen, and Radio Honey is rocking out the taproom starting at 5 p.m. The party officially starts at 4 p.m.
  • March 12 – Smug Brewing Bonsai Bar event. Learn to create your very own bonsai tree while enjoying a refreshing drink.

 

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