With the weather cooling down and the Oktoberfest 200th anniversary celebration in full swing in Munich, October just feels like beer drinking season. So it's only fitting that the first annual Providence Craft Beer Week will take place October 1-8.
The festivities are patterned on the massive Philly Beer Week that originated in 2008 and now draws visitors from across the country to the Greater Philadelphia area over the course of 10 days in June. More than two dozen cities have hopped on board with their own local beer celebration. And now Providence is going to join in on the party.
Each night bars and restaurants across the city will host different craft breweries, Oktoberfest celebrations, beer dinners, and neighborhood pub crawls. To cap it all off, on Friday, October 8, the Beervana Fest will take place in Cranston, showcasing more than 200 of the world's best craft beers. With events being added by the day, it seems there will be something for everyone during the course of the week.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Julian's is up front beating the drum for Providence Craft Beer Week. Together with the Avery and E&O Tap, the neighborhood bars are teaming up to create the "Beermuda Triangle." Fourteen different brewers will host special events each weeknight. And since none of the bars is more than a three-block walk from each other, this is one Triangle you should be able to navigate your way around.
While each bar will have their own approach to these special brewery nights, Julian's events are a good example. Four tap lines will be dedicated to the guest brewery, while a representative will be on hand from 9 to 11 pm to give away some freebies. For any craft beer enthusiast, the chance to talk beer with knowledgeable people from inside the industry is a pretty exciting opportunity.
It's an all-star lineup too. Monday is arguably the best craft brewer for the canning category, Oskar Blues of Colorado. On Tuesday, the always creative Dogfish Head Brewery is bringing beers using such eclectic ingredients as rice, pumpkin, and blackberries. On Wednesday Julian's will welcome western New York's Southern Tier and my absolute favorite pumpkin beer: Pumking. And on Thursday, New Hampshire's Smuttynose Brewing is coming to town with its executive brewer, David Yarrington, two vintage beers, and two special series beers.
Dan Henry, a field manager for Smuttynose, summed up the excitement around these events: "The people at Julian's treat beer in a way a lot of people don't." So when Smuttynose offered to bring a couple of rare vintage beers to the event, Julian's jumped at the opportunity. "Our vintage beers have done a spectacular job aging," Henry said. "Many taste like a totally different beer. They have mellowed with a different body to it, going the way of a fine sherry." I'm sure he is right, but want to find out for myself.
As if this isn't reason enough to venture to the West Side, the other points of the Beermuda triangle have some pretty amazing brewers lined up. The Avery is will have Providence's own Trinity Brewhouse on Sunday, Heavy Seas on Monday, Harpoon Tuesday, Smuttynose Wednesday, and Wachusett on Thursday. Over the same five nights, E&O Tap will welcome Redhook, Blue Point, Cisco, Abita (of Louisiana), and Ithaca. It's especially encouraging to see local businesses engage in collaborative efforts such as these for the sake of the Craft Beer Week.