Where can you find over 50 local and regional breweries sharing their bounty this weekend?

At the Rhode Island Brew Fest, of course, returning to the Waterfire Arts Center in Providence after skipping last year due to the pandemic.

We learned more about the 2022 Festival from Lisa McCurdy of Gray Matter Marketing, one of the partners producing the event.

Originally held at the Pawtucket Armory, the Fest moved to the Waterfire Arts Center in 2019. “We have 53 breweries planning to be there, pretty much our normal size,” explained McCurdy. “That’s exciting, especially after the last two years, it’s been a little challenging for everybody, especially those in the beer industry.”

The Festival includes most of the thirty or so micro-breweries in RI. You’ll also find regional favorites like Wormtown, Beer on Earth, and Sam Adams.

“We like to focus on local to Rhode Island and super local to Providence and to bring in some more funky stuff regionally to add a little variety. We’ve got everyone from 6 Pack Brewing and Pivotal in Bristol – who both just started during COVID which is pretty amazing – to Narragansett, Linesider, and Ragged, guys who have been around for a little bit longer.

McCurdy notes that the Festival is unique as it purchases all the beer directly from the participating breweries.

“With some festivals, the breweries are expected to donate their product. That can get really expensive if you think about serving up to 1000 people over the course of the day.  Craft beer is not cheap. This way, even the little guys who maybe just started out this year can participate. So some of the brand new craft breweries might be sitting next to someone like Narragansett or Sam Adams. It’s a cool thing,” said McCurdy.

Head Brewer Lee Lord of Narragansett Beer (Photo courtesy of Narragansett Beer)

There will literary hundreds of choices available.

“Every brewery brings at least two varieties with some bringing three or four. Of course in New England, there’s a big IPA scene, but we get everything from the really dark stouts, winter lagers, and we have some alcoholic seltzers and ciders … pretty much anything on the scale of both pallet and weight. There’s something for everybody’s taste,” explained McCurdy.

Indeed, there will be lots to choose from, but don’t expect to sample everything…

“It’s a two-and-a-half hour festival, so pace yourself, there will be plenty to go around,” McCurdy noted. “We have reduced the capacity a little bit year, that will help keep the lines a little bit shorter. I really try to make an effort to find something I’ve never heard of before, some of the more unique beers. I might gravitate toward things with different fruits or some kind of lactic stout. This is an opportunity to go out on a limb and really expand your palate and check out some cool things. Maybe you’ll discover a new favorite beer and a new favorite brewery.”

McCurdy reminds patrons to stay safe and use a ridesharing service or public transportation if possible. “We sell designated driver tickets which are very inexpensive, and we have snacks and soda for free for them as a thank you for driving their family and friends.”

Hope you already have tickets – the Festival is officially sold out. Click here for more details.

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