Summer is coming to a close, even though it might not feel like it lately with all this humidity. RIBS had a great time at the two of the biggest events for the club, Maker Faire and RI Brew Fest. For those that are not familiar, RIBS got it’s start from brewing at Maker Faire, so it is always an event that is close to our hearts. We also were able to serve some tasty samples at the RI Brew Fest in Charlestown on the same day! Thankfully we have Matt Maffucci and Dennis Armstrong who were able to give their first hand accounts of each of the events.
Be sure to check out the pictures from each of the events here.
Mission: RI Brew Fest
I live very close to Ninigret Park so I figured I would get there right when the fest opens for vendors – 10;00am. Being the survivalist that I am, I wanted to make certain I would have plenty of time to setup the booth/table with appropriate literature, beer, pretzels for the table and snacks for our faces.
I met Matt, the stout gentleman running the show, as it were, as he was unloading tables and ice. I forced him to shake my hand a second time but to do it “the cool way.” He thought that was funny, but I was deadly serious. Deadly. Serious. He had stuff to do like set up the entire brewfest with his wife Kate, so he moved on.
I chatted with Eric and Dan from Foolproof which was nice. They both now know that I like long walks on the beach.
I wanted to try and get the table setup too, because I didn’t know how I was going to hang the banner, and generally speaking, I just wanted to get set with plenty of time to spare.I placed some blue linens on the table in a Queen Victoria formation and set about hanging the banner. A second RIBS member Jim arrives after a lengthy traverse around southern RI. Luckily, Jim has beer because this is a Brewfest. And pretzels and other stuff too. Nate, the third and final RIBS member arrives right after Jim with more beer and love and we get everything under control.
By now, many vendors are pouring into the ‘fest and getting set up. Newport Storm, Ocean State Hops, RI Brewers Guild, Revival, Basement Brewhaus were either next to or in close proximity to the RIBS table. It turns out, the RIBS table was located in a “RI” tent – only Longtrail was the non-RI vendor in the tent. Everyone else was in a larger tent perpendicular to our tent. We got our beer on ice, tapped the keg, opened some bottles, placed the “Chris Meringolo YES/NO” survey on the table and let the festivities begin!
The first sitting was super busy – tons of folks from the New England and beyond area came by to chat about their love of beer, sample some homebrew and just be awesome. Folks were sampling Apple Graff (Nate), Battleship Cove IPA (Nate), Better Late Than Never Belgian Dubbel (Jim), How You Doin’ Honey Wheat (Matt), Simcoe Disaster IPA (Nate), and Tasty Mistake Porter (Jim). Some of the attendees could not believe what they were tasting was actually homebrew – as a matter of fact, more than a few people wanted to know if we distributed. Sorry, the Brewfest is the only time you’ll ever taste these particular brews.
Many people signed up for our mailing list or were taking cards so that they might get to know RIBS better – it was very encouraging.We were pouring with wild abandon – Jim “potty buster” was opening bottles with blinding speed while Nate “I hate these f*cking bugs” poured sample after sample. Attendees would ask questions about what they can do to start homebrewing or pick our brains about troubleshooting some of the brews they have at home. One enterprising gentleman proudly showed his realtime fermentation via smartphone display.
During the break, Derek Luke (of Newport Storm / Coastal Extreme Brewing fame) gave us a taste of the pumpkin ale they had on hand. That made me feel like I was someone special.I also sampled an English mild that was fantastic, and some of Revival’s Zeppelin. We did get a chance to try a few others but there was so much going on at the table we couldn’t sample a readily as we would have liked. But hey – we’re workin’, am I right?
Following the break between session, we restocked the table with supplies, called Chris to bring more beer because we were running dangerously low, and prepped ourselves for the attendees that would soon savage the tables with relish.
Unfortunately, the second session consisted of a crowd that was not as interested in the RI brewers and even less in homebrewing. We did get some folks coming by our table but not anywhere close to the frequency of the first session. Also Chris Meringolo showed up so that was a real bummer.
All in all, I think the Brewfest was quite a success. It was a good deal of hard work, but huge amount of fun, too.
I forgot to mention: final tally on the “Chris Meringolo YES/NO” survey is ~20 YES, ~8 NO.
Mission: Makers Faire
Rhode Island Brewing Society had another great time brewing at the Providence, Rhode Island Mini Makers Faire. The event where the RIBS idea was born has only grown as the years have gone on. Celebrating D.I.Y in New England, this event features hands-on making, building, hacking, crafting, and our favorite, brewing beer. We showed up early and pitched our tent in the middle of Empire Street. The only people with more stuff to unload was the crew setting up the stage for AS220′s FooFest. We started off the day with an all grain brewing demonstration. The aroma of boiling grains and our display of brewing ingredients quickly grew a crowd of inquisitive attendees. We had a lot of great conversations about beer and homebrewing as people visited the booth. The crowd continued to grow throughout the day as we switched to an extract brewing demonstration.
Sadly, the day did come to a close and we packed up our supplies with ideas for next year already brewing. We would like to give a big thanks to all of the Makers Faire staff for allowing us to attend and share our passion of brewing. We had great time talking to everyone who came by, and we hope we inspired some future brewers out there. Look forward to seeing everyone next year.