On March 18, we kicked off our take on March Madness: The Favorite Rhode Island Beer Bar Bracket. The Sweet 16 featured eight “teams” from Providence/Warwick and eight other superb watering holes from all over our tiny but potent state. After five days of frenzied voting, which included a few very close finishes, the results are in and we’re ready to present the next round — the Elite 8.
In case you missed the initial pairings, here’s the Sweet 16 bracket:
And now, the Elite 8 [we wanted to advance the teams on the Sweet 16 layout but had to make a new bracket because Free Bracket Generator.com refuses to generate free brackets today]:
And here are the nicknames we hatched for the teams:
Doherty’s Ale House Partiers • Doherty’s East Ave Freezeouts • Julians Juggernauts • Mews Tavern 69ers • Pour Judgement Deciders • Stevie D’s Wonders • Track 84 Porters • What Cheer Netops
The Elite 8 will run through Wednesday [3.25], so spread the word and support your faves. The Final Four will face off from Thursday [3.26] through Sunday [3.29]. And the two finalists will do battle in the Championship Game from Monday [3.30] till Wednesday [4.1]. Rhode Island’s Favorite Beer Bar will be announced on Thursday, April 2.
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Beer Advocate’s 12th Annual Extreme Beer Fest , the self-proclaimed “ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity,” was held at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston on March 20 and 21, with 70-plus breweries pouring a jaw-dropping list of rare and boundary-stretching beers at three sessions. The EBF is an invitational event, and Rhode Island was proudly represented by Foolproof Brewing Company and Proclamation Ale Co. We asked Nick Garrison and Dave Witham for their perspectives on the one-of-a-kind weekend.
Nick said: “Extreme Beer Fest was an incredible experience for the Foolproof team, and we were honored by the opportunity to represent Rhode Island craft beer at the festival. The reception to our beers was really positive, and I think we expanded people’s views on our brewery and the type of beers we are capable of brewing. Our peanut butter porter was the biggest hit, though Pineapple Prince — cask IPA aged on half a pineapple and dry hopped with Citra and Amarillo — was a close second. We also were pouring a keg of Vintage Revery 2013 from our very first batch ever [which tasted amazing, by the way] and La Ferme Urbaine Wild Oak — our farmhouse ale soured in a Woodford Reserve barrel over six months. There were so many amazing offerings from breweries all over the country, both obscure and well-known. [Dogfish Head founder and president] Sam Calagione and the Alström brothers [Beer Advocate founders Jason and Todd] also stopped by our booth to hang out and try our beers — that was a special moment for me and the team. The EBF experience reminded me how lucky I am to work in such a fun and collaborative industry.”
And Dave shared these words: “We had an awesome time at EBF. We were totally thrilled to be invited [as such a small brewery], and it’s so incredibly crazy and surreal to be pouring beers alongside many of these breweries and brewers that we look up to and idolize. The people in the brewing community are so friendly and welcoming as a whole, and there was a great feeling of camaraderie between all the people in the industry, no matter the size of the brewery, big or small. From a small brewery’s perspective, the fest was fantastic. We noticed a definite trend throughout every session: at the start, we would be pretty dead [no lines at all], but as the session continued we would get busier and busier. Word would start to spread about certain beers we were pouring, and the eventgoers would start coming around to find those beers. In particular, our Derivative, and Harper I Apricot were the most popular with the attendees. From an eventgoers’ perspective, the sessions were filled with so many great beers. I commented to many of the brewers/workers/attendees that this brewfest in particular had such a high quality level of liquid. I drank probably around 50 different samples of beer throughout all three sessions, and for the first time at any fest, there were no beers that I didn’t finish. That’s incredible [hey, I’m pretty critical and picky]. I had awesome beers from The Rare Barrel, Night Shift, Allagash, Crux Fermentation Project, 4 Hands, Right Brain, Jackie O’s, Night Shift, OEC, Treehouse, Due South, and a ton more. It seems like all of the breweries are escalating their game, and it’s so excellent for craft, as well as the craft consumer. Overall, an excellent time. We got to meet a ton of awesome people [including Sam Calagione, who came by the booth for a few minutes to hang out!), drink a ton of awesome beers, and just relax and realize that we are in one of the greatest goddamn industries while it’s in its golden age. We’re supremely lucky and we got to enjoy ourselves while…working? (Wait, this is work?)
“P.S. Go buy some Derivative in the stores later this week when it drops.”