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Achieve brew bliss!

Beervana raises the bar — again! Plus, the fest's complete beer list!
By LOU PAPINEAU  |  October 9, 2014

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There’s no such thing as a bad beer fest. But there are very few great beer fests. As you should know by now, Beervana is a great beer fest. As we state in this space every year, it’s an overwhelming array, a bevy of ultra-rare/exclusive/unique/simply excellent liquid gold poured by pros — owners, brewmasters, distributors — who pride themselves on raising the bar for better beer. (In contrast: at a recent fest, we asked the names of the beers from a small brewery that were on tap; the server had no idea, described one as a “malt liquor,” and proceeded to hand over a few ounces of pure foam.) And you get to sample some of the world’s finest brews, compare notes with fellow enthusiasts, and have a helluva great time.

Let’s run the stats: the sixth annual Beervana, which raises its own bar every year (cheers to beer wranglers Nikki’s Liquors co-owner Mike Iannazzi, Julian’s general manager Brian Oakley), is at Rhodes-On-the-Pawtuxet (60 Rhodes Pl, Cranston) on Friday, October 17 from 6:30-10 pm. The fest will host 60 breweries, who will bring 185 beers. With two-ounce pours, let’s say you can try about 15-20 percent of the offerings (with that designated driver/Uber ride lined up), so you need a game plan. (And with so many choices, maybe the fest can expand to a Friday and Saturday session. Please?)

Potential highlights? Ummm, there are many. Here are some:  Southern Tier has concocted the  Quahog Special Ale , a cream ale made with a new Aussie hop, Vic Secret, which is exclusive to Beervana and Providence Craft Beer Week events;  North Coast will export  Puck , a “petite saison” which has only been available in CA;  Oskar Blues will pour  Death By Coconut and  Four Roses Bourbon Barrel-Aged Gubna ; Long Trail will bring its  25th Anniversary Ale , a blend of bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Porter and rye whiskey barrel-aged Culmination Dark Chocolate Porter;  Sierra Nevada will present its 12  Beer Camp collabs, which means NinkasiNew GlarusCigar CityBell's , and  Russian River will be making their RI debuts;  Dogfish , the fest’s main sponsor, will unearth some 2011  Fort , a raspberry juice-fueled ale, and the mighty  Burton Baton , a superb mix of an English-style old ale and an imperial IPA, delivered through their Randall device which will add the essence of whole cone Citra hops;  Smuttynose will unleash  Shebang , an 11% ABV triple IPA, and  Brett & I , fermented in a Belgian yeast strain and aged in red wine barrels; co-sponsor Victory will pour  Wild Devil IPA , aka Hop Devil with brett (gonna be lots of brett flying ’round Rhodes!). And there’s always a crowd at the B. United International and Shelton Brothers Importers tables, with good reason. This year the former will offer  Del Borgo Caos , made with 25% wine must (line up early — there are only two 750ml bottles) and a vintage 2006  Aventinus ; the Sheltons will share Finland’s  Huvila X-PorterJolly Pumpkin ’s  Oro de Calabaza (a golden ale fermented in oak and aged in Chardonnay barrels), and eight other beauties.

And what about the locals?  Brutopia will make its Beervana debut with five brews;  Foolproof will unveil  Queen of the Yahd (an IPA aged on raspberries),  Chocolate Drew (an IPA with cocoa from Garrison Chocolates),  Joaktoberfest (the Augtoberfest festbier ages in a Sons of Liberty whiskey barrel), and  BigS (an English-style strong ale);  Grey Sail will introduce  Captain’s Daughter , their new year-round double IPA, plus  Dark Star, Blend 1 , a Belgian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, and  Flotsam and Brettsam , an IPA with brett;  Newport Storm ’s  Annual Release ’14 , made with 1300 gallons of melted snow (!?), was made with hefeweizen yeast and packs an 11.4% ABV punch;  Proclamation is bringing  Zzzlumber , its “Dutch-style Imperial Stout”; the new hop-soaked Derivative pale ale;  Starpower , a brett beer fermented in oak barrels; and  Jelly Donut , its collab with Grey Sail, a Berliner Weisse which can be mixed with juicy syrups for your sipping pleasure;  Revival will be pumping its  White Electric Coffee Stout , made with New Harvest coffee beans, on nitro, plus its core beers; and  Trinity Brewhouse will mix it up with  Belgian StrawberryWonka’s Chocolate Porter , and a Double  Barrel IPA (on cask).

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