This weekend was the Great International Beer Festival in Providence, RI. Ben and I have attended the last 2 years with our friends Deanna and Eric, so this year makes 3 straight years. Woo! I know this has been mostly a running blog, but I figure there have got to be other running beer lovers like me out there. Amiright?
To start things off on the right foot, I went for my long run on Saturday morning–7.1 miles. Another distance record, baby, yeah! And the crazy thing is, if I’d had my hydration belt like I was supposed to (d’oh!), I probably could have gone longer. Half Marathon, here I come! Anyway, then it was stretch, roll, shower, and hit the road! I got a breakfast sammie at Dunks and we picked up our buddy Pete, who was road tripping down with us.
We dropped Pete off in Arlington and got to our friends’ place in Mansfield, MA at about 2:30. We spent some quality catch-up time together, then hopped in the car for the half hour-ish drive to Providence. We went to Luxe Burger Bar for dinner. You can build your own burger, and they have about 6 different burger options, 4 different bun options, endless toppings, sauces, and cheese stuffed tater tots. Holy delish! Unfortunately, Luxe was having an off night–lots of drunken jerks who had obviously caught the early session of the brewer’s fest, and some major diva action from other patrons. We ate quickly and headed on over to the beer fest.
Sadly, it seemed like many fewer breweries were taking part this year–a couple of notable absences were Brooklyn Brewery, which is one of our favorites who has been there in past years, and Foolproof, which is actually a Rhode Island brewery. Weird. Apparently there was a craft brew festival happening in Boston this weekend too, so maybe that explains it.
Regardless, some of our favorites were there, including Lagunitas. They are a CA brewery and I have never had a beer from them I didn’t like. My favorite of their samples was the Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale, but their regular Lagunitas IPA is one of my all-time favorite beers. After many, many samples and some really unique finds (grapefruit Shandy by Traveller and a Ginger beer called Crabbies by Six Point), we decided to head home much earlier than usual.
Deanna and I napped in the car, and on the way home was stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings. Best. Idea. Ever. I was pleasantly buzzed but not sloppy, but I switched to water when we got home anyway. I chugged 2 16 oz bottles while we played the board game Quelf (ridiculous and fun with the right group of people). We ended up going to bed around 12:30 because Ben fell asleep watching TV.
On Sunday morning, we slept in a bit, then hit the Cafe on the Common in Mansfield for brunch. We didn’t have to wait for a table, and the place was very cute. Great staff, amazing food, and good prices. I got the Fenway Omelet, which has sausage, mozzarella, peppers and onions, with an English muffin and sinfully good homefries. Then it was back in the car. We picked Pete up in Arlington and hit the road.
The real bonus was that we stopped at the LL Bean Outlet in Concord, NH, and I scored a pair of flip-flops for $9.99 and two pairs of Smart Wool running socks for $7.99 a piece—that’s less than half price, guys! Seriously, if you live near Concord, you should check it out. They didn’t have a huge selection of running socks in Medium, but I just got two pairs of the same color. Total win.
It was a jam-packed weekend, and I had a wonderful time. It was awesome to see Deanna and Eric, and even though the Brew Fest had a few disappointments, it’s hard to be upset about sampling dozens of tasty beers and spending time with your friends. Now I’m just hoping we can score tickets for the Vermont Brew Fest in July–tickets typically sell out within hours!
Have you ever been to a brew fest? What’s your favorite beer?