So my friends Craige and Jeff came up from NYC to attend the BeerFest America in Providence with me. These are the best folks in the world to attend a beer fest with, as they really know their stuff when it comes to beer. That, and like me, they don’t believe that more hops equal better beer. In my world, a beer should be pleasantly balanced between the sweet maltiness of the grain and the bitter dryness of hops. Too often, brewers are now throwing more and more hops at mediocre beers in hopes of attracting more business, as right now, hops sell.
But anyhow, so that’s where I was Saturday afternoon, in Providence with two of my dear friends, trying new beers and expanding my palate. Hence my approval of the shirt pictured above, and why I prefer not to drink mainstream beer. If that’s what you like, then fine. But I personally want more flavor to my beer than what Budweiser offers. I had my first Bud a couple months ago, and I was appalled. It tasted like carbonated water with a tiny bit of beer flavor added as an afterthought. Yuck.
The problem with the fest, however, was it seemed like the three of us seemed to be the only ones there for a serious purpose. Everyone else seemed to be recently turned 21, and out to get as drunk as possible on a Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t believe what some people were wearing. One guy whom I saw even before we walked in to the fest had on a t-shirt on which you could see a person vomiting. Seriously?! A lot of the girls there had plenty of flesh on display, and most of the men had on very offensive, sexually-themed shirts.
Look, I know I’m coming off sounding like a complete prude, and I’m really not. I seem to be rather well-endowed in the chestal region, and I do wear shirts to accentuate the positive. However, my stuff isn’t hanging out. And I sure as hell don’t wear shirts that are full of blatant sexuality. I do own a shirt that I acquired in college that is somewhat questionable. On the front, it reads: “Looking for a good time?” And the back says, “Go down on First East” — which was the name of the floor on which I lived in the residence hall. It was an all-girls’ floor (all floors at my college were single-sex, though the dorms themselves could be co-ed), so it was even funnier. But that’s still mild in comparison to what most of the guys were wearing yesterday — and let me tell you, that shirt has been relegated to the back of my closet. I keep it for sentimental reasons. I wouldn’t dream of wearing it out in public, unless I was on a college campus.
I’m assuming the beer fest was pretty much a large-scale frat party. I figured out early on that I didn’t want to be one of “those girls” at frat parties in college, so I decided to find better things to do on my Friday and Saturday nights. Sometimes that involved reading a novel all night long, but at least I wasn’t getting drunk on Natty Light. Yuck. Maybe I knew back then I’d only like the decent beers.
This is how ridiculous the beer fest got: It was getting close to the end of the show (they had an afternoon show and an evening showing, and in retrospect I am so glad we went to the afternoon one), when all of a sudden our eardrums were assaulted by the howling of a hundred or more drunk male throats. WHY. Why do drunk people have this need to be as loud as possible?! I couldn’t believe how long this note was held and sustained, and it seemed to get louder the longer it went on. It must have been at least a minute, and the note hit my eardrums just at the right frequency so as to make it feel like they were close to bursting. Ugh.
All this is not to say I didn’t have fun. I found new beers and breweries I’d never heard of before, and I was finally able to try one of the extreme beers put out by the brewery that is literally a half mile from my house. I’d always been nervous to buy a six-pack because what if I hated it?? But I love it, and I picked up a six-pack of it at the package store this afternoon. (Rhode Island has these crazy laws where if you brew on-premises, you can only sell it at a bar, like a brewpub, or sell it in growlers. If you package it in bottles or cans or kegs for distribution, you cannot sell it at the brewery. It hurts the brain to think about, but that’s Rhode Island for you — another state in which I cannot buy beer in the grocery store, and instead have to make a separate trip to a liquor store. Gah.) We also stopped by one of my favorite package stores in Massachusetts that has a huge craft beer selection, and I was able to find some of my new favorite beers there.
But the best beer of all at the fest was one brewed by a brewpub in Providence, and isn’t packaged for distribution. Bahhhh. It was done by the Trinity Brewhouse, and it was their White Electric Stout. Who knew I’d like a stout?? But I did indeed, and I wish I could get hold of more. Ah well. Apparently a trip to Providence is in order.
Remind me next time to research my beer fests a bit better, so I can attend one in which people actually appreciate beer, instead of using it as the quickest means to get stupidly drunk.