R.I. Brew Fest returns with bigger Pawtucket flair than ever

R.I. Brew Fest returns with bigger Pawtucket flair than ever

Bryan Vitorino, of North Providence, samples one of the beers at last year’s Rhode Island Brew Fest. The event returns to the Pawtucket Armory on Jan. 27. (Breeze photo by Bill Murphy)

PAWTUCKET – City breweries will play their biggest role to date at this year’s Rhode Island Brew Fest, set to return to the Pawtucket Armory, 172 Exchange St. on Saturday, Jan. 27.

This is the sixth year that the beer festival has sold out. Last year, the last ticket sold by Jan. 19. This year, all tickets were gone by early December, according to Matt Gray, owner of Gray Matter Marketing and the operator of the festival.

For those who did secure a coveted spot, tickets are good only for the specific session for which they were purchased, either the 1 to 4 p.m. session or the 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. session.

Many Blackstone Valley residents will be among the 1,200 people attending the two sessions on Jan. 27, sampling beers from dozens of breweries, including host city craft brewers Foolproof Brewing, Bucket Brewery and Crooked Current Brewery.

Breweries from The Guild, newly opened in Pawtucket last year, will also be in attendance, as will Cranston-based Buttonwoods Brewery and Ragged Island Brewing Company, the brewery that Gray manages in Portsmouth.

If all licenses come through for North Providence-based Providence Brewing Company, owner Efren Hidalgo and his crew will also be at the festival.

The Armory, said Gray, remains a “perfect venue.” He said he enjoys maintaining the exclusive nature of the event and the hot annual ticket for what has become a winter tradition.

“Pawtucket has long been challenging Providence as the cultural capital of the state, and the recent renovations to the Pawtucket Armory helps put Pawtucket closer to the top,” states the R.I. Brew Fest website, www.ribrewfest.com .

There are no officially designated parking areas for those attending the beer festival, but recommended lots include the park and ride lot just off Route 95, the Pawtucket City Hall parking lot, and the Valley Community School lot.