On Saturday 05/23 we attended the Big Shindig Belgian Beer Festival at Doherty’s Ale House in Warwick, RI. I would say it was a definite success based on three main factors.
The first thing, of course, was the selection of draught beers. They had 80 taps going, with 95% of them being Belgian beers or beers done in the Belgian style. Many of these beers you would never see on draught, and may have never even heard of, so the rarity quotient was quite high. Beers like Dubuisson Freres Cuvee des Trolls, Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet and Het Nest KlevereTien were present. All the beers were handled with care, served at the proper temperature in the proper glassware.
The second thing was that you could order each beer in a 4 oz, 8 oz or 12 oz size, allowing you to sample beers without ordering entire flights. In my case, I was able to order 8 oz “half-pours” which allowed me to get more beers throughout the night (I think I tried 11 in total).
The last thing was that every beer was numbered 1-80, which made ordering a breeze. Rather than trying to pronounce “De La Senne Jambe De Boise” and hoping the waiter understood your butchered Belgian, you just ordered a #41. This made the bartenders lives much easier as well, as each tap handle was simply numbered, so they didn’t have to learn the 80 new beers that were brought in just for this event. The group I was with ordered many beers (needless to say) and the entire night they only got one wrong. The best part was they let us have that one for free, so no one minds that type of mistake.
Overall this was a great event that I hope they have again. There was plenty of seating, as they set up a tent outside to expand capacity, and as far as I could tell none of the taps had run out even though we were there on the second night of the festival. Clearly the whole shindig was well planned, well executed and well-liked.