Tasty racks of Ribs at the Rib'N Brews Festival
Welcome to Lowell, the home of the UMASS Lowell Riverhawks, my alma mater, the land of the free, the birthplace of the Lowell Rib'n Brews Festival.
The City of Lowell along with the New England Barbecue Society sponsored a two day Kansas City-style barbecue competition at the Tsongas Arena Grounds on Saturday, September 9th, 12:00pm -12:00am and on Sunday, September 10th, 12:00pm – 6:00pm. This two-day event also includes a microbrew challenge, food for sampling and sale, and live entertainment from some of Boston’s top bands.
Patrons can watch the barbecue competition unfold as chefs baste, season and grill their way to the State title on every type of barbecue equipment imaginable including huge trailer-mounted barbecue pits, kettle grills and water smokers. The winners of the contest will receive a proclamation from the Massachusetts Governor as the State’s Best Barbecue Cooker as well as invitations to two national competitions.
New England Microbrew Championship
In addition to the barbecue competition, the Rib’N Brews Festival will feature the New England Microbrew Championship. More than fifteen microbreweries will participate including, Red Hook, Smuttynose, Shipyard Ale, Concord Brewery, Wachusett, Harpoon, Magic Hat Brewery, Smithwicks Ale, Ipswich Brewery, The Tap Brewery and more. The cost for sampling beers in the Microbrew Challenge is $20.00. Participants will receive a complimentary glass, twelve 4oz. samplers and a ballot sheet to vote for their favorite beer/brewery.
(Others: Sierra Nevada, Long Trail, Buzzard Bay Brewing)
I attended this event with Lisa, Amber, and Ignace. We arrived at the festival at 12:30 and learned that the Microbrew Challenge didn't start until 1:30. I was perplexed. I had to leave at 2:30 for a hockey game and I wanted to check out the event, see which beers would be offered, and do a little networking.
After asking the event staff, they allowed me into the tent to speak with the breweries while they were setting up their booth. I started by getting my bearings... Berkshire, Concord Brewery, and Wachusett were in my direct line of sight. I made a b-line for Berkshire (who appeared to be all setup) and started a discussion.
Being my first time at an event like this, I wasn't too sure what I was going to say, but I knew that I wanted to put the 2beerguy.com name out there...explain who we are, share our love for beer, and to promote our website.
I continued on discussions with Niles from Harpoon, Jeremy from Magic Hat, Wayne from Wachusett, Raz & Dave from Concord Brewery, and Eric & Company from Anheuser - Busch (representing Redhook, Widmer Brothers, and their other microbrew offerings) .
As always, Niles was a wealth of knowledge and always likes to discuss beer. His enthusiasm for beer and microbrews does not go unnoticed with this beer guy.
I discussed the 2Beerguys with Wayne (Tours Master at Wachusett - if you are in Westminster, go visit), Raz & Dave from Concord Brewery, and Steve from Magic Hat. I hope that they check out the website and let give us some feedback.
While discussing with the Anheuser - Busch guys, I was introduced to Eric Hanson, the President & CEO of D.J Reardon Company, Exclusive Anheuser - Busch Wholesaler. I had a very interesting discussion with Eric about the website and our goals. He asked questions about our goals and the market that we were in. I explained that it was our mission to help educate friends and family about the amazing microbrews at our disposal.
I was rather disappointed in the other breweries for not having a presence at this event, maybe next year. The microbrew market is only growing. With more of our friends taking the step, the future is bright.
During this event, Amber, Lisa, and Ignace had an amazing time. Ignace mentioned multiple times that this was one of the best days ever. I have to agree. Good beer, Friends, being out doors, and Microbrews. For those who missed this event, hopefully you can wait until next year. I know that I can't.