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Brewfest Deemed a Success | News

NEWPORT-The Newport Chamber of Commerce held its 8th Nano-Brewfest this past Saturday.

Another successful Newport Nano-Brewfest saw guests from as far as Massachusetts, California, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. The annual event invited 13 different nano-breweries from around New England, as well as a number of food trucks in the region.

The event has been a popular outing for the town of Newport and has been successful for the Chamber of Commerce. Tables of six at the event could be rented for the day for $200 with individual tickets costing $40. The money raised from the event goes into the coffers for the chamber, and is then used for other well-known events in town such as the Winter Carnival, Concerts On The Common, and Wheels & Wings.

Steve Smith, owner and operator of Main Street Radio known for WCNL Country, and Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, started the Newport Brewfest nine years ago. Over the years the premise and design has changed a bit but the heart of the brew fest, showcasing the town of Newport, has not. Originally the Brewfest brought in larger, more widely known breweries in the area such as Long Trail and Shipyard. Smith had the idea to put nano-breweries into the spotlight.

“Those bigger breweries are obviously great, but I noticed a contingent of smaller breweries were absent from events like these. So two or three years ago we decided to switch to the nano-breweries,” Smith said of the change.

Nano-breweries, a perfect fit for the quaint small town event, are smaller breweries that only brew up to 15,000 gallons of beer each year. Due to the inherently small nature of the operation, the brewers are often the owners as well. This, Smith says, is perfect for the type of event the town has hosted.

“People get to sit and talk to the owner, talk shop. They can talk about what kinds of hops they might have used, or the grains. Really get to know the owners and it makes for a much more fun and personal experience,” Smith said.

The event saw many of the same breweries it has invited in the past. Nano-breweries like Polyculture Brewing Company from Croydon, whose most popular beer of the day was their Maple Amber featuring local maple syrup, and Concord Craft Brewing. They were also excited to bring in new companies such as Protectworth Brewing from Springfield NH and Feathered Friend from Concord. Smith takes great care to coordinate with the breweries to find out which beers are selling the best, while also giving something less typical a chance, for example Long Blue Cat brought their Orange Creamsicle beer, which was a great success.

“It’s our favorite beer fest — not just because it is so close. It’s smaller so people attending can really talk to the breweries about their beer and learn about what makes them unique, but there is still plenty of great beer. This fest is great for the community — there was a lot of crossover with the Mural fest on the other side of the green. It also gets breweries from around the state to our community to share their beer and reach a wider audience,” said Polyculture Brewing co-owner Chris Prost.

Like many events, the Newport Nano-Brew Fest saw changes due to COVD-19. In previous years, the Newport Common would have one large tent under which every brewery would set up tables. This could often be loud and hot, but still very fun, Smith mentioned. With the social distancing that the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated however, the Chamber had to come up with a new design. They decided on a farmers market style event in which each brewer would have their own tent spaced around the common, a welcome change for brewers and attendees alike.

“It’s one of those things if you like experiencing different kinds of beers. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about what types there are. The days of drinking schlitz are gone and over, that there’s almost a beer for anybody. Great way to sample and figure out what you like,” Smith said to anyone considering attending next year’s event.

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