Winter Homebrew Festival Returns to Bennington
The Bennington Regional Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Hopridge Farms, will be joining forces again to present the third annual Southern Vermont Winter Homebrew Festival on Saturday, March 9, at the former LaFlamme’s, 239 West Main Street, downtown Bennington. The festival, which has won a coveted Top 10 Vermont Winter Event Award for two years in a row, has invited the area’s top home brewers to bring their very best home-brewed beer, cider, mead, braggot and wine for a chance to be crowned Best Home Brewery. Area restaurants have been asked to submit their best chicken wings for the chance to be crowned Best Regional Wings, a crown currently held by two-time champion Ramunto’s Pizza.
The Festival will open its doors at 12 noon to exclusive VIP ticket holders for a private tasting of wings and brews. General tickets get patrons in from 1 to 4 p.m., and can be purchased online at bennington.com/homebrew, or at the door. Each ticket holder receives a commemorative glass, the chance to try the brews and wings, and the ability to vote for the winners of each.
“This has become a yearly event that people throughout the region and in other states look forward to,” states Matt Harrington, executive director of the Regional Chamber. Last year saw a crowd of 450 patrons and with advance ticket sales making up a majority of those tickets, and the event sold out within 30 minutes of the doors opening. Based on last year’s online tickets sales, 80 percent of ticket holders came from outside of Bennington County to enjoy the Festival.
“We know how popular this event was for us last year and the year before; our main goal is to continue to grow in space, new brews, best wings and have fun in the winter season!” adds Harrington. “We’re hoping to see a crowd between 500 to 600 this time around. We think moving to an even larger venue, the former LaFlamme’s, will help us increase that number. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t buy their tickets ahead of time; this is a very popular event and we have already seen our ticket sales grow from last year at this point.”
Will Gardner, Hopridge Farms owner/operator and brewery manager at Madison Brewing Company, added, “We are working to entrench the craft beer movement here in Southern Vermont, and what better way than to showcase the next wave of professional brewers. I am amazed that at every homebrew event I organize, the beer is as good if not better than commercial beer.”
“This is additionally a great way for our member restaurants to go head to head in a wing-off,” encourages Harrington. “In all honesty, this is also a great way to showcase their businesses, talk with customers, bring menus and really have fun with the community coming out and enjoying a good time. We think it’s a win-win-win for all and that’s what the Chamber is all about!”
Vendors will also be on hand selling everything from hops, books on brewing, chocolates, hot sauces, and more. Winter Homebrew merchandise is always a hot item and will be available again this year. Tickets are very limited and are
projected to sell out fast so, if you’re interested, get them now! For further information, visit