Peanut butter cup stout and Ramunto's take top billing at Southern Vermont Wings and Winter Homebrew Festival

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BENNINGTON — Local brewers and restaurants came together for the first Southern Vermont Wings and Winter Homebrew Festival on Saturday afternoon.

Due to the success of the summer brewing event, coordinators decided to form a winter event to get people together outside of their houses, according to co-coordinator William Gardner, brewer at Madison's Brewing Company.

New and old faces participated. The event was sold out, and some people had to be turned away at the door as Masonic Hall can only hold up to 300 people.

Planning for the event began in January and everything came together quickly, Gardner said.

"What's cool about this event is that brewers have multiple brews," Gardner explained. "Instead of voting for the best beverage, people get to vote for the best home brewer."

Jeremy Meerworth won the brewery contest. He presented a peanut butter cup stout, Vermont style IPA, and pilsner. The stout was so popular that Meerworth ran dry by the end of the festival.

"This was the first time I'd ever offered the brew to the public," Meerworth said about his win. "I'm humbled."

Ramunto's won best wings in the region.

Both winners were given a certificate, as was the runner-up of the brew contest.

James Casey of Knot in the Grain Craft Brewery was named as the runner-up for voters pick in best home brewery. He brought a Maplewood Grilled Peach Saison, Triple IPA, chocolate coffee blackberry porter, a sour green apple brew with sour patch kids, ice cider and bacon smoked red ale with blueberries and sweet peppers.

Attendees voted on which brewery they thought had the best mixtures, along with which restaurant they thought had the best chicken wings.

Different variations of brewed beer, cider, mead, braggot, and even wine were available for consumption. A total of 19 tables held a variety of brews for people to try.

Gardner reported that there was home breweries from not only Vermont and nearby New York, but also from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and even one from Connecticut.

Harmon Hill Brewing, Goodfellas Brewery, Lanning Brewery, and Hopstead Farm Brewing were among some of the participants.

Wings were available from local restaurants: JC's Tavern, Ramunto's Brick Oven Pizza, the Tap House at Catamount Glass, Madison's, and Kevin's Sports Pub and Restaurant.

"People want to see events like this, where people can come together," Gardner said.

Gardner hoped that the event would lead people to explore downtown Bennington, and to see what the area has to offer — as people from greater New England attended.

The annual summer homebrew festival, Four Corners North, will be held on August 5 as part of the Bennington Arts Weekend. For more information visit the "4 Corners North Homebrew Festival" Facebook page.


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