BENNINGTON — The Southern Vermont Homebrew Festival, cancelled in 2020, will return for 2021, the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce announced Monday. The sixth annual event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 7 from noon to 4 p.m. on Depot Street in Bennington.
“We are excited to be back with the Vermont governor’s announcement that things will return to some sort of normal by July 4th,” Matt Harrington, executive director of the chamber, said in a release. “We have partnered again with Hopridge [Farms] and Will Gardner to produce an eclectic festival which is about brew, summer, music and friends.”
Harrington said there will be many changes to the festival this year to make it as safe as possible. These include increased spacing, and one-use disposable or recyclable cups.
“We are in constant communication with the Vermont Department of Health and our local medical center to ensure that we provide a safe, fun and healthy event for everyone,” he said.
“Our brewers are so anxious to return to Bennington for another home brew festival,” Gardner said. “Having missed the Summer 2020 and Winter 2021 Festivals, they are chomping at the bit to share their delicious beverages to a crowd, safely of course.”
Organizers last year postponed, and ultimately cancelled, the summer and winter festivals in accordance with Gov. Phil Scott’s executive orders meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The festival offers patrons unlimited sampling of home-brewed beer, wine, mead, cider and more, plus entertainment and food from the area’s food trucks. The event will require a ticket for entrance, and VIP tickets will be sold to allow participants into the event an hour early to try rare and limited beverages.
Tickets are limited, and are available at www.vthomebrewfests.com. General admission tickets are $40, VIP tickets are $55, and “designated driver” tickets that do not allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages are $15.
Gardner said previous Homebrew Festivals have seen the emergence of professional-quality beers and amateur brewers from across the region.
“When we began to partner with the chamber we had this vision of creating an ecosystem and testing ground for home brewers to showcase their brews, get feedback and grow,” he said. “Over the past 5 years we have seen many of our amateur brewers enter into the professional industry with one being a head brewer at a local shop, while three others have opened up their own breweries — one here in Bennington (Farm Road Brewing), another in Fort Edward, N.Y. (Slick Fin Brewing Company), and yet another in Queensbury, N.Y. (Bloodville Brewery).”
Sean Dunleavy had also been a participant at the festivals while opening Harvest Brewing on South Street in Bennington.
“From the start of these festivals and now seeing the landscape five years later, we’re witnessing some very talented players in the brewing arena pop up,” Harrington said. “With Bennington’s proximity to areas like the Capital Region, Hudson Valley, the Berkshires, New York City, and Boston being so close, it makes sense to have more action here in Southwestern Vermont, considering where we are geographically.
“I am amazed that at every Homebrew event the beer is as good if not better than commercial beer. The home brewers from our region are as good as they come,” he said.
Vendors at the Summer Homebrew Festival will also be on hand selling local art, chocolates, hot sauces, kimchi and more. Past vendors have included Audreys Art, Hoppy Valley, Outdoor Secrets Unwrapped Hot Sauces, That’s Different Chocolates, and Rooted In Vermont: Vermont Farm to Plate Network.
The festival will feature multiple food trucks that focus on classic American food, as well as southern barbeque. Several bands will be performing.
Sponsors include TPW, The Bank of Bennington, Farm Road Brewing, the Bennington Banner and CAT-TV.