Craft brew tap house to open at Four Corners

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BENNINGTON — A home-brewer for a number of years, Seth Barrows said he hoped to open a business upon retiring from the military, and the craft brewing business was naturally his top choice.

The Arlington resident said this week that another easy choice was to locate his brewery and tap room, to be called Farm Road Brewing, in downtown Bennington.

Interior and exterior renovations are underway in the building at 400 Main St. — the corner of Main and North streets at the Four Corners — and Barrows said he expects to open in the fall.

He said that having several small breweries and craftbrew pubs or taverns, plus a planned spirits distillery, in the downtown should put his business "on the map" when craft beverage fan tours are being contemplated.

"I knew I wanted to be here," he said.

Barrows and his wife, Marsha, and daughter, Lauren, were at the site Friday to point out where the bar, food prep area and other features of the business space will be located. They said plans call for taking out what were office partitions in the center of the space to open things up in front of the wide expanses of window.

The building's owner, Astrum, LLC, has been doing mostly exterior work for more than a month in anticipation of the new business, which will replace Bennington Green Grow Wellness Center in that space. But Barrows said he wait to make his announcement until his complete financing plan was in place — including a loan of about $250,000 through the Vermont Economic Development Authority program.

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FALL OPENING

Barrows said he plans to open in early fall and will do all the brewing himself at first, utilizing a "four barrel system" for craft beers. A barrel could produce 31 gallons to a batch, he said, adding that for comparison, Madison Brewing Co. Pub & Restaurant on Main Street has a seven-barrel system, and Harvest Brewing on South Street at the Four Corners has a one-barrel system.

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The business will be hiring bartending and wait staff, he said.

In addition to brewing his own beer, Barrows said he took a six-month American Brewers Guild program in Middlebury, one of the three best known such courses in the U.S.

Food will be offered in cooperation with Ramuntos on Main Street, Barrows said, with the restaurant doing the cooking and food prep done in a compact kitchen space near the bar area in his tap room. The tap room will have its own menu, he said.

Barrows said he will retire soon from 26 years in the military, including with the active duty Navy and now with the New York Air National Guard, where he participated in flights to and from Antarctica transporting supplies for long-term scientific research projects.

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He said he grew up in Dorset and moved back to this area in 1999.

ON THE BREW MAP

When word of a new craft brewery at the Four Corners became public last month, John Shannahan, executive director of the Better Bennington Corp., said the growing cluster of pubs and breweries in the downtown is exactly what craft beverage enthusiasts look for in planning day trips to Vermont or longer vacations. The state, he said, now has a national reputation in the craft brew world.

He noted that Madison's Brewing Co. Pub & Restaurant is located at 428 Main St., and the owners also own the 421 Craft Bar and Kitchen at 421 Main St. which was preparing to open with the coronavirus epidemic slowed the economy in the early spring.

In addition, Harvest Brewing, is located at 201 South St., near the Four Corners intersection; Village Garage, a spirits distillery and tap house is under construction at 107 Depot St. in the former town highway garage building. And a cidery reportedly is planned in the former Bennington Brush building off North Street.

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont, including the Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal. Twitter: @BB_therrien


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