It’s open season for beer as dozens of brewers offer their wares
The threat of rain didn’t discourage a sold-out crowd of beer lovers at the 18th annual Killington Brewfest.
Crowds gathered even before the Snowshed Lodge doors opened at 1 p.m. Saturday to celebrate one of the mountain’s most distinctive annual events. Visitors received an 8-ounce mason tasting jar and were set loose to explore the lodge, where nearly 60 brewers poured out their finest selections.
The event hosted breweries from across Vermont, as well as some crafters from California, Maine, Utah, Rhode Island, Michigan and Colorado.
Jamie Maxwell brought a sample of Oktoberfest from Harpoon Brewery of Windsor. For those who love the taste of fall, but aren’t as attracted to the bitterness that can come with some beers, he suggests Harpoon’s “basic” cider.
“It’s just apple cider that comes in off the truck,” he said. “Then we mix it with our ale yeast.”
Harpoon Craft Cider is an all-natural cider and there are no treatments or additions, according to Maxwell.
Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state. Switchback Brewing Company of Burlington, Magic Hat Brewing Company of South Burlington, Citizen Cider of Essex, Otter Creek Brewing of Middlebury, Drop-In Brewing Company of Middlebury and Wolaver’s Organic Brewing of Middlebury all came to Killington to represent the state.
Long Trail Brewing Company of Bridgewater Corners, one of southern Vermont’s most recognized brewers, was also present. For brewmaster David Hartmann, the creative process is challenging, but rewarding.
“We make beer that we think we’re going to love and we hope everyone else will love as well,” he said.
Long Trail premiered its newest India Pale Ale, or IPA, dubbed “Limbo” — created with new breeds of hops coming from Australia and the Pacific Northwest. The debut was a success, largely due to its freshness in the market.
“It’s a beer festival,” Hartmann said. “People are looking for whatever’s new and exciting. Most people aren’t looking for their old favorites.”
Many northern Vermont breweries came south for the event, including Trapp Lager Brewery from Stowe. Assistant brewer Tom Everett brought four beverages: Dunkel, Helles, Vienna and Oktoberfest.
Many of the ales Everett brews have deep roots in Germany.
“We use German hops, German malts,” he said. “We just really focus on replicating the smooth, great layers.”
Helles, which means bright in German, was a fan favorite, he said. Of the four beers, this is Trapp’s only filtered lager.
Northshire Brewery, based in Bennington, was also present with four ales and stouts, including its Northshire Chocolate Stout.
Northshire brewer Chris Mayne explained how the brews all have different inspirations, from the English-inspired Battenkill Ale to the Sicilian Pale Ale, made with blood oranges and Emmar grains.
Over the years, Killington Brewfest has expanded. The event now runs three days and includes a golf tournament, dining, and yoga in addition to the two tasting sessions offered.
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