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Erie County Fair 'Best in Show' beer, created by WNY trio, starts brewing

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Erie County Fair is still months away, but exciting things are brewing ahead of the 12-day event. The fair held a home brewer competition to find the 'best in show' beer. More than 150 beers were entered, by home brewers from across the state, and a trio of WNYers won for their German “Leichtbier” recipe. 

"What's very unique about this year's brew is that three homebrewers came together, worked on the recipe, brewed it together, and then submitted all at once," Marty Biniasz said, the marketing manager for the Erie County Fair. 

John Crossett, of North Tonawanda, Brian Milleville, of Sanborn, and Mark Zambron, of West Seneca have all been brewing for about six to eight years each. The friends decided to come up with one beer all together, and ended up winning the competition. All three were on hand at Flying Bison Brewing Co, in Larkinville, as that beer began brewing for the masses. 

"We're using 20 pounds of grain, where they're using thousands of pounds of grain," Crossett said. 

Crossett said their beer is easy to drink during the hot summer months. 

"It's light, malty, with a little bit of bready ...a little bit of a backbone of bitterness and kind of floral hops."

Home brewing is a hobby for all three winners. 

"For me, it's a creative outlet," Crossett said. "Some people draw, some people do a lot of writing, and I like to create beer. And you get to taste the end product."

This is the first time these guys have had their beer brewed on this scale. Flying Bison is brewing their beer, and plan to make about 250 cases of it. The beer is expected to be done in about six weeks. 

"It's pretty cool to go out and have your friends and family out there buying your beer and tasting it and drinking it," Crossett said. "It's one of the best honors as a home brewer you can have... to have a big organization brew your beer for you."

The beer will be sold at select bars and restaurants before the fair, and then it will be found at beer gardens and concessions throughout the fairgrounds. 

The Erie County Fair runs from August 8, to the 19. 


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