WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Wormtown Brewery Dinner at the Williams Inn raised $5,500 for the Williamstown Youth Center's newly established John Foehl Family Fund.
Some things just belong together: Peanut butter and jelly, Lennon and McCartney, shellfish with Creole broth and a Be Hoppy India Pale Ale, and local businesses supporting the youth.
"Tonight is a special night because the Williamstown Youth Center has been special to so many people and has given back so much to the families and communities in the Northern Berkshires," Tom Leveque, general manager of Girardi Distributors, said Thursday. "We felt we owed them something."
Well more than 100 people filed into the Williams Inn that in conjunction with Girardi Distributors and Wormtown Brewery hosted a special feast prepared by the inn's Barn Kitchen & Bar paring cuisine with some of the best beer in Western Massachusetts.
Cory Amman, the inn's director of sales, said the idea started small among friends sharing a beer but quickly grew into something much larger.
"When we started talking about this we talked about doing a dinner for 12 people," he said.
Leveque said they thought it would be a good idea to get the public into the newly built inn and it was an opportunity to partner with a local organization in need of support.
He had a drinking buddy who he thought might be able to help so he dialed David Fields of the Worcester-based brewery.
"My mind was turning so I turned to a good friend of mine David Fields and I said your company is all about family and how can how we give back to the community we live in," Leveque said. "He said sign me up and didn't ask how much it was and that is what we do in the beer business."
The event started in the gallery around 6 p.m. on Thursday as attendees dug into Wormtown Mass Whole Lager cheddar cheese fondue beer cheese, crudite, loaves, pretzels, and Lavash -
paired with Mass Whole Lager.
Around 7, the party shifted into the banquet room where attendees could sample a buffet of different cuisines, such as the aforementioned clam boil and rotisserie chicken, paired with stouts, red ales, IPAs, and lagers.
Youth Center President David Armet spoke during the event and said the Youth Center provides an important resource in the community.
He added that John Foehl was a pillar in the community who knew the importance of the Youth Center and this fund would guarantee that all kids have access to Youth Center programming.
"John took great pleasure in watching his grandsons grow up involved in many of the Youth Center programs," he said. "So tonight on behalf of the entire Youth Center board and staff it gives us great pleasure to announce that the proceeds from this evening ... will be used to guarantee that all children have access to all the programs John's grandchildren had access to."
He called up John's son Brooks who said the fund is a fitting tribute to his father who died late last year.
"Thank you to all of the people that have stewarded this amazing program through its history, whatever its name wherever its location," he said. "The dedication of hundreds of people who have worked to fulfill that mission ... you are the ones who have collectively impacted thousands of young girls and boys. On behalf of my family and all of us gathered here tonight we thank you and offer a toast of Wormtown beer."
Before handing over the check, the group again thanked Wormtown Brewery, which donated all of the night's beer and also cut a $2,000 check to the Youth Center.
"Thank you everyone for coming ... this is an incredible gesture," Armet said. "I think you guys have to agree that this is the real Western Massachusetts out here and it is also great because you taught us that the term 'Masshole' is maybe a term of endearment."
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