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Friday, June 24, 2016

Connecticut Breweries

There are a few states that are known for their awesome breweries. For example, we have California, with (as of 2013) 268 craft breweries, and Washington with (as of 2013) 136 craft breweries. Its a little hard to compete with those numbers.  But my East Coast loving friends, we can't let the West Coast get all the attention. Vermont also makes the ranks of a state with good local beer, home to big names like Long Trail, Magic Hat, and Harpoon. 

Beer Sampler at Ninkasi Brewery

But what you probably didn't realize, is that the little state of Connecticut, sitting between New York and Boston is rising in ranks of breweries. I feel like I moved away for two years and BAM breweries were popping up all over the state. I even moved in virtually next door to a brewery, Beer'd Brewing Co.  Why the sudden change in CT?  A 2012 change to state liquor laws, allows breweries to have onsite tap-rooms, really helping the fleet of craft brewers.  You can read all about the trend of New Breweries in CT here.  

So when I looked around and saw all these new breweries popping up, I decided a few things. A: I wanted to make a list of them all (by location) and B: I wanted to visit them all. That was until I looked at the list. After further investigation I settled on trying all the microbreweries along what I am considering the Connecticut Coast (11 total), adding in a few special picks from the list of breweries in "Inland Towns" (about 30).

It is an impressive list, with big names like Thomas Hooker Brewing Company in Bloomfield Connecticut to new local favorites like Outer Light Brewing in Groton. It's also important to note that these breweries vary in size and how they operate. Thomas Hooker wanted to build a 50,000-square-foot brewery, restaurant, and visitors center. And you can find their beer in many stores and restaurants across the country. Then you have the smaller guys like Beer'd who only distribute kegs and growlers (you won't find them in cans at the store, not yet!).  Some breweries are tucked away in a little industrial corner of town, while some have ocean views and cornhole out on the lawn.  
Let's just say I have a lot of beer to try, a few growlers to bring, and a list of potential designated drivers. And then I obviously have to sample some Rhode Island breweries because my love for that State runs deep. Ah, it feels good to be back in a state where drinking alcohol is celebrated, not restricted.

Oh, and you wine lovers? 
Don't you feel left out, I live next to three great vineyards 
and a vineyard tour is coming your way soon.

Thimble Island Brewing Company

(in order from East to West)

** Cottrell Brewing Co. Pawcatuck (visited)
Beer'd  - Stonington (visited) 
** Barley Head Brewery – Mystic
** Outer Light Brewing - Groton (visited)
Noble Jay Brewing - Niantic
Soundview Brewing Company– Old Lyme
30 Mile Brewing Co - Old Saybrook 
** Thimble Island - Branford (visited)
** DuVig Brewing Co. - Branford  (visited)
** Overshores Brewing Co.- East Haven
** New England Brewing Company-- Woodbridge (visited)
Two Roads Brewing - Stratford
Lock City Brewing - Stamford

Beaver Beer

Alvarium Beer Company– New Britain
Aspetuck Brew Lab– Bridgeport
Back East Brewery - Bloomfield
Bad Sons Beer Company– Derby
Beaver Beer- Westport

Black Pond Brews - Danielson
Brass Works Brewing - Waterbury 
Brewery Legitimus- New Hartford
Broad Brook Brewing Company - East Windsor
Broken Symmetry Gastropub (coming soon to) - Bethel
Cambridge House Brew Pub – Granby
Charter Oak Brewing Company (coming soon to ) Danbury
City Steam - Hartford
Cliffside Brewing - Wallingford
Cold Creek Brewing - Ellington
Connecticut Valley Brewing Company - South Windsor
Counter Weight Brewing Company– Hamden
East Haddam Brewing Company– East Haddam
** Epicure Brewing Company– Norwich (visited)
Fairfield Craft Ales – Stratford
Fat Orange Cat Brew Co – East Hampton
Forest City Brewing- Middletown
** Fox Farm Brewery – Salem (visited and reviewed)
Front Porch Brewing - Wallingford,CT
Half Full Brewery - Stamford
** Hanging Hills Brewing Company- West Hartford  (visited) 
** Hog River Brewing-- Hartford (visited)
Kent Falls Brewing -- Kent Falls
Kinsmen Brewing Company - Plantsville
Labyrinth Brewing Co.-Manchester
Lasting Brass Brewing Company – Watertown
Little House Brewing Company (coming soon to) Chester
Lock City Brewing - Stamford
New Park Brewing Company – West Hartford
Nod Hill Brewery – Ridgefield
OEC Brewing - Oxford 
Olde Burnside Brewing- East Hartford
Powder Hollow Brewery - Hazardville
Relic Brewing Co - Planville
Rheingold Brewing Company (owned by Drinks Americas)[40] – Wilton
Redding Beer Company– Georgetown
Shebeen Brewing - Wolcott
Still Hill Brewery - Rocky Hill (visited)
stubborn beauty brewing - Middletown (visited)
** These Guys Brewing - Norwich (visited)
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company- Bloomfield
Tribus Beer Company (coming to ) Milford

Any I missed?  
Let me know in the comments section. 

Oldest Brewery in Connecticut
Willimantic Brewing Company Willimantic (Est. 1993)

Most people consider drinking beers in an old post office a shady recreational activity. But for Willimantic, it’s a business model. The CT brewpub is located in a historic USPS building that was abandoned by the feds in 1967. Nowadays there’s steak and rye ale where the lost mail used to be -- but if you wanna hang out in the postmaster’s office, you’ll need to book their private dining room. Source

Number One Rated Beer in Connecticut 
Fuzzy Baby Ducks IPA -- New England Brewing Co.
American IPA / 6.20% ABV
from the List of Top Rated Beers in Connecticut

Image courtesy of Brewers Association.Org

"In Connecticut, craft beer makes up about 10 percent of all the beer consumed in the state"-- Brad Hittle, CEO of Two Roads Brewing Co. in Stratford.

1 comment :

  1. a very interesting and informative read that helped so many of my friends and me too. been looking for some good breweries but always ended up going to the wrong places.


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