Search This Blog

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tidal River Brewing- Canton, CT

When I moved back to Connecticut I was amazed to see how many breweries had popped up all over the state. So much so that I put together a list of all the breweries and made tentative plans to visit as many as I could.  

Let me start by saying that I am not one of those girls that shies around beer and prefers a glass of wine or a fruity drink.  And I am definitely not the person who orders a Bud-lite or a Corona.  I love beer and love trying new flavors and styles (especially small scale local breweries).  My favorite beers are typically a good spiced Saison, or the citrusy bite of a west coast IPA.  I like my beers with a whole lot of funk and flavor and I love a good IPA, as long as it's not "too hoppy".  

I figured this would be the perfect winter activity, sample some of Connecticut's finest beer dressed up in my favorite sweater while the weather was crummy. Well, I started a little early on my brewery tour and after hiking Bear Mountain, I stopped at one of Connecticut's newest; Tidal River Brewing Company in Canton, Connecticut. 

First Impressions:  Awesome owner/founder running the place with a passion for beer. The beer ranged from easy to drink ales to crazy basil and chile beer. Tidal River beers are as fun and funky as their names. The spot is a low-key, unassuming place with small scale production (just a tasting room, no formal tap room... yet). It is in a commercial space with a main tasting bar and a table or two (they are not large enough to accommodate large parties). They are technically a "nano-brewery" and their license does not allow the sale of pints or flights. They are more than happy to provide samples of their beer on tap and they can fill growlers for you to take home.

Sampling beer at Tidal River Brewing in Canton, CT

I didn't seek out Tidal River specifically but instead, while driving back from my hike up Bear Mountain, typed in "brewery" into Apple Maps to see if two were anywhere on my route home. Let's be honest, a beer after a workout or a great hike is just the perfect way to end the day. I entered my query and up popped up Tidal River about 5 minutes away. And so, we made a detour to taste some local made in good ole CT beer.

As far as location goes, I have to admit, Tidal River Brewing Co was a little hard to find. Apple maps showed it's location in a small commercial area but it was realllly in there. We followed a few small brewery signs and pulled up to the small but quaint entrance to Tidal River common to new small scale breweries in the state.

Entrance to Tidal River

Upon entry to the bar, we were surprised to see we were the only ones there on a Saturday evening.  But we were also happy to see the owner himself behind the bar and running the show. This meant that we had the brewery to ourselves to taste his beer and ask questions.
And I ask a lot of questions. 

Tasting beers on tap

Right off the bat what I liked most about the brewery was the guy running it, founder Geoff Mattheis.  Geoff and his wife Mary (who I did not get to meet on this trip) are the brains behind this brewery.  His passion and drive for the brewery was so visible, and his passion for beer contagious. He told us all about his beers, his history as a home brewer (before opening this joint in January of this year), the need for more local beer in his section of the state, and the weird creations he was currently brewing. At the end of the day, he's a totally likable guy who wants to be known for making the good weird beer. He explained that Tidal River was a "nano craft brewery" and went on to explain the various types and sizes of breweries throughout the state. 

 Founder Geoff Mattheis of Tidal River Brewing

Well, we were the perfect clientele because we were excited to try his good weird beer. Looking at the board, the variety was eclectic and the names surely made you chuckle. 

First up was Swamp Wookie, a 3.5% American Cream Ale. Swamp Wookie was okay, an easy to drink simple cream ale.  It was the kind of beer I could drink on a summer afternoon, refreshing light and quite low on the alcohol %. 

Next up was Rattlesnake Brook, a 5.5% Pale Ale.  This beer was more on the realm of funky and fun, where you could taste and smell the melon, a different spin on a Pale Ale.  I loved the smell of this one and regarded this beer as an easy to drink with a unique flavor, but not something I needed to order again and again.

And then there came the beer with the longest and weirdest name, the "Thickarus: Flew too close to the tun". This beer just threw you for a loop, a stout that looks like a light ale. Stouts are normall (visually) thick, dark and creamy, and the glass in front of me looked like none of those things.  Turns out its a toasted stout "gone blonde" with vanilla and lactose for a "cappuccino flair". It looked like a pale ale and tasted like a funky fun stout, with its familiar creaminess and coffee flavor. Again, good and visually confusing but like most stouts, definitely the beer you only have one of. 

Saturday's offering of beers on tap

And then, as I was walking around the brewery, he pulled out his newest creation, the "Tie Dyed Thai Tie Mai Tai". I'm not sure if he was trying to make a tongue twister or a beer, but he made both. He told us about the crazy beer he was making, with the fun and funky flavors he had worked with a local chef to create. "A unique culinary-inspired wheat treat, a bold ale brewed with sweet thai basil, galangal, ginger root, kafir lime leaf, and lemongrass. Keep enjoying and you'll feel the subtle heat of the bird's eye chilis giving a finishing bite".  This brew smelled delicious and upon first sip, the thai basil was prominent.  The heat? well that got you at first and then kept building even after your last sip.  A delicious thai meal in a glass if you will.... A fun and funky beer but definitely a one and done variety.  Geoff joked around that this was a one glass and done sort of concoction, not something you fill your growler with to bring home (although customers are always asking him to!).  

Tidal River was a fun and funky brewery.  Very personal, and you could tell the owner was really passionate about the beer he created.  He was going for funky and funky beers he created.  From an easily drinkable beer to a Thai basil beer.  There is no formal tap room (just a tasting room) and it was my understanding that bottling was underway but at the moment, it was growler fills only.  An assuming spot with a lot of character and unique beer.   I hope to be back on my next visit to the northwest corner to see what concoction Geoff is brewing next.  

(860) 386-8033


Monday: 6p-8p
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: Closed
Friday: 4p-8p
Saturday: 3p-8p
Sunday: 12p-4p


empty growler: $4
32 oz fill:  $8
64 oz fill: $16

Read more about Geoff and Tidal River Brewing HERE

No comments :

Post a Comment

Let's Chat!