Get hoppy on the Historical Hartford Ale Trail

People often overlook Hartford when talking about the great, historic cities of the Northeast. CT’s capital city, though neither on a coast nor as large as Boston and New York City, was actually our nation’s richest city for decades after the Civil War. It’s been a hotbed for innovation, manufacturing, the insurance industry and the arts at various times in its 385 years, making for a story people should appreciate – especially with a beer from one of the many cool craft breweries, some old and some brand new, within and on the edge of its borders.

So let’s start on the Historic Hartford Ale Trail on its western edge.

New Park Brewery Company (, opened in March 2017, is actually in West Hartford and that suburb’s first craft brewery. It soon earned a nomination for USA Today’s top 10 best new craft breweries in 2018.

Long lines and regular sellouts almost from the start led to New Park Brewery to more than double its beer-making capacity, swapping its seven-barrel system for a 15-barrel, within two years of its opening, making its many fans and even another local craft brewer ecstatic (more on that below).

The founders chose West Hartford because of their strong, deep ties to the area. You quickly understand once you step into this 2,500-square-foot – yet still cozy – facility, lovingly retrofitted into a late 19th-century industrial building. The indoor space features the building’s original concrete floor buffed to a sparkle, a 23-foot L-shaped bar made from a single piece of endangered American Chestnut (don’t worry – it was reclaimed from a barn under demolition), and artwork provided by local vintage shops. A greenery filled 400-square-foot patio rounds out the seating, which is often filled thanks to a regular lineup of food trucks, live music events and – oh, yeah – great craft beer.

New Park Brewery devotees rave about its Blender series of tart and fruit-filled Berliner Weisses that even non-beer lovers tend to enjoy. Whether you fancy a hoppy double IPA or its juicier New England cousin, a rich oatmeal porter or refreshing wit, New Park is regularly mixing up its lineup so you’ll always find something to enjoy on site or to go in a can or growler.

Head about a mile and a half north, and you’ll enter the Hartford neighborhood of Parkville, which is listed on the U.S. National Park Services’ National Register of Historic Places. Shortly after the Civil War, this former farmland developed into a major manufacturing site. Among its tenants were the Underwood and Royal typewriter companies (leading some to call Hartford the “Typewriter Capital of the World” for while) and the Hartford Rubber Works, a factory that made the country’s first pneumatic car and bike tires and, since 2016, has been home to the Hog River Brewing Company (

Hog River Brewing, named Connecticut Magazine’s 2017 “Brewery to Visit,” boldly honors its past with two massive machine presses and other memorabilia placed prominently in its taproom. However, Hog River Brewing is not stuck in the old days. Husband and wife Ben and Joy Braddock keep their “mom and pop” operation lively with musical performers, pop-up markets, homebrew competitions, yoga classes, pet parties and many more events. Even with all this activity, the place maintains a chill enough vibe to bill themselves as “Hartford’s Living Room.”

To quench your thirst, Hog River Brewing always keeps a wide variety of styles on tap, including the occasional barrel-aged fare. Their specialties include classic German brews from light kolsches to dark schwarzbiers, and a popular fruit sour series that’ll put some tang on your tongue.

And why do they call it Hog River Brewing? The Park, or “Little,” River once ran right through the neighborhood. Over the decades, waste from humans, factories and – yes — hog farms along it made the waters a bit ripe. After odorous “Hog River” started to regularly flood the upscale areas of the capital city, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rerouting large parts of it – nine miles in total — into underground concrete tunnels that run into the Connecticut (or “Big”) River. Trust us, you’ll get the better of the two Hog River’s when you stop and grab a pint here.

Take a sightseeing break

American literature fans may want to take a short detour before the next brewery stop takes you into the heart of Hartford. A few minutes to the north of Hog River Brewery sits, side-by-side, The Mark Twain House & Museum, where the Huckleberry Finn author penned his many of his greatest works, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, where the writer of Uncle Tom’s Cabin spent her last 23 years. Then wind a few miles through downtown to check out the state capitol and Bushnell Park – the nation’s oldest publicly funded park.

And then – it’s refreshment time!

City Steam Brewery and Cafe ( in downtown Hartford is one of the state’s most distinctive and unique (if not quirky) brewpubs. It operates out of an ornate 1880s building designed by H.H. Richardson, who along with Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, is considered one of the Holy Trinity of American architects. The rough-hewn brownstone — accented with bright limestone flashes and features multiple arches, corner towers and detailed gargoyles — is a landmark in Romanesque design and on the National Register of Historic Places. What’s inside is just as interesting.

Whereas most modern breweries embrace wide open floor plans, City Steam features nine – NINE! — levels of seating. These include a beer garden, dining and bar areas, and a rathskeller comedy club called … Brew HaHa. City Steam, which opened in 1980 but run under a different name until the mid-‘90s, is one of several tenets in what for years was home to Brown Thomson & Co., once CT’s largest department store. Cast-iron railings and woodwork from that store adorn the interior while brilliant copper accents add to the charm.

You’ll also spot, and occasionally hear, some antique steam whistles when inside. City Steam gets its name from the nearby Hartford Steam Co., whose steam pipes power its 23-barrel brewing system. You can see these huge copper brewing vessels through a window right behind the bar.

Ah, the beer. You’re probably familiar with its flagships – the original Naughty Nurse amber and newer Naughty Nurse IPA – and maybe the one or two others available in stores. However, City Steam Brewery usually has many other styles – from traditional pilsner and porters to more exotics like smoked maibocks and spiced lagers – only available on tap or in to-go format on site. Sample several as you enjoy some great pub grub, take in a comedian or just soak up the funky vibe.

Now meander a bit more than a mile south, either heading past the Wadsworth Atheneum  – the oldest public art museum in the country – or, if you have kids in tow, the notable glass façade of the Connecticut Science Center to your next watering hole.

Brewers – old and new

Thomas Hooker Brewery, founded in Hartford in the mid-1990s, is steeped in Nutmeg State history. It’s one of our state’s OG craft brewers; it’s named after the 17th century Puritan pastor who founded CT; and now it has a taproom in one of Hartford’s most iconic and historic locations.

Thomas Hooker Brewery at Colt ( opened in late 2017, bringing the brewery its first hometown outlet since moving the main production facility to Bloomfield in the mid-2000s. The wait was worth it. The 2,800 square foot facility is part of a former mid-19th century armory where for more than 130 years Colt firearms – yes, another CT original –manufactured that famous six-shooter revolver that tamed The Wild West.

Hooker at Colt respects its past. Southern yellow pine timbers from the armory’s old test firing range have been repurposed into a bar that’s truly “fully loaded” with beer, wine, liquor and hundreds of copper-clad lead bullets fired into it over the years. Whether sitting inside or outside on its patio, you can quaff a fresh brewed beer while gazing upon the Hartford skyline and the distinctive onion-shaped blue dome topping one of the main buildings at the former Colt manufacturing complex, part of a National Historic District given new life as a mixed-used development. The dome gets even more due inside the taproom. Look up and you’ll note the ceiling is painted to match the famous blue and gold star flecked dome.

Hooker at Colt is much smaller than the brewery’s main facility, brewing only about 100 gallons, or six full kegs, of beer at a time. However, you find all your favorite Hooker year-round brews like #NoFilter New England IPA and Super Duper Double Citra double IPA along with rotating seasonals and some limited releases, most available to go in cans or growlers. You can also order food, which is prepared by a neighboring café.

Think about timing your visit to Hooker at Colt with one of its many popular entertainment events. Live music, trivia nights, board game meetups, charity fundraisers to support local nonprofits are all part of the regular schedule. In the warmer months, look for Pups and Pints so you can enjoy a brew with your favorite canine companion.

Your final stop is only two miles south, right next to Hartford-Brainard Airport. Phantom Brewing Company ( began like many newer breweries do — as a collaboration between homebrewing friends. Except in this case, one of these friends also happened to own a homebrewing supply store and the other was one of his steady customers.

Bo Kolcio, owner of Beer and Wine Maker’s Warehouse, is well known to Hartford area makers of potent potables. In addition to supplies, he has been teaching classes on the art of making beer, wine, kombucha, cheese and many other delectables. His work partner, physical education teacher and homebrewer Jon Patrei, quickly bonded over their shared loved of crafting beer. Together, they decided to add a brewery and taproom to Bo’s store so they could share their knowledge and tasty creations with like-minded people.

They started by purchasing the old seven-barrel system from New Park Brewing (told we’d get back to them helping the local beer community) when that operation expanded, and in 2020 opened Phantom Brewing debuted its spacious taproom. Here, you can sample something special — whether you dig a hearty Russian Imperial Stout, a juicy New England IPA, or a tart and fruity Berliner Weisee or sour IPA – or learn how to make one yourself by taking one the many educational classes.

And if you love a good story about the origin of a brewery’s name, you’ll enjoy Phantom’s. On an icy January day in 1647, a large ship sailed out of New Haven bound for England never to be heard from again. Either that summer or the next (the story varies), a violent thunderstorm rolled into the harbor. Multiple witnesses claimed to have clearly seen a ghostly version of the ill-fated ship, masts battered and sails torn, floating up in the storm clouds as they approached. Thus was born “The Phantom Ship of New Haven.”

Until next time … cheers.

Weekend Connecticut Trip Ideas for Craft Beer Lovers – Part 1

As one of the earliest states in the union, Connecticut is filled with historical references and sites, nestled in between endless natural beauties. No wonder CT is a frequently visited state by people from across the globe. We here at want to do our part in helping spread the beauty of CT to the four corners of the world, which is why we’ve created a 6-part series highlighting 6 specific areas of Connecticut. With each article we’ll include some must-see sites, but, as lovers of craft beer as well, we’ll of course let you know where, when and how to raise a glass, no matter where you are in this great state. So grab your maps, friends and camera as you embark on the best that CT has to offer.

“The Mystic Malty Tour”
Nestled along the banks of Block Island Sound, sitting across Fisher’s Island, lays Mystic, Conn., known to many from the film Mystic Pizza, starring an extremely young Julia Roberts.

But the town, and region, is so much more than the perfect New England landscape for a movie. Mystic and its neighboring communities is home to some of the finest beer events and brewing destinations in Connecticut, making it an ideal place for folks from near and far to spend a weekend getaway. Here’s what to take in – from beer and beyond – when you visit the Mystic area:

Cottrell Brewing Co., Pawcatuck, CT
When it comes to “old country,” nothing in America beats New England. And in Pawcatuck, the Cottrell family name is as embedded in the community fabric as some if its buildings. Lifelong entrepreneurs, the Cottrells were originally print press manufacturers, but opened the Cottrell Brewing Company in 1996. The business might have changed, but the digs have not: CBC is in the same building as where the original printing press was housed. Learn more now.

Beer’d Brewing Co., Stonington, CT
There’s microbrews, and then there’s Beer’d Brewing, the brainchild of Aaren Simoncini. Simoncini wanted to start a brewing company that offered a melding of both art and science. He’s achieved it with his approach to producing extremely small batches of some of the richest ales found in South Eastern Connecticut. Visiting the brew house will give you the opportunity to taste each of Beer’d’s available beer. Learn more now.

Outer Light Brewing Co., Groton, CT
Celebrating the simple pleasure of life, Outer Light Brewing captures the beauty of life within every bottle, barrel and growler they serve. Outer Light offers three year-round beers as well as limited, experimental beers such as The Academy GPA, Admiral Lublin’s Imperial Pilsner and Outwerweiss Hefeweizen. Learn more now.

Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, Mystic, CT
While there are plenty of breweries for you to visit in this neck of the woods, why not complement all that imbibing with a trip to the oldest festival of its kind in the Northeast. The Mystic Outdoor Art Festival is a juried art show that brings 85,000 people from around the country to CT for the 2-day event. The festival consumes the heart of Historic Downtown Mystic with more than two miles of watercolors, oils, sculptures and more, providing the perfect backdrop for your Mystic-area visit. Learn more now.

Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, CT
What better way to celebrate the sea-inspired culture of South Eastern Connecticut than to visit the Mystic Aquarium? Founded in 1973, the aquarium has been a staple in Mystic for more than 30 years and is home to New England’s only beluga whales. Come to see feeding time, or sit down and relax while watching a film in 4-D. There is no shortage of fun at the Mystic Aquarium. Learn more now.

Engine Room, Mystic, CT
The Engine Room isn’t just a must-see place because of its sixteen craft beers on tap. It’s also a sight to be seen, located in the beautifully restored Lathrop Marine Engine, which overlooks the Mystic River. Craft beer is a big part of the ambiance at Engine Room, but it’s not the only thing on the menu that’ll capture your attention. Featuring executive chef Chris Vanasse, as well as co-owners Dan Meiser and James Wayman (behind Mystic’s Oyster Club), Engine Room benefits from more than 50 years of combined food service experience, meaning everything from the burgers to the bacon fat caramel popcorn is worthy of a bite. Learn more now.

Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, Niantic, CT
With all this drinking and sightseeing, you’ll need a place to stay, won’t you? As one of the country’s best Bed and Breakfasts, The Inn is a waterfront property nestled in the marina district of Niantic. Located just a short walk away from downtown, and a quick drive to surrounding communities, The Inn is the ideal place to lay your head as you rest from your busy day. Learn more now.

Any places you would suggest visiting in the Mystic CT area? Let us know in the comments below!

Weekend Connecticut Trip Ideas for Craft Beer Lovers – Part 2

With each article we’ll include some must-see sites, but, as lovers of craft beer as well, we’ll of course let you know where, when and how to raise a glass, no matter where you are in this great state. So grab your maps, friends and camera as you embark on the best that the Long Island Sound has to offer.


Trip Nick-Name: Sudsy on Long Island Sound


Half Full Brewery, Stamford CT

Are you passionate about drinking? Shouldn’t you meet someone who’s equally passionate (if not more) about brewing the beer you love so much? Then you have to meet Connor Horrigan, founder of Half Full Brewery. Horrigan had what he thought was the American Dream: a mighty fine banking job on Wall Street. That’s until he realized there was so much life beyond his corner of “the city.” So he traveled, to Peru, to Prague, and to Vienna, as he unknowingly began to cultivate the foundation of his new life’s mission: Half Full Brewery. Horrigan’s story alone is worth the trip. But the beer, ah, his beer is worth the stay. Learn more now.


The Ginger Man, South Norwalk CT

You never know what’s going to happen at the Ginger Man SoNo. From home brew competitions to offering one of the fiercest beer lists in New England, you can’t afford to miss all that the Ginger Man has to offer. This wonderfully crafted beer pub has helped revitalize and revolutionize Norwalk’s SoNo district, so when you take a seat on one of their stools, you’re standing up for the community. Go ahead, drink up. You’re guaranteed to like something on tap here. Learn more now.


Cask Republic, Stamford CT

There are two Cask Republics, actually. One’s in New Haven, but for your Sudsy on Long Island Sound getaway, we urge you to check out the pub’s Stamford digs. So what’s so special about Cask Republic? Ah, well, it’s all in the name. Serving Cask Conditioned Ale, Cask Republic is reintroducing a style of beer that’s traditional in the UK, and making new waves here in the states. Cask Conditioned Ale foregoes the introduction of CO (carbon dioxide), as the secondary fermentation (conditioning) of the ale takes place in the cask itself. Yeah, sounds complicated, but you’ll taste the difference. We promise. Learn more now.


The Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk CT

You can’t really take in all that the Long Island Sound has to offer if you don’t head on down to the Maritime Aquarium. Featuring such exhibits as “Flutter Zone” (a butterfly exhibit) as well as IMAX movies, there’s plenty of fun for people of all ages here. Long Island Sound is home to some of the world’s most astounding and important sea creatures, and the aquarium makes it possible for you to see these creatures in their natural setting. Take a break from the beer and check out some sharks, dolphins or heck, even touch the tops of jellyfish. The drinks will be waiting. Learn more now.


Ninety9Bottles Craft Beer Festival, Norwalk CT
This relatively new beer festival on the block is already a hit. Ninety 9 Bottles Craft Beer Festival typically sells out … fast, and for good reason. Not only does it feature 50+ craft beers (with a focus on New England brewers), but it also features food trucks, live music, and one heck of a view. Set atop the hill at Oyster Shell Park, there is no way better to see the Sound in all its glory than to drink a little local beer, while enjoying Norwalk’s best in food and music. If you do end up getting tickets to this coveted Norwalk beer festival, you’ll also be helping to support local charities. Not too shabby. Learn more now.


Sheffield Island Lighthouse Boat Tour, Norwalk CT
You can’t leave this area of CT without going on a boat tour around Sheffield Island Lighthouse. Here’s your opportunity to ride a 45-foot catamaran to the island, tour the lighthouse, and observe wildlife in their natural habitat in the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Lighthouses are a huge part of Connecticut’s history, some might say more so than craft beer is! End your weekend getaway with a bit of lighthearted education as you learn about this iconic piece of CT. Learn more now.


Any places you would suggest visiting in the Lower Fairfield County CT area? Let us know in the comments below!

Weekend Connecticut Trip Ideas for Craft Beer Lovers – Part 3

Here at, we’ve compiled a 6-part series on the best Connecticut Weekend Getaways, with a focus, of course, on beer. Our goal is to be able to make it easy for you to explore the great state of Connecticut, with craft beer in hand.

Today we’re excited to share with you our famed ‘Hop’ping Around Hartford guide, which is sure to help you get familiar with all that our capital city has to offer. So sit back, relax, and prepare to get your drink on with our tour around the Hartford area. Oh, and be sure to bring your walking shoes.

City Steam Brewery, Hartford
City Steam Brewery is on another level … seriously. The multilevel floor plan of the brewery, located in the historic Cheney building, delivers breathtaking seating on 9 levels, including the elegant 160-seat Richardson Room. City Steam doesn’t just set up shop in the Cheney building (built in 1877); it celebrates the structure’s history by salvaging original cast iron railings and millwork. Oh, and about that steam: City Steam has a 23-barrel brewery system powered by the Hartford Steam Company. So yes, when they say city steam, they mean it. Learn more now.

Top Shelf Brewing Company, Manchester
The folks at Top Shelf might refer to their 3-barrel brew house as “humble,” but don’t let them fool you: a lot of magic takes place within those 3 barrels. Top Shelf pays homage to its history and roots, from the brewers that came before them, to the historic importance of Hilliard Mills, where the brew house calls home. Next to the brew house is the company’s growing taproom, featuring American, Irish, and Belgian style beers all year long. Learn more now.

Old Burnside Brewery, East Hartford
Any true beer lover knows that the quality of beer depends largely on the ingredients used. At Old Burnside, the brews imagined and brought to realization benefit from a unique pure water source located on the brewery’s own property. The water is remarkably similar to the characteristics found in Burton-on-Trent, which is why Old Burnside has become renowned across the state for its handcrafted ales with a Scottish twist. Old Burnside is a spinoff of the family’s original ice manufacturing business, founded in 1911 in the same location. Learn more now.

Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, Bloomfield
You can guarantee there’s always something happening at Thomas Hooker Brewing Company. As one of the most nationally recognized brewers based in CT, Thomas Hooker has enjoyed massive success and appeal in the craft beer community. But don’t take our word for it. TH has won countless awards, and has received hundreds of accolades, over the more than two decades since they’ve begun brewing. Learn more now.

Back East Brewing Company, Bloomfield
To the folks behind Back East Brewing, making beer isn’t just a job. It’s personal. Founded by cousins Tony Karlowicz and Edward Fabrycki, Jr. in 2012, Back East got its name after Edward moved back to CT from San Diego in 2001, armed with the passion and know-how to start his own brewery. Back East features a stable of seasonal and year-round beers, but unique to them is the Hammer of the Gods series. Not for the faint of heart, these beers are stronger, have more hops, more malt, and a higher ABV. Learn more now.

World of Beer, West Hartford
Make no mistake: this isn’t your typical franchise beer house. World of Beer’s primary focus is on delivering well-crafted beer that reflects the surrounding community. Couple that with the endless live music performed, and you have a recipe for a great night out. Any beer connoisseur must spend a few hours, if not an entire weekend, checking out all of the bottles and drafts available at any given time at WOB. This place, alone, is worth a weekend visit. Learn more now.

Freedom Beer Fest, Ansonia
The first ever Freedom Beer Fest (July 18, 2015) surely won’t be the last to take place in Warsaw Park in the heart of historic Ansonia. Featuring 70+ breweries, food trucks, live music and specialty vendors, this is a great chance for you to take in the culture and beer of Ansonia and CT. Freedom Fest benefits the Wounded Warrior Project, and his hosted by Valiant in the Valley, an all-volunteer 501 c3 non-profit organization. Learn more now.

13 New Breweries Coming to CT in 2015

Do you know how you can tell that Connecticut is fast-becoming the go-to state for craft beer and brewers? When you realize that more and more breweries are setting up shop here. A true beer community requires three things: innovative beer makers, enthusiastic beer drinkers, and plenty of places to enjoy all that beer. With these 13 new breweries coming to CT in 2015, it looks like our fair state is well on its way to becoming the craft beer capital of the east … and beyond.

Aspetuck Brew Lab (Bridgeport)
Located in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport (at 3389 Fairfield Avenue), Aspetuck is on a mission to take craft beer to new heights. Named for the Algonquin term for “river originating at the high place,” Aspetuck pays homage to its water source (and lifeblood) – the Aspetuck River, which is one of the cleanest rivers in the state, and produces exceptional brewing water for the best in beer. Over the next few months, founders Peter Cowles and Tara Kasaks Cowles plan to build out their brewer and taproom to make Aspetuck the perfect blend of heritage and experimentation. Learn more now.

Brewery Legitimus (Farmington Valley)
Brewery Legitimus founder Chris Sayer was inspired toward beer making after living abroad in Belgium. He brings with him 12 years of experience in the beverage industry, and is excited to introduce superior-tasting Belgian and American style craft beers. But over time, that may expand to new and innovative styles, while still holding true to Sayer’s attention to detail and balance. Learn more now.

Hog River Brewing (The Hartford Area)
Hog River Brewing isn’t just some flash-in-the-pan idea founder Ben Braddock came up with one day. Hog River is his life’s passion, and the culmination of years of hardwood and commitment. Braddock quit his suit-and-tie job 5 years ago to begin his journey of beer brewing, and has developed some of CT’s best beer (including his latest stint at Willimantic Brewing Company). The only thing Braddock may love more than beer is his home state, CT, which is why he’s setting up shop in Hartford. As far as the name, Hog River, it’s a nod to the river that once flowed through Hartford (and still does, underground). No word yet on the exact date of launch. Learn more now.

Howling Wolf Brewing Company
Howling Wolf is what’s known as a nano brewery (handcrafted with painstaking love) but is on its way toward becoming a microbrewery. As part of becoming a microbrewery, they’ll likely have to find a place to officially setup shop, but wherever it may be, you can be certain it’ll be in CT. Some of the beers this small outfit has already introduced to a community of beer lovers include their Chocolate Stout, Hefeweizen, IPA, Porter and Pumpkin Ale. Learn more now.

Kent Falls Brewing Co. (Kent)
How many breweries can say they call farmland their home? That’s exactly the case with Kent Falls Brewing, whose land has been in continuous agricultural use for more than 250 years. These days, the great minds behind Kent Falls Brewing use the rich soil from this land to grow their own hops, while benefiting from their own local and plentiful water source. True to farming, Kent Falls is committed to crafting beer that supports its surrounding community. Learn more now.

No Worries Brewing (Hamden)
No Worries Brewing isn’t just about beer – it’s about the experience. Once they open their doors, they’ll feature a full tap room (to buy pints and growlers) and will work in conjunction with local food trucks and restaurants to make sure their patrons have food to wash down their beer with. Other features that stand No Worries Brewing apart include their Mug Club membership (which offers you a personal mug, early access to events, and VIP invites) as well as fun events like Trivia Night, Food Pairing events, local artist spotlights and more.  Learn more now.

Noble Jay Brewing Company (East Lyme)
“Mike the Brewer” – as he likes to be called – has been brewing for friends and family for more than a decade. Over that time he’s created memorable brews, such as Lay It Down Brown (American Brown Ale), Fatty Boom Boom (Baltic Porter) and Sassy Bird (French Saison). With all that experience under his belt, Mike felt it was time to follow his dream of opening his own brewery. He named his company after his mother (whom he lost at a young age), and is excited to bring a wealth of beer styles to East Lyme, including Black Beers, Barleywine and more. Learn more now.

Outer Light Brewing Company (Groton)
At Outer Light Brewing Company it’s all about enjoying the simplicity of life. From watching the clouds pass by to sitting at a campfire, OLBC wants their beers to represent all that’s good in life. OLBC is still in the process of building their brewery and tasting room, but their goal is to provide their guests with a place to sit down and enjoy a beer or grab a growler for home. Learn more now.

Still Hill Brewery (Glastonbury)
Slated to open in the summer, Still Hill Brewery already has a healthy array of brews in its arsenal, geared up for craft beers from around the state. Year-round offerings include IPA, Ryesing and APA, while seasonal offerings will feature Summer Blonde, Wiezen Up, The Nut on the Hill, Sluggy Buggy (Oatmeal Stout), Coffee Porter, Momma’s Imperial Little Helper and Twisted Monk (Trappist Abbey). Learn more now.

Tidal River Brewing (Canton)
Well, you know that Tidal River is all about Connecticut, just by looking at their name: loosely translated, Connecticut is Algonquin for “long tidal river.” Tidal River embraces their role as a nano brewery, and is hard at work going through test batches like a mad scientist, ready for their launch (date to be determined). Learn more now.

Veracious Brewing Company (Monroe)
Soon to be located at 246 Main St (RT-25), one glance at the Veracious Facebook page proves that the folks behind Monroe’s newest beer paradise is hard at work making their dreams come true. Between setting up chandeliers to hooking up their steam boiler, Veracious’ beer masters are intimately involved with every nook and cranny of their new home. Featuring refurbished church pews as walls, and soon to be some of the most innovative beers this side of the Mississippi, Veracious will certainly be a can’t miss destination for any beer lover in CT. Learn more now.

Oldies but with a twist

These two breweries are CT staples, but are looking to expand into new areas in 2015.

Stony Creek Brewery (Branford)
Aptly named (as they’re located in Stony Creek), SCB is expanding into Branford this year. The newest SCB location is located on the waterfront in Branford, at 5 Indian Neck Avenue, and will house more than just a brewery. It’ll feature two outdoor decks, a tasting room and a celebration room. With this new space, SCB also plans to expand its current beer lineup. Learn more now.

Charter Oak Brewing (Norwalk)
Norwalk is about to experience a plethora of amazing craft beer, once Charter Oak Brewing sets up shop. Charter Oak brews in small batches (250 to 280 cases at a time), and has their hops and barley delivered right before they brew, thus guaranteeing freshness. They currently contract their beer (pay others to brew their beer) and are New Canaan-based, but are looking to get into the brick-and-mortar game, with a site that will feature both a brewery and tasting room. Learn more now.

7 Connecticut Summer Beer Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss

What is that big, yellow thing up there in the sky? Ah, yes, it’s summertime in Connecticut, which clearly means that big yellow thing is the sun. And when the sun is up high in the sky, we can all shed our winter clothes (though maybe not our winter weight) and bask in the warmth and light that lasts but just a mere 2 or 3 months here in New England. While we encourage you to get outside and take in the sun, we’re also obliged to tell you that while outside in the summer, it’s extremely important to stay hydrated. Of course, what you choose to hydrate yourself with is your own prerogative. We can only suggest what we think is best. So consider this our civic duty for the day. It’s summertime. It’s hot. Get outside. No, get outside and drink. These 7 CT summer beer festivals should help you along the way.

Freedom Beer Fest (Ansonia, 7/18)
The Freedom Beer Fest at Warsaw Park is making its debut on Saturday, July 18, in the heart of historic Ansonia. Boy, are they kicking things off with style. The festival is planned for 3,000 festival attendees, and will feature more than 70 breweries, 6 food trucks, live music and specialty vendors. All of this alone makes this a festival worth going to. But here’s the feather to stick in your cap: the Freedom Fest is designed to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project helps injured men and women who have served our country. Learn more now.

Two Roads Jam Fest (Stratford, 6/27)
You can’t say “craft beer” and “Connecticut” in the same sentence without mentioning Two Roads. The folks at Two Roads live, breath and, well, drink all things CT-craft-beer. Here’s your opportunity to see them in action, as they host a full day of beer, food trucks, and music. This is the second annual “Road Jam” concert. $25 gets you entrance and your first pint. CT-based bands will perform, including Snooty Garland and McLovins. The night will be topped off with a performance from New Orleans’ very own The Soul Rebels. Learn more now.

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Ski Sundown Summer Brewfest (New Hartford, 6/20)
The name alone should conjure confusion: summer and skiing? In CT? You bet! Of course, there won’t be any skiing being done on the mountain, but you can enjoy a nearly endless supply of ice-cold beer to help you feel as refreshed as you would when you hit the slopes. This year’s Ski Sundown Summer Brewfest features more than 30 CT-based craft brewers, live music, food and more. The event will be held rain or shine (there’s a lodge in case Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate). Learn more now.

ShakesBeer Festival (Stratford, 8/22)
Drink beer and preserve history this summer. You’ll feel better. 30 years ago, the American Shakespeare Theatre shut down, and has been dormant ever since. Folks like Ed Asner, Christopher Walken, James Earl ones and Audrey Hepburn started their careers at this theater, and now the folks behind ShakesBeer Festival are looking to reopen this historic place. But if doing your civic duty isn’t enough motivation, consider this: this year there will be an all-new VIP hour where ticket buyers will get exclusive access to craft beers you can’t get at any other beer festival. To drink or not to drink. That is the question. Learn more now.

Hops for Hope Brewfest (New Britain, 8/30)
You really can’t have a better cause to support than this one. Hops for Hope Brewfest came to fruition when four friends wanted to support a fellow craft-beer lover (Steve) and his family, whose child suffers from Smith-Magenis syndrome. The four friends organized the festival without Steve knowing, because they knew he might be adverse to that kind of charity. But a SMS diagnosis is pretty serious. It’s a rare disorder that changes everything about a family’s life and aspirations. This is a great opportunity to do some real good for someone in your own backyard. Learn more now.

Brass City Brew Fest (Waterbury, 9/12)
Happening just as summer turns to fall, the 10th annual Brass City Brew Fest takes place in Library Park and is a massive gathering of craft beer. 125+ breweries and brewpubs will showcase nearly 300 domestic and international brews. This is one of the largest beer fests in all of New England, and is attended by craft beer lovers up and down the east coast. Make sure CT is represented by getting your ticket today! Learn more now.

Bethel Beer Fest (Bethel, July 17)
This is the Bethel Beer Fest’s 3rd year, and promises to be the best one yet. The BBF focuses on CT breweries, giving you an opportunity to taste the latest creations by CT’s best brew wizards. You’ll also get to speak directly to brewers and company representatives about their concoctions, while tasting new, special, and limited release beers and ales. Learn more now.

Close but no cigar – Our Honorable Mention Award goes to …
This is, and we’re all about Connecticut beer. But we’d be remiss if we shielded our fellow craft beer lovers from a fantastic summertime beer festival taking place, just because it’s not in the greatest state in the union. So we decided to compromise and award Valley Brew Fest with our self-proclaimed prestigious Honorable Mention Award.

Valley Brew Fest (Springfield, MA, 8/29)
Springfield isn’t in CT, but it’s really just a stone’s throw away. That’s why we think it’s well worth your while to head to Valley Brew Fest, where more than 50 brewers from throughout the Connecticut River Valley will showcase their best beers to thousands of beer aficionados. Beyond beer, you’ll also enjoy food, live music, tchotchkes and more. Heck, if you don’t want to drive back to CT (or realize that you shouldn’t) there are plenty of places in Springfield to rest your head for the night. BONUS: Take an extra 10% off tickets with coupon code “CTBeer”. Learn more now.

Get your drink on with style
With summertime heat comes this insatiable thirst that you’re constantly looking to quench. We think you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for by hitting up these 7 CT summertime beer festivals. Good luck and stay hydrated (wink, wink).

5 Connecticut Spring Beer Festivals to Put on Your Radar

The flurry of snow hitting our neck of the woods recently might make you forget that spring is around the corner … really, it is. Before you know it you’ll be navigating around frost heaves and potholes, wondering why you didn’t move to California, Florida or the depths of hell last year to avoid this dang New England weather.

But then you’ll remember that here in CT, when spring finally does arrive, that flurry of snow we endured is replaced with a flurry of beer festivals and sunshine. And you’ll remind yourself that it’s all worth it.

Here are the 5 Connecticut Spring Beer Festivals you have to put on your radar as you peel yourself out of hibernation mode.

Thread City Hop Fest (May 3rd, Willimantic CT)
Willimantic plays host to the Thread City Hop Fest, which includes great food, beer and live music. Enjoy samples from more than 30 New England breweries while you enjoy some of the best culinary offerings CT has to offer, including food from Fryborg, Rolling Tomato and Kettle Korn. This is a family-friendly event, and proceeds will benefit the No Freeze Project and WRI. Learn more now.

Brewfest on the Beach (May 15th, New London CT)
What better way to kick winter the heck out of town than to spend the evening at the beach? The boardwalk at Ocean Beach Park in New London will host the 37th Brewfest at the Beach, where more than 150 beers representing all four corners of the world will be on display. The event is rain or shine (it’s covered in case April showers turn into May showers), and proceeds will benefit Camp Rotary, a summer camp for middle school students. Learn more now.

Rising Pint Brewfest (May 9th, East Hartford CT)
More than 300 craft beers are expected to be served at the 4th annual Rising Pint Brewfest, one of the fastest growing and most comprehensive brewfests in all of New England. The festival is held at Rentschler Field Stadium, and will also feature happy hour specials from some of the regions best restaurants and food trucks. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Folds of Honor Foundation, which helps families of lost and wounded service men and women. Learn more now.

Ninety9Bottles Craft Beer Festival (June 6th, South Norwalk CT)
Ninety9Bottles Craft Beer Festival is back for it’s 2nd Annual Festival where Festival goers will enjoy a variety of brews while overlooking beautiful Norwalk Harbor up atop the hill at Oyster Shell Park. With an emphasis on New England based breweries, they will be pouring samples of 40+ craft beers and some old favorites and some that you have yet to experience including new beers to the Connecticut market. Learn more now.

Harmonies & Hops (May 9th, Danielson CT)
The 3rd annual Harmonies and Hops is back to celebrate spring in verdant Danielson, CT! While the event will have a ton of activities for kids and adults alike, there will be a beer and wine tasting tent featuring as many local breweries and wineries as possible. There will also be a Homebrew competition occurring concurrently with the beer and wine tasting. Learn more now.

Forget the groundhog. Trust your local brewers
Who cares what a stupid rodent in PA says about winter? Your CT craft brewers know exactly when spring begins; the moment CT’s influx of springtime beer festivals start to take place. The scene outside your winter might say frozen tundra, but you know it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be chanting frozen keg. Make sure not to miss these top 5 CT spring beer festivals, and let us know what other festivals are can’t misses for the season.

10 Great Resources for Real-Time Connecticut Craft Beer News

When it comes to craft beer, words can’t compare to actually getting your hands on the best libations our state has to offer. But without these CT-based bloggers and writers and their words, Connecticut’s growing population of beer enthusiasts would have a hard time knowing where to go to find the best brews. Here are 10 of the best CT-based beer writers and bloggers every beer enthusiast should have on their radar (in alphabetical order):

Connecticut Beer Trail
The team at Connecticut Beer Trail offers some of the most extensive coverage of the CT Craft Beer scene. Aside from an exhaustive listing of beer bars, beer stores, brew pubs, breweries and home brew shops, Connecticut Beer Trail also offers a Trail Blazer’s Club membership. Members of the club receive discounts at a large number of craft beer destinations throughout Connecticut.

Where to connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Connecticut Girls’ Pint Out
Connecticut Girls Pint Out is a chapter of the national Girls Pint Out non-profit organization,
designed to build a community of women who love craft beer. Girls Pint Out offers a forum
for discussion, education and, of course, fun. Events held by the organization are educational,
charitable as well as social. Most often these events are women-only, but there are times
when men are invited.

Where to connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

CTBeer – Reddit
It takes a lot to moderate a massive undertaking like the CTBeer Reddit page. It also takes a special kind of passion for CT craft beer. That’s exactly why Chris CT Brewtopian and Chris MarleyMarl are the best people for the job. Following every single craft beer update, news, and trends is as simple as knowing where to find CT’s most dedicated beer lovers – Chris CT Brewtopian & Chris MarleyMarl.

Where to connect: CTBeer – Reddit | Twitter – Chris CT Brewtopian | Twitter – Chris MarleyMarl | Instagram – Chris CT Brewtopian

Dan & Kristin – OmNomCT

While you may struggle to understand what OmNom means, all you really should be concerned about is that OmNom (the sounds we make when we’re eating or drinking something we love) loves to talk about beer. The blog encompasses the food scene in CT, but they also provide in-depth coverage of craft beers and events throughout Connecticut. They also host their own events from time to time, where they proudly serve their own homebrew creation.

Where to connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Erik Ofgang/Connecticut Magazine

Erik Ofgang is a passionate guy, and his passions involve writing, beer and Connecticut, which makes him worthy of your attention. He writes a column for Connecticut Magazine about all the important news and events revolving our CT craft beer community, and is also writing a book based entirely on the majesty that is CT Beer. If your goal is to keep your finger on the pulse of all that is New England craft beer, Erik is your lifeblood.

Where to connect: Website | Twitter

James Gribbon – Friday Froth
James writes a weekly column for called “Friday Froth”. Here you can read about his opinions on beer and other entertaining pursuits. He frequently visits CT Breweries and beer festivals and reports on his interesting experiences. He’s also great to follow to learn more about craft beer news anywhere.

Where to connect: Website | Twitter

Jeff Dale – The Hour
Jeff Dale’s on a quest to try every single craft beer imaginable. While he’s also a night side editor for The Hours News, he happily dedicates his time to the Happy Hour blog, which is designed to help others throughout CT nurture and explore their passion for beer. His Happy Hour blog is a pretty impressive compilation of everything and anything a beer love would want, all displayed in a beautiful user-friendly site. He’s extremely active on Twitter, and doles out such advice as “Dive Bar Rules” as well as shedding light on national headlines, such as the push back from craft brewers following Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad.

Where to connect: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Kristen Bayusik – Now Beer This

We’d like to think that beer and music go hand in hand, which is why Now Beer This is such a harmonious blog that strikes a chord with its audience (can we think of any more music-based metaphors?). Kristen Bayusik runs the blog. It features music and beer reviews, beer brewing recipes (she’s also a home brewer) and fun concepts such as Beer/Record pairings.

Where to connect: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Stephen Wood – Connecticut Museum Quest
Stephen is REALLY dedicated. He has done hundreds, if not thousands, of CT beer reviews and is close to a lot of the brewers. And, he’s been doing it for YEARS, before the “craft beer explosion”. Connecticut Museum Quest isn’t just about “Museums”. Stephen writes about EVERYTHING in CT, especially local beer.

Where to connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Will Siss/Waterbury Republican-American
No CT beer list would be complete without rounding it out with Will Siss, CT’s very own beer snob. He writes a column in the Waterbury Republican-American, and also leads beer-tasting presentations. His book, Connecticut Beer, is due out in April 2015. Don’t let the name fool you. He might be called the Beer Snob, but he’s all too willing to share what he knows with the rest of the beer-loving community.

Where to connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter