Hog River Brewery

Address 1429 Park St, Hartford, CT

http://www.hogriverbrewing.com/

Hours Closed Mon/Tues Wed 3-8 Thurs/Fri 3-10 Sat 12-10 Sun 12-6

I went on a Sat before going over to Real Art Ways to watch a movie. I was with a friend and we were there between 5:30-6:30pm. It is located in a repurposed industrial building. Other businesses are also located inside.

Food: There was a food truck outside. There is also a restaurant in the building.

Atmosphere/vibe: It has a young hip urban vibe. There were some kids there. They have a lot of seating. There are long tables in the center of the room. There is a smaller side room that has tables in it that is clearly where you can reserve a table if you are having a party. It is open, but a little set aside. There are also benches and small tables scattered all around. This seems like a really great set up for various objectives. 1. If you wanted to have a party here, but not feel like you are set apart, this side room is perfect. It is completely open to the main area, but also a little aside if you are doing a birthday party, or bachelorette party, etc for stuff just your group is doing. The long tables are great if you are coming with a group. The smaller tables set aside would be great if you are taking someone on a date. It isn’t private or intimate, but it is not quite as “apart” so it is great for conversation. They have a very steampunk/industrial thing going on with all the huge machinery from the old factory painted over and still around. Ceilings are super tall, but the acoustics aren’t bad where it is just too noisy.

Service: The downside is that they only have 1 register with 1 guy on one little counter for everyone. It was hopping on a Sat early evening. It really would be more expeditious to have more registers.

Beer

I was blown away. Now, I have to say I went in with not unreasonable high hopes. I had, about a month earlier, gone up to West Springfield to play a table top RPG. One of the other players had also brought beer. They offered to let me try theirs. It was a brown from Hog River. It was smooth and delicious. I was impressed, so while they did not have that specific beer on tap when I went, I had high hopes.

As for the beers on tap the day I went…

For anyone who has read any of my prior posts, you will realize that I do not like hoppy beer and thus do not like IPA. I didn’t try any of the IPA. If you like IPA, you won’t really get much input on the IPAs available unless I’m with someone who does like IPA and tried it. I tried a flight of Golden Messenger Kolsch-style ale, Winter Wheat Red, Rumple Dumple Sour Ale, and Black Earth Pilsner. I will start by saying that if you like breweries, are from Ct, and want to do the Brewery trail this is a definite stop. You do not want to miss this one. They deliver in spades.

The Kolsch was crisp, not very hoppy, and a real pleasure to drink. Highly enjoyable.

The Winter Red was delicious! There was a nutty spicy flavor that came through. It was a delicious wheat ale. I loved it.

The Rumple Dumple was a wheat sour with raspberry and cherry flavors in it. The tart fruity flavors came through and were very delicious!

The Black Pilsner is the only one I had a problem with. Not because it wasn’t delicious. It was. I’m a big fan! I guess I was just thrown off with their advertisement that it was a “light beer” with the flavors of a dark beer. There is nothing light about it. It is a very heavy beer. Delicious! I’m a big fan mind you. If you like dark beers you are going to love this one. Velvety, full bodied, complex… really a great beer. I was completely won over by their beer selection and that they had such a complex variety that weren’t IPA.

Black Pilsner, Red, Sour, Kolsch

Parking is not particularly easy. There is minimal parking.

Area and safety

You are very neer Pope Park which you should NOT walk in at night, especially by yourself. It is near a fast track line which is good if you need public transit and don’t want to drive after having one too many. I would consider this to be a fine neighborhood during the day, but at night I think you should probably go in a group. Wear sensible shoes. The sidewalks aren’t in the best repair. Note, there are a lot of panhandlers on the street and by the bus stop. They are harmless, but be aware if this makes you uncomfortable.  I used to live in the Park Place Towers. (literally around the corner) The area doesn’t bother me, but it is in an urban lower income area. If you are not used to urban neighborhoods, you just have to have a little city sense to know when a situation is just uncomfortable for someone who is used to rural or suburban, or when a situation is dangerous. I am a strong proponent that any revitalization done to lower income urban areas should NOT just turn into gentrification. Bringing Jobs and fixing up abandoned buildings to use for purposes is great, but not at the cost of the neighborhoods they are in. Parkville is generally safe. I’ve lived there. I drive through it multiple times a week. I’m just saying that if you are female, and you go alone, at night… pay attention where you park and park smart. Don’t do something like park in Pope Park because there is no closer parking and walk alone through the park at night after drinking beer.

Overall

The Hog River Brewery needs to be on your list if you have any interest whatsoever in Beer and are going to Ct Breweries. I’m only glad that this brewery is close to where my husband works and not far from our house. It is definitely going to be one I frequent after the Year of Beer is over. There is also this funky weird oddity/antique/weirdness shop in the same industrial building. I forget it’s name, but totally go check it out, especially if you like odd and weird things.

Why you should go:  It has a lot of seating, an excellent lineup of beer, and a funky feel. As I go to breweries there are breweries I like… and breweries I plan on going back to. This is definitely one I plan on going back to. HIGHLY recommend. I think it would be a shame to be a CT beer fan and not check them out at least once.

What could be improved:My big drawback is lack of parking. It is close to a fast track line however. There is only 1 register open that you order and get served from which can cause a backup when they are busy.

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