Address: 765 Sullivan Ave South Windsor
HoursWed. & Thurs. – 3PM to 8PM
Fri. & Sat. – 12PM to 9PM
Sun. – 12PM to 6PM
I went on a Sat with some friends. We pulled into the parking lot right at noon. I thought I would be the first there, but there was already some people at the bar. We got a table right next to the bar. It wasn’t very busy right at opening. There were about 3 or 4 people at the bar.
They do not offer food. We got there right when they were opening, and there was a food truck parked outside that was preparing for food service. It looks like that is a normal set up. The food truck looked interesting.
Back in the brewing room there was a woman setting up tables which looked like for a party. I’m guessing that they have birthday parties and such. The main tasting room was VERY big. It was a very large room. Off of the main room (although glass french doors were closed) was another good sized room. I can see this room being used for events, or private parties. This place has space in spades. It had an “airplane theme” with pictures of airplanes, vintage propellers, etc. The whole place had a very “man cave” restaurant theme. There were big tvs with sportsball on them. It really went with the man/bar restaurant vibe. If you are into the sports theme restaurant bar, it has it in spades. I went with 2 friends on a Sat morning in early February. They had the inside decorated for Valentines Day with pink and red paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling. The place had a VERY “restaurant feel”, but they do not serve food which felt a little disconnected. The bathrooms were VERY clean. Probably the cleanest bathrooms in a brewery/bar that I’ve seen. The whole place was very clean.
There is no table service or food service. You can go up to the bar to order your beer. Service is acceptable, no complaints of negligence. It was not overly engaging. A lot of the breweries, maybe because of their small taprooms, seem intimate like you are part of something even if you aren’t engaging. This has such a large room, which I think is great. I hate showing up to a brewery, especially with several people, and can’t find a seat. No problems here, but couple that with lack of homey engagement from staff it feels a little… stiff. It would have been nicer to have a little more engagement with staff. I like to talk about the beers and brewing. They had the aura of “we are here to help you if you need help, otherwise we are busy.”
The Ct River Valley Brewing Company is a very IPA heavy brewery. I didn’t try any of the IPA, because I don’t like IPA. I did like that they had half pours. I’m not sure if they do flights, but I liked that they have half pours so that you can try several or one. They have cans. I was disappointed. They had a sour on their tap list, but it was crossed out. They did have a sour in cans. Had they had the sour on tap and I tried it, I would have been very likely to buy it in cans. Sours don’t get canned often at breweries.
They did have a stout on tap, but it was a coffee stout, which I’m not a big fan of. I ended up ordering a half pour of the Double wasp Doppelbock lager. One of my friends ordered the Ace of Aces Lager. She does not like hoppy beer, but she enjoyed the lager very much. Her words were “When I burp it has a good flavor.” “I don’t know how to talk about beers, but I could say it was crisp.” “It’s not very bitter.”
I enjoyed the Double Wasp as well. It had a nice flavor. It was creamy, a little sweet, but I wouldn’t say it was a “Sweet” beer, it just had a little sweetness to it. There were a little nutty toasty to the flavor. I liked it.
I have to say the artwork on the cans is great. Really awesome artwork. I was really disappointed they did not have a sour on tap.
Plenty of parking. There is no lack of parking. There are handicaps spots, and there aren’t any steps to get inside. It is very handicap friendly, however all of the bar stools and high tops (near the bar) are going to be difficult for handicapped. There are shorter tables farther away from the bar, but then anyone in a wheelchair will be quite a ways away from the bar.
Area and safety
It is in a rural area. Easy to pass as they do not have a large sign on the building and do not have a logo sign out at the street. It is set back from the street. The area seems like a safe parking lot at night, but I wouldn’t walk there at night. It is a busy main road that doesn’t seem lit for pedestrians and doesn’t have sidewalks.
Overall: It lacks the intimate vibe that many of the breweries in Ct have. It feels more like a chain restaurant. I think this could be combated by adding homey elements. It seems like it would be easy to rearrange their VERY LARGE tap room into areas, perhaps some comfy couches and chairs in little intimate seating areas. Maybe adding some kind of break up of the restaurant-like rows of tables. The very beige walls didn’t help. Dunno… It just felt very chain-restaurant. I wanted something more intimate and homey. They seem to have a great following, so that might be my opinion.
Why you should go: If you like the sports bar guys restaurant vibe it is the vibe for you. They have a lot of IPAs. They seem to be able to accommodate private parties with a separate room. They are very clean and have lots of space and parking. They seem to have events like beer and chocolate pairings. Several advertisements were poste on this.
What could be improved: They don’t have a lot of non-IPA selections, but the 2 we tried were good. If you are looking for the local craft brewery intimate feel it doesn’t have it. It has more of a generic dude chain sports restaurant vibe. The staff weren’t very interactive.