Well, it’s many a days I’ve traveled a million miles or more, But a short list of breweries I’ve never made before.
So, I’ve decided to start a short list. These are breweries that have a little extra oomph that makes them on a short list. While I started this blog for Ct breweries, I did the RI brewery trail in 2018 and I feel like I really should start with an honorable mention. If you find yourself in the Ocean State, I know I’ve mentioned it several times already, but you really should try out Revival Brewery. They gots them some good beer. Also, their smoked BBQ there is do die for. I will still make trips all the way to Rhode Island just to go to this brewery and stock up on beer once or twice a year. I have 1 can of Pinky Swear still in my fridge. It calls to me, but I can’t bring myself to drink it because once it’s gone there will be none left in my fridge! I have found some of Revival Brewery’s beer sold in cans at my local booze store (Total Wines and Liquors in West Hartford). Sadly, they only import the IPA and if I have made anything abundantly clear it is my dislike of IPA.
What does “short list” mean? Well, for you these are the breweries that you really need to make the effort to go to. If you are at all doing the Ct beer thing you should hit these up or your really aren’t getting the best of what Ct has to offer. For ME these are the ones that after the year of beer is over I will make the extra effort to go back to. These are the ones I will talk to my local beer store and say. “Please contact these people and stock these beers. I will buy them.” These are the ones that I will, when I’m having a party, buy a growler from. For me the short list are the ones I will make the EXTRA effort to go back to after the year of beer is over. That isn’t to say I won’t go back to some other ones if I’m in the area, but I might not make a SPECIAL trip JUST for them.
Without further ado… EB Savage’s short list…
Hog River: Located in Parkville in Hartford, Ct. This little gem is great. The beer offerings are varied, interesting and extremely good. It is a vibrant atmosphere. There is lots of seating. Food trucks are available and rotating. It is located where other food is easily accessible. They are a highly recommended short list addition. (downside: parking is limited).
Willimantic Brewery and Cafe: Located in Willimantic, Ct. This one is extremely good. They also have food. I love the interesting things they are doing with beer. I’m sold. There was a wide variety of beer styles and all of them were well crafted. There is a lot of seating in the restaurant side, and another traditional brewery section available as well. There is parking, and it has a great vibe going on. I definitely have this on my short list. (Downside: It is a bit of a drive if you aren’t from the area)
Labyrinth Brewery: Located in Manchester, Ct. This place has the cutest set up for flights! They also have good beer of a wide variety. They show their chops in the brewing business by having quality beers to suit a wide variety of tastes. If you can get past the occasional mediocre cover singers, you will understand why this place is HOPPING on the weekends! (downside: mediocre cover singers on some nights)
Alvarium Brewery: Located in New Britain. This brewery has a vibrant scene going on with different functional sections in the brewery, a couch seating area, a bar area, and a large table area. They have a wide variety of beers to suit any tastes. They are doing some interesting things with their beers and present solid classics alongside experimental stuff. The people there are really friendly and engaging and love to talk about what they are doing now and plans for new beers to come. Parking is abundant. (Downside: not a lot of bathrooms per large space)
That is my short list for now. I will do new short list updates as I progress through the Ct Year of Beer. What puts a place on the short list you ask? Here are my criteria.
- A warm welcoming environment with friendly staff, comfortable interior, and plenty of seating. Staff understand what they are talking about when you ask them questions about the beer.
- A variety of beer. Not just 1 beer I really like. A wide variety of different styles of beer, and I LIKE most all of them. Dark beers, light beers, wheat beers, sours, etc. They aren’t just hampered into to 1 or 2, but are working with a variety of things and they are all quality.
- Experimentation! Even if I don’t like it personally, I’m impressed by experimentation outside of the IPA sphere. Push the envelope. Try something next and exciting. Even if it doesn’t work I like supporting new and exciting innovations.
- Do I just plain like the beer? Sometimes beer is good, but mildly forgettable. Do they have something that I come away saying. WOW that was unforgettable beer. I want more of it! I want to go back and drink more of that beer! YEAH! Not just good beer, but unforgettably good beer.
If it hits all of these points, I feel the brewery should be on a short list. A place that if you are going to do the Ct brewery trail you are remiss if you don’t hit “THAT ONE”.