Drawing a Crowd—The Connecticut Craft Beer Revolution Last Updated 9/19
The Connecticut craft brew industry is booming. Small start-ups are gaining traction with fans and current establishments are expanding their line ups—and their tasting spaces. Even brewers who’ve been around a while are putting out new and inviting releases. Some offer food, and many are family- and dog-friendly as well. We asked a few craft beer fans what breweries were particularly worthy of checking out right now.
Two Roads Brewing Company, Stratford
The tasting room and beer garden at Two Roads are as popular as ever, and for good reason. This Stratford brewery hosts regular events and offers special seasonal and limited releases and even vintage “from the vault” selections that can only be enjoyed on site. Area Two, now opened, is a sour, barrel-aging and experimental brewery featuirng a tasting room seasonal pation and a rooftop beer garden.
New England Brewing, Woodbridge
Home of the infamous G-bot and legendary Fuzzy Baby Ducks, New England Brewing is one of the longest-lasting breweries in the state. NEBCO recently expanded their tasting room and are dog- and kid-friendly with food vendors on site.
Kent Falls Brewing, Kent
Specializing in farmhouse-style beers, Kent Falls Brewing tends to use lots of fresh, Connecticut-sourced ingredients from coffee beans to wine casks to cherries. The tasting Room is situated within Camp Farms, which allows for farm tours.
Fox Farm Brewery, Salem
They produce mainly NEIPAs at this farm-based brewery, but craft beers fans are finding Fox Farm's offerings reminiscent of Rhode Island’s Tilted Barn and Massachusetts’ popular Tree House. Their laid-back tasting space is based in a 1960s red barn, and you’re welcome to bring your own snacks.
Counter Weight Brewing, Hamden
Owner/brewer Matt opened Counter Weight in 2016 after years as a top brewer for New England Brewing Company. With rotating guest food trucks, the two-story brewery is dog-friendly and features lots of built-in table top games to entertain.
Lasting Brass Brewery, Oakville
Named for "The Brass City" of Waterbury, the homespun Lasting Brass Brewery is owned and operated out of a quaint, refurbished portion of an old factory space. With board games and movies playing for the entire family, Lasting Brass offers lots of different varieties of beers, including the weiss, saisan and sour varieties.
New Park Brewing, West Hartford
This popular West Hartford Brewery is hot, both in location and for producing a great selection of high quality brews, including some of Connecticut’s most consistently great IPAs. New Park also features live music and usually offers a rotation of food trucks, as well as an outdoor patio.
Thomas Hooker Brewery at Colt, Hartford
Tucked into the former Colt Firearms Factory, this outpost of the legendary Thomas Hooker Brewery has an expanded selection of beer along with cocktails, wine and food. The tasting space features firepits and an amazing view of the Hartford skyline.
Relic Brewing, Plainville
A Connecticut player since 2012, Relic is known for doing things their way, particularly for producing well rated small batch brews. The intimate tasting room also offers a unique selection of ciders, wines and spirits from around the world, specializing in gins, whiskeys and mescals.
City Steam, Hartford
Hartford’s venerable City Steam is certainly not one of the new kids on the block. Many people know their famous Naughty Nurse Amber Ale, which was one of the original local craft beers by founding brewmaster Ron Page. But they have quite a few newer offerings as well, and with its uniquely vintage downtown space, restaurant, games and pool tables, City Steam is ripe for a little rediscovery.
Kinsmen Brewing, Milldale
Housed in a refurbished train depot not far from a hiking/biking trail, Kinsmen offers a selection of brews along with oversized parlor games, outdoor picnic games, plush couches, a cozy fireplace, live music, plenty of tabletop seating, a long bar and more.
Brewery Legitimus, New Hartford
The inviting taproom, outdoor patio and a food truck at Brewery Legitimus make for a great tasting experience around their Belgian style beers and American IPAs. Not far from Satan’s Kingdom and Ski Sundown recreational areas, it's also a great place to stop after a day on the river or the slopes.
Brewport Brewing Company, Bridgeport
Choose from house brews or rotating guest taps at this cool urban craft brew oasis. Built in an old newspaper distribution factory with architectural details in every corner, Brewport invites you to sit at old newspaper folding tables or relax at the bar, while enjoying great brick oven pizza, fresh salads and terrific beer.
These Guys Brewing Company, Norwich
Norwich's first brewpub is located in a historic tavern and on a mission is to create unique and delicious brews with an emphasis on complex malt flavors and balance that come together with an ever-evolving seasonal menu.
Thimble Island Brewery Company, Branford
Not only do they have a tasting room, but provided guides brewery tours and fun trivia nights.
You can also find an amazing shared space to taste the beers of smaller breweries at The Beeracks in East Haven. See our Beer Trail page to find even more great places to discover. Of course, make sure you check out the CT Beer Trail too, for the most current list of craft beer destinations around the state!