Find the Perfect Ale along Connecticut's Beer Trail
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing Sunday afternoon with friends or a longer vacation with a significant other, take a few days to explore the Connecticut Beer Trail. Connecticut is home to some of the best breweries in the country! The Connecticut Beer Trail spotlights the high quality and creative diversity of fresh, hand-crafted, locally-brewed beer, linking together some of the best breweries in the nation. Take a few days out of your hectic schedule to experience the beer trail and unwind along the way. There are also a wide range of award-winning breweries and brew pubs throughout the state, so if you’re looking for the perfect ale, chances are it is here! Cheers!
254 Crown Street, New Haven CT 06511 // (203) 495-8924
Housed in a 1915 automobile show room, BAR, which has been recognized by the Connecticut Institute of Architects for its “outstanding design”, offers a cool atmosphere to unwind with friends. As New Haven’s first brew pub, BAR offers four affordable styles of freshly micro-brewed beer: Toasted Blonde, Amber, Pale and Stout. Guests can enjoy the brews in one of BAR’s three distinctive rooms; the front room equipped with a pool table and wide screen TV to catch a game, the BRU room where BAR’s micro-brewed beer is accompanied by freshly made brick-oven pizzas and finally the BARtropolis room, a high energy dance club that is sure to provide a great time.
84 Main Street Torrington, CT 06790 // (860) 489-8900
Operating on the motto “Eat, Drink, Live” Backstage is a great place for a night out with friends and family. Backstage offers over 80 varieties of craft brew beers and with more than 20 brews on tap and 70 bottled beers to choose from, there is sure to be something to please everyone. Backstage also offers a well priced and carefully selected wine list for those with a different palate. With a great menu including 12 hand-crafted burgers to choose from and a brunch menu for the weekends, Backstage is a place everyone can enjoy. Located next to the Warner Theater, Backstage is open late on show nights to accommodate theater goers, but don’t forget to visit the website to make your reservations in advance.
Beer’d Brewing Company
American Velvet Mill, 22 Bayveiw Ave., Stonington, CT 06378 // (860) 857-1014
Located inside an old velvet mill that now houses artist studios Beer’d Brewery is a Nano Brewery. It’s 93 gallon/3 BBL brew house allows the brewer and owner Aaren Simoncini to be creative, agile and extremely hands on with every ounce of beer he produces. Whister’d Wit, the breweries flagship is on tap year round, spring beers include a series of Double IPA’s, a new American Pale Ale and a Rye IPA. Beer’d Brewery is open Friday 5pm to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday 1pm to 5pm for free tastings and Growler sales.
115 Hurley Rd. Bldg 9A, Oxford CT 06478 // (203) 262-6075
Owner and Brewer Mike McCreary had to redirect his life after the recession of 2008. After serving in the United States Army and Army Reserves for over twenty years, McCreary decided to turn his love for beer and beer-making into a career. After learning from many local breweries in the UK while training, Cavalry Brewing was born. It serves to tell stories about McCreary’s military experiences and friends made over the years. Just released “X-Limited” reads on the back label, “In the military an "X" means it's experimental. Critique this beer by using the lot number on the side of the label. Click on ‘X-Limited Edition’, input the lot number & leave your comments. Let us know if it's a Patriot or a Scud!”
Cambridge House Brew Pub
357 Salmon Brook Street, Granby, CT 06035 // (860)-653-2739
The Cambridge House Brew Pub is a family-style community tavern and microbrewery in one, serving the residents of north-central Connecticut real crafted beers, food and live entertainment in the heart of Granby. The microbrewery has produced many craft beers over the past seven years, with award-winning originals, including: Three Steve Stout, Alt 45, Ominous Forecast, Copper Hill Kolsch and its renowned Abijah Rowe IPA. The Cambridge house pairs award-winning craft beers with a food menu of classic pub fare, American grilled burgers and steaks, and inventive comfort food for every palate, along with distinct signature desserts. CBH procures the ingredients for their food and libations fresh, supporting the local farms and farmers of Connecticut and Massachusetts. This lively neighborhood Brew Pub hosts locals, guests and 200 Mug Club members to lunch and dinner six days a week, and features live music, beer dinners, beer tastings and beer educational events.
The Cask Republic
179 Crown Street New Haven, CT 06510 // (475) 238-8335
If you are a beer connoisseur (or just enjoy a good brew) the Cask Republic is the place to go. Located in New Haven, this restaurant and bar has 53 continuously rotating taps, a cask engine and more than 80 varieties of bottled beer. As if this isn’t enough to prompt a visit to this neighborhood hangout, the Cask Republic also barrels and bottles aging beer on site. Here, Chef Carl Carrion certainly hasn’t forgotten the importance of good food, as he has created a menu that compliments the beer offered. Enjoy a grilled bratwurst or eggplant parmesan sandwich while sipping on some of the best beer in Connecticut. Located adjacent form the Omni Hotel, The Cask Republic is a must-go dining and drinking destination!
City Steam Brewery Cafe
842 Main Street Hartford, CT 06103 // (860) 525-1600
Housed in a building that was once Connecticut’s largest department store, guests can enjoy great food and beer on nine different levels of seating! Salvaging the cast iron railings and millwork from the old department store, guests get a sense of old charm when visiting the brewery. City Steam gets its name from the Hartford Steam Company, which enables the café to power their 15 barrel brewery with “city-steam”. Enjoy some of the brewery’s famous brews like the Blonde on Blonde Hoppy, Pale Connecticut Ale or the White Wedding Brew, which is unfiltered ale of German Malt, American wheat beer yeast and Belgian style spices. Pair either of these brews or another one of the many other options with chicken teriyaki skewers or three cheese mushroom risotto fritters and enjoy a great evening in the City.
Cottrell Brewing Co.
100 Mechanic St, Pawcatuck CT, 06379 // (860) 599-8213
In 1855, Calvert B. Cottrell, owner of C.B. Cottrell & Sons, Inc, located in Pawcatuck, CT, owned one of the most successful printing press manufacturing companies. Fast forward over 125 years later to 1996 where Cottrells great, great grandson Charles Cottrell Buffum, opened Cottrell Brewing Company. The company aims to provide only products that are fresh, full of character and at the top of their class. The company’s flagship beer, Old Yankee Ale, is bottled and brewed within the old factory walls, with the same pride and attention to quality that generations of Cottrells put into their presses over 100 years ago.
Eli Cannon’s Tap Room
695 Main Street Middletown, CT 06457 // (860) 347-3547
Eli Cannon’s is one of the most interesting places in Connecticut to enjoy a good beer and one of the most awarded with 12 Hartford Advocate Reader’s Choice Awards, four Connecticut Magazine “Best Of” Awards and the Best Beer Menu Award from Malt Advocate Magazine. The tap room describes its atmosphere as an Irish/English pub with an American trailer park fusion. This odd mash-up of tones makes for an exciting place to socialize and relax. Guests can lounge on barber chairs, theater seats, leather couches and an interesting array of other seating options. Eli Cannon’s proudly serves 33 real ales on a rotating tap to ensure quality and freshness. Enjoy anything from Bluemoon to a Farmington River Blonde Ale or even a glass of Vermont’s Woodchuck Hard Cider. There are also many bottled beer options and a great food menu including their award winning chili or buffalo chicken lasagna.
The Ginger Man
99 Washington Street South, Norwalk, CT 06854 // (203) 354-0163
The Ginger Man of Norwalk prides itself on the attention paid to the often overlooked relationship between food and beer. The Ginger Man offers 52 draught beers, one hand pulled cask beer and over 125 bottled selections. They pride themselves on educating their staff and guests on different styles of beer as well as the brewing process and international beer culture. In addition to an excellent daily American pub menu including grilled meatloaf and a seared Ahi tuna BLT, The Ginger Man also offers monthly beer dinners. Each dinner features a different brewery and a five-course menu co-prepared by the brewery and The Ginger Man, which is selected to compliment the five tastes of beer offered. With these great options, The Ginger Man is a great place to explore the world of beer with good friends and good food.
New England Brewing Co.
7 Selden St, Woodbridge, CT 06525 // (203) 387 2222
After working for years on the consulting and sales end of the beer business, owner and brewer Rob Leonard opened his doors in 2001 on a quiet street in Woodbridge where he still is located today. Just a stone’s throw away from the New Haven line, the New England Brewing Co. is known for its Gold Medal Award winning Atlantic Amber, the seasonal Gold Stock Ale, the Sea Hag I.P.A., and the ode to past New Haven Brewers (and drinkers,) the Elm City Lager.
The Olde Burnside Brewing Company
780 Tolland St. East Hartford, CT 06108 // (860) 528-2200
The Olde Burnside Brewing Company, located in East Hartford, is a spinoff company of the families’ original ice manufacturing business, “The Burnside Ice Company” (founded in 1911!) A Scottish theme is found throughout the brewery, sponsoring the Manchester Regional Police and Firefighter Pipe Band and housing the annual “Pipes in the Valley” festival, Connecticut’s premiere Celtic Musical festival, held every Fall. The Olde Burnside Brewing Company is most known for their infamous tap handles. The “Ten Penny Ale” (award winning four years in a row by the Hartford Advocate’s reader’s poll) tap handle sports a handsome bagpiper standing in a stone arch; while the tap for the “Dirty Penny Ale” is a golden Celtic cross emblazoned with a miniature sword, the label itself a 1939 British penny.
Southport Brewing Company
Southport, Stamford, Branford, Milford, and Hamden locations
Located in Connecticut for over eleven years, Southport Brewing Company offers brunch, lunch and dinner menus to accompany the 27 home-made brews made throughout the five restaurants. Restaurant goers can sit and watch the beer making process from beginning to end while casually eating from the large selection of various food choices. Southport Brewing Company categorizes their beer into Tier One, light and refreshing, Tier Two, the most popular, and Tier Three, the most bold and complex.
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
16 Tobey Road Bloomfield, CT 06002 // (860) 242-3111
In their second decade of producing quality craft beers, the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company is proud to make beer that is hand-crafted from the finest malts, hops and ingredients available. Ranked as one of the top 15 micro breweries in the nation by the Beer Advocate, the brewery offers eleven unique beers that include seven ales and four lagers. Enjoy the specialty seasonal beers available, including the spring time Chocolate Truffle Stout or the Watermelon Ale in the summer. Guests can experience the brewery’s atmosphere at one of their open houses on the 1st and 3rd Friday’s of every month or opt to take a tour and tasting offered every Saturday.
Two Roads Brewing Company
1700 Stratford Ave., Stratford, CT 06615 // (203) 335-2010
Two Roads Brewing transformed an 112-year-old building into the state’s largest brewery complete with tasting room open six days a week. Phil Markowski, a Connecticut native who has been brewing craft beer professionally since the 1980’s, leads the brewing team. Striving for unique styles of classic recipes, its five year round beers include a flavorful saison, hearty pils, drinkable hefeweizen, sessionable White IPA and a hoppy Road 2 Ruin Double IPA. Stop by for a pint, six pack, growler or visit the merchandise room. Here’s to taking to road less traveled, in life and in beer!
Willimantic Brewing Company
967 Main Street, Willimantic, CT 06226 // (860) 423-6777
After being housed in two previous locations, “Willi Brew Co.” as many people know it, finally found its current home in a U.S. Post Office Building built in 1909. After lying vacant for almost thirty years after the Federal Government abandoned the building in 1967, Willi Brew Co. moved on in. Many renovations were made, but the original post-office feel still lies intact. The beer at this location is extensive as the 7 barrel brewery produces various in-house selections in addition to the ever changing guest beers brought in. Willi Brew Co. has received numerous awards over the years including the 2011 best brew in Connecticut by Yankee Magazine and the 2011 best brew pub in Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine.
If you are a beer connoisseur, there are also several annual events coming up, including the popular “Bikes & Beer” events that take place at several different breweries during the summer throughout the state.
The CT Beer Trail has attracted people from all over the country and given them the chance to taste some of the best brews out there. The trail offers local Connecticut breweries, brew pubs, beer bars and home brew shops access to an online community that leverages existing marketing efforts under one umbrella to foster and strengthen their shared consumer base and to promote the state's under rated beer culture. For more brewery locations and information on the Connecticut Beer Trail, visit CTBeerTrail.net.
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