Holiday Spirits in Fairfield County Last Updated 12/20
What better way to get into the holiday spirit than with...holiday spirits? It’s the perfect time to venture out and discover Connecticut’s growing number of next-generation craft distilleries and breweries which are gaining followings and racking up awards. Many are right here in Fairfield County, offering on-site tours and tastings. Some serve upscale fare to elevate the experience. You’ll find many of them on the Connecticut Spirits Trail; just be sure to check their websites before you go, as hours and offerings may change due to COVID-19.
Brewport in Bridgeport is more than just a brewery, starting with the building itself – constructed in the late 1940s as the central distribution point for all the out of town newspapers in Fairfield County. The menus and other supplies are displayed in the old newspaper vending machines; the bar rails are made from the original steam pipes; and you can even find vestiges of the commercial green paint on the walls. And what about the beer? With names like Daddy’s Little Helper, They Made Me Do It and Old News Double IPA, you know you are in for a treat as you take in the old steam and new beer lines, beams, the pizza oven, fermenters, wart kettle, bright tank and service tanks while enjoying great pizza, fresh salads and terrific beer.
Fifth State Distillery in Bridgeport is the first distillery to open in Fairfield County since January of 1919, the Prohibition era of the 18th Amendment (which Connecticut never ratified). A century later, they continue to produce craft, small batch gin, vodka and corn whiskey using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients from grain to bottle. With the motto “Distilling the Spirit of Connecticut,” locally owned and operated Fifth State invites consumers to share the experience of transforming non-GMO, Connecticut-grown grains into high quality spirits, and to sample the nuances of taste and aroma that separate a good spirit from an amazing, deep and complex one.
Fun-Loving. Audacious. Brilliant. Restless. Impactful. Collaborative. Sounds like a pretty good foundation on which to build a modern company. Well, at Half Full Brewery in Stamford, that’s what they refer to as their “Fabric.” And with names like “Without Rhyme or Reason, People Power, Mango Supernova and Liquid Hoptimism,” you know they have some mad fun crafting some of the most innovative and tasty brews in the area. Take a tour of their Taproom, enjoy some wonderful beer and meet some really cool people.
On February 4, 1919, by a vote of 14 to 20, the Connecticut State Senate failed to ratify the 18th Amendment, making Connecticut the first of only two states to defeat Prohibition. Hence the number “1420” in the name of SoNo 1420/American Craft Distillers in Norwalk. Let’s drink to that! This destination craft distillery produces ultra-premium, alternative grain distilled spirits, and is currently booking safe tours and tastings in their custom-designed industrial building in South Norwalk.
Founded in 2012 by four friends who dreamed of starting a craft brewery, Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford fosters a “road less traveled” philosophy in the beers they make and how they make them. In that spirit, Phil Markowski, their award-winning Brewmaster and 27-year craft beer veteran has created an extensive lineup of popular brews that takes a unique twist on classic beer styles (popular names include Road 2 Ruin, No Limits and Two Juicy). Two Roads was named one of the ten best breweries in America by Paste Magazine and has won many awards, taking the gold for their Belgian Lambic style Ale in 2016 at the Great American Beer Festival. Reservations required for the Tasting Room.