Like the increasing number of vineyards for wine-lovers, craft breweries are quenching the thirst of parched beer-lovers throughout Connecticut. With a brewery scene so vibrant, you’ll want to visit them all! Here are our top 10 2021 favorites.
Selling its first beer—American Ale—in 2012, the owners and brewers at Thimble Island Brewing quickly gained a following with Connecticut residents. They are the largest self-distributing micro-brewery in Connecticut and feature a beautiful tasting room and brewery tours. Beers include their original amber American Ale, delicious malty Black & Tan, thick Vanilla Coffee Stout, and excellent, strong caramel ale called Mutiny. They also are an affordable option for mid-sized private parties and functions.
With the aim to brew unusual and unexpected beers, Stubborn Beauty Brewing Company has created seven tantalizing beer options. One of their top brews, Nummy Nummy, is a double IPA with a strong hops profile. Stubborn Beauty Brewing is open for tastings on Friday and Saturday afternoons.
Specializing in small batch, craft brews, Relic Brewing is an excellent choice for those seeking a specialty beer. Beers include Blackheart Black Lager, which is a chocolate, black lager, Denali IPA, 1776 Porter, which is a brown, nutty porter, and several other options. Beer tastings occur on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons, and their current beer menu can be found online.
Created by three beer lovers (and their two dogs), Hanging Hills Brewing Company takes its name from the mystical Hanging Hills in the Quinnipiac River Valley, due to its creepy myth leading to adventurous visitors. Hanging Hills Brewing Company has created 20 beers ranging from hoppy IPAs to the darkest stouts. Visit Hanging Hills Brewing Company on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for tastings. Eight beers are on tap and several can be purchased in growlers or cans.
The husband-wife duo at Brewery Legitimus specializes in brewing Belgian and American craft beers. They have created 11 beers including an American brown ale, IPA, Saison, and pale ales. The taproom is open to guests on Thursday through Sunday. Their house beers on tap vary frequently and guest beers are also available on tap.
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Firefly Hollow is worth the time it takes to find. Bring your own snacks and head on up to the bar for a cold glass of craft brew. They offer an impressive number of beer options on tap, in cans, and in casks, although what’s available for serving varies day to day. Firefly Hollow also fills growlers to take home and they have a packed events schedule featuring live music.
Located in a beautiful, converted brick industrial building in downtown Norwich, These Guys Brewing is a fun bar with delicious food and an extensive beer selection. Their homebrewed craft beer on tap has something for every beer lover with hoppy light beers to heavy, chocolatey dark beers. The scrumptious lunch, dinner, and brunch menu (Sundays only) has some amazing options to accompany any beer. Our picks are the mac and cheese and the flavorful fish and chips.
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Open Wednesday through Sunday for tastings, flights, pints, purchases, and growler fills, 30 Mile Brewing is an excellent choice for beer lovers in Connecticut. Located in the quaint, shoreline town of Old Saybrook, 30 Mile Brewing incorporates locally grown ingredients, especially hops. Their craft brewed beers on tap include Caffe a Borghesi on Nitro, which is a nitro coffee porter, AYHBTU Dry Hopped, an IPA, Baby Fight Club, an American IPA, and more. 30 Mile Brewing also encourages visitors to bring their own snacks to accompany their beer.
Complete with their own podcast, this hipster haven is located in an old industrial building, making it all the more Instagrammable. Beer options include Bright, a blonde, citrusy beer, Bee Enlightened, a kolsch beer with honey, and several other that are limited release or occasional. The tasting room is open on Friday through Sunday with brewery tours only on Saturday. Events are also frequent at Half Full Brewery, so check their website for further details.
City Steam Brewery is located in the historic Cheney Building, a building that is considered the finest example of Romanesque architecture in the U.S. Staying true to the building’s history, City Steam Brewery has incorporated much of the details, such as railings, from the original building. City Steam utilizes steam brewing to create their homebrewed beers such as a porter, pilsner, and ale. They also offer a gluten free food menu.