Arriving a bit early for Saturday’s 1 PM pouring at BEER’D, I stroll around the old storage and arts warehouse this new 3-barrel brewery in Connecticut’s seafaring Stonington calls home. Amongst the art galleries and photography studios at the Velvet Mill, Beer’d is the pride of owner-operator Aaren Simoncini, a Rochester Institute of Technology grad whose boutique nanobrewery opened belatedly due to the loss of electricity during Hurricane Sandy. Despite the historic storm’s northeast devastation, Beer’d began serving the local community by mid-November 2012. Upon my mid-December visit, three flagship beers are out strictly because of the storm’s impact.
Starting as a homebrewer, Simoncini (an accountant by day) thought about getting a loan for a larger brewing setup, but decided to keep his ambitions small, settling at this rustic white-walled, gray-floored space for the time being.
A few couples (one with a German Shepherd) and a single male drop by for growler refills while the courteous Simoncini pours me some samples. My wife and daughter head down the hall to a furniture restoration shop as I grab my first sips.
Appealingly casual chartreuse-hazed Whisker’d Wit did a fine job emulating the bright fruited Belgian style, despite purposely leaving out coriander (a key ingredient). A dainty candi-sugared curacao orange peel theme spreads across its hop-spiced lemon zest, carbolic Gose-like salting and wheat-honeyed Munich malting. Citric tangerine, navel orange and clementine undertones and a wavering banana sweetness fill out the sourdough back end.
When Beer’d gets rolling full strength, other flagship beers to look for include Midnight Oil Oatmeal Stout and Anomaly Black IPA. There is a Belgian Tripel planned as well.
Anyway… my friend Dennis sojourned to Beer’d during April ’13 and got two more delectable libations. Coarsely rich Beer’d American Brown Ale tossed dark-roasted coffee bittering at dry hop-charred earthen peat, peanut-shelled walnut, Blackstrap molasses and lemon-peeled souring. Gaining acceptance by more robust thirsts, this fine offering still took a backseat to one of the best Imperial India Pale Ales in New England.
Crisply fresh Beer’d Epiphany Double IPA brought brisk piney citrus brightness to soft-watered floral spicing in a totally seamless manner. Juicy pink grapefruit, navel orange, blood orange and tangerine fruiting led the way for this truly approachable classic.
During quick June ’13 stopover, picked up growler of Beer’d Realization Double IPA, a distinct full-bodied charmer with succinct orange-peeled grapefruit bitterness lacquering mineral-grained piney hop bitterness as well as brisk red apple, brown pear, tangerine, pineapple and plum illusions.
Found two more incredible Imperial India Pale Ales while stopping by for half-hour, March ’14. Triumphant hophead delight, Beer’d Vegemite Sandwich DIPA, hid its massive 9.5% alcohol whir below delicious yellow grapefruit-peeled pineapple tang and bitter wood-dried juniper hop bite. Tertiary lemon rind, navel orange, clementine and lime illusions got sweetened by sugary crystal malts.
Utilizing the same sunny citrus template, the equally compelling Dogs & Boats DIPA gained a tropical assertion to go alongside its lusty yellow grapefruit aromatics and candied pineapple-orange-berry insistence. Crisply clean-watered Citra/ Mosaic hop influence brings springtime freshness to the brute citric force.
Also bought growler of cocoa-chalked Midnight Oil Oatmeal Stout, a solid-bodied dark ale with oats-charred brown chocolate malting and dark-roasted hops inundating dry burgundy wining, coffee-oiled bittering, burnt toast acridity and sour soy snips.