Residing at a historic factory on a spooky hillside above downtown Bristol, FIREFLY HOLLOW BREWING COMPANY certainly makes the most of its raw warehouse space. Open for business, October 24, 2013, this rustic partner-owned microbrewery takes advantage of its ample size, using a wood-furnished left side lounge (with upholstered benches and exposed ducts) to provide a relaxed vibe across from the 20-seat L-shaped serving area.
Becoming part of a growing Connecticut trend, Firefly Hollow’s conveniently located inside an industrial warehouse plant – just like nearby Broad Brook and Relic. Rad logo-designed black-and-blue pottery mugs and homemade ceramic tap handles welcome visitors to the serving station.
As my wife and I settle in late Sunday morning early February 2014, Elton John’s clap-happy “Bennie & The Jets” plays loudly. We take the two far right chairs closest to the seperate brewing area. Though Firefly Hollow’s popular Toad Stool Oat Stout is out today, there are two fine midrange beers for softer palates as well as one galvanizing porter (even better on nitro) and a unique smoked beer.
The place fills up as I quaff the five ambitious prospects.
Dewy ESB-like mossing and tea-like hop toasting front the dried-fruited Moonrise Amber, a sensible moderation with wispy fig, passionfruit and grapefruit undertones.
Next up, pleasantly light-bodied The Wisp American Pale Ale (the second lightest offering next to the unavailable Ramshackle Golden Mild) brings a gentle caramel-spiced citric spritz to tangy orange-grapefruit-peach sweetness and tropical guava-kiwi-passionfruit souring.
Bourbon-soaked wood chips and Scottish peat malts consume the fine Smokey Moore Scottish Ale, a smooth medium body with mild ruachbier tendencies.
Ecuadorian cocoa nibs bring a subtle complexity to velvety Emily’s Choconut Porter. Nearly majestic, its dark-roasted coffee nuttiness, chocolate-chipped mocha malting, toasted coconut affectations and vanilla-beaned Baker’s chocolate bittering drape the delicate soft-watered backdrop.
On nitro, Emily’s Choconut becomes a softly creamed maple walnut milkshake with coffee-chocolate overtones and wispy dried fruiting.