NEW BRITAIN, CONNECTICUT
Yet another worthy Connecticut-based warehouse brewery, New Britain’s ALVARIUM BEER COMPANY opened June ’17. Creating the “ultra communal taproom,” Hardware City’s first microbrew is head brewer Chris De Gasero’s creation. His wide spectrum of semi-permanent and one-off beer recipes brings lots of locals to the pristine pub.
Inside its echoey chamber, Alvarium’s serving station features reclaimed red oak for its bar, 12 stainless steel draught taps and a chalk-boarded beer menu. Antique chop-blocked community tables, living room furnishings (off to the side) and several brewtank-sidled stools fill out the bustling room. Solid steel I-beams hang from the pipe-exposed aluminum ceiling.
On our one-hour stopover on the way to Boston Common’s annual Freedom Fest, my wife and I stop by to try all ten available brews, September ’18.
Dry corn-flaked Cremo Traditional Ale, Alvarium’s original flagship, let caramelized pale malts slip past its grassy hop stead for an ultra-clean opener.
A mild lemon spritz usurped equally moderate Kraftwerk Hefeweizen, upending its stylish banana-clove-bubblegum sweetness, raw-honeyed wheat malting and light vanilla snips.
Sharp IPA-like fruiting welcomed hybridized Werkshop: Amarillo/Bravo-hopped Hefeweizen, where lemony orange-peeled grapefruit bitterness and musky herbal hops overrode any banana-clove semblance.
Understated White Denim Witbier let its sweet orange-peeled coriander spicing endure alongside honeyed chamomile herbage to its baked-breaded white wheat spine, picking up a soapy carbolic frisk at the timid finish.
Thickly hazed chartreuse turbidity clouded two fine India Pale Ales. Peach-pureed Craft Sorceress Session IPA gained lemon-seeded souring above grassy-hopped herbage and groaty wet graining. Meanwhile, dry Mosaic-Citra-hopped Phresh Northeast IPA provided sour lemon liming for ruby red grapefruit tanginess, mango sweetness and orange juiciness above groaty malts, becoming a colorful “rainbow sherbet experience.”
Another East Coast IPA, Treewalker, brought mossy caramelized rye malting to piney citrus-candied luster. Yet another, opaque orange-mango-hued Light Me Up IPA benefited from subtle pineapple-pureed passionfruit tartness and flaked wheat malting, gaining a briskly clean yellow grapefruit bittering at the midst.
A bitter grapefruit bite imbibed Starman Imperial IPA, a Galaxy-Citra-hopped medium body with spritzy lemondrop tartness guarding passionfruit, guava and mango tropicalia.
Light salinity prickled oyster-shelled Shuck Nitro Stout, leaving bitter walnut-shelled black chocolate chalkiness upon charred hops.