Just off Route 95 in the naval submarine-based New England town of Groton, founders Tom Drejer and Matt Ferrucci opened warehouse-garaged OUTER LIGHT BREWING COMPANY DURING April ’15. A few blocks from the Thames River in an unfinished space, Outer Light has already expanded sufficiently with its three new silver-shined 60-barrel fermenters. And an upgrade for its skeletal tap room seems as imminent as the soon-to-be utilized bottling line.
While crafting over 30 small-batch brews since its initiation, three flagship offerings took hold. During my 1-hour stopover, March ’16, I get to try the well-designed trio plus one peachy saison and oyster-shelled stout. Served in 5-ounce candleholders at the 10-stool bar from tiled steel taps, each tidy sample delivered expressive flavor profiles heightened by clean mineral watered crisping.
The lightest and most accessible year-round libation, Lonesome Boatman Red Ale, brought caramel-toasted fruit spicing to the fore as dainty red apple, peach, tangerine and nectarine illusions took hold. Next, Subduction IPA allowed mildly bitter yellow grapefruit and orange rind briskness to gain piney hop resin and light floral daubs over sugary caramel malts.
Just as excellent, Libation Propaganda Coffee Stout piled profound dark-roasted coffee intensity atop charred hop bittering as tertiary black chocolate, espresso and cacao nibs illusions added depth.
Another fine dark ale, Noank Smack Oyster Stout, let oyster shells provide a creamier base for black coffee richness, sweet chocolate sedation and oats-sugared mocha malting.
An intriguing hybrid, Nutmeg State Peach Saison plied its Belgian farmhouse yeast funk, salty coriander spicing and mineral-grained crisping with sharp lemon-soured peach tones.
As local beer lovers start filling the joint up and Red Hot Chili Peppers play in the background this sunny Sunday afternoon, the future sure looks bright for the vibrant Outer Light.