One of Connecticut’s first craft breweries (1989), NEW ENGLAND BREWING COMPANY moved across the street to its much bigger Woodbridge digs in 2013. Just off the Merritt Parkway, the silver silo-bound NEBC needed the larger white aluminum facility for its multiple fermenters, increased beer production and experimental research department.
The red brick interior features an overhead-doored pub with copper-top bar, pipe railing and reclaimed wood siding serving the epoxy-floored barrel and table seating from three separate draught stations. A crowded equipment-laden gray-walled brewroom to the left supplies the rangy elixirs.
My wife and I grab seats outside at the black metal-furnished, canopy-topped front patio to down nine previously untried suds, August ’21.
Caramel-spiced dried fruiting, earthen mineral grains and leafy hop moisture appeased Large Farva, a dewy soft-toned Vienna lager.
Lemon-doused Pilot Belgian White Ale made a stylistic turnabout with its expectant coriander-spiced mandarin orange tartness overrun by Huell Melon-hopped white grape esters, hefe-like banana/clove sweetness, mild grapefruit zesting and salted herbal whims.
Lactobacillus-cultured Berliner Weisse, Strawberry Rhubarb Trash, forged ahead with its tart lemon-soured strawberry piquancy greeting sharp cranberry-licked rhubarb pucker and chalked lime parch.
Salted raspberry tartness led Trash Berry, a flattish Berliner Weisse with lightly lemon-soured cranberry and pomegranate pucker.
Dry orange desiccated lemon rot and salty white-peppered herbage melded into raw-grained barnyard acridity for Scrumtrulescent Saison, a slightly phenolic farmhouse digression.
Like a dewily dry English IPA crossed with tropical New Zealand hops, Dose plies tart guava-passionfruit-papaya souring to mild floral herbage and wispy pine tones.
Offshoot Prickly Pear Dose placed easygoing prickly pear tartness alongside peachy grapefruit tanginess as well as subtle passionfruit-melon-pineapple snips.
Another India Pale Ale, bright and fuzzy Mosaic-Citra-Azacca-hopped Stegosuarus flashed spicy orange-peeled grapefruit, pineapple and peach tanginess as well as mild passionfruit, grapefruit and melon illusions above rich pale malt sugaring.
Cold-conditioned Italian espresso roast introduced molasses oats-smoked oatmeal stout, Revelations, picking up mild nut-charred cocoa beaning.
ORIGINAL MAY 2010 ARTICLE
Not necessarily a brewpub originally, though there was always a few taps running in the reception area, NEW ENGLAND BREWING COMPANY has grown into one of the East Coast’s best microbrewers since its humble 1989 inception. On top of that, their increasingly diversified libations are canned for mass distribution. At the forefront of modern beer and ale canning, they became the first East Coast microbrew to deviate away from bottling (second in America after Colorado’s Oskar Blues).
Situated in a red brick building on a back road industrial center behind a mall five miles south of New Haven, I visited this excellent small brewery, May 2010. A nice beer can-bottle collection lines the walls around the reception and garage area and a statue of Elvis Presley oversees the aluminum brew tanks in the rear. Owner Rob Leonard, its initial brewer, bought and relocated the Norwalk-based brewery to Woodbridge in 2001. New England Brewing’s most impressive brews have become specialty strong ales such as New England Wet Willy Scotch Ale and New England Ghandi-Bot Double IPA, plus limited bottled selection includes superfine Imperial Stout Trooper (all reviewed in Beer Index).
BEST CONNECTICUT MICROBREW STORE- One of the best places to find a great selection of microbrewed craft beers is at Gordon’s Yellow Front Wine, just off Route 95 in New London. Featuring many of the finest national and international beers and all the finest local product by New England Brewing, Olde Burnside, Thomas Hooker, City Steam, and Cottrell’s, Gordon’s serves Connecticut’s beer elite better than any other state store I’ve come across since ’97.