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Entrepreneurial couple Scott and Michele Vallely originally introduced a few gypsy brews crafted at other local brewers’ facilities under the CHARTER OAK BREWING COMPANY banner way back in 2012 before occupying the present 10,000 square-foot Danbury space they’ve now operated since June 2018.

Given a light industrial post-modish setting, Charter Oak crafts a rotating lineup of beers that usually stick to specific stylistic parameters but sometimes tweak details. Thier 1687 Brown Ale and Wadsworth IPA remain year-round flagship offerings.

Inside the spacious brewhouse, an enormous beige-walled brewing area includes a few small round tables for patrons playing indoor frisbee while the much smaller gray-walled main barroom presents a ten-seat cement-topped serving station (with decorative wood kiosk) and metal-wood chaired tables. Picture-framed stencil drawings of animals (and one of Scott) line the front wall.

I enjoyed ten rounded beers on my March ’23 Friday evening journey.

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Lemony mandarin orange spritz and dry grassy herbage picked up sparkling champagne surge for Easy Riding Kolsch, a Hallertau-hopped moderation.

Toasted amber graining anchored Pale Mild Amber, gaining slick orange oiling and dry lemon spicing.

Brown-leafed hop astringency contrasted light caramelized fruiting and pine nut buttering of Steam Lager, a hybridized California Common lager.

Dried orange, tangerine and clementine gained dewy moss for Wadsworth IPA, a West Coast-styled medium body with crisp tobacco and mild wood tones.

Zestful orange-peeled grapefruit and pineapple tanginess spruced up Juice God NEIPA, dropping moderate piney bittering and grassy herbage above buttery oated wheat malts.

Salty cherry tartness and lightly acidic lime-soured grape tannins sported Gose – Tart Cherry, an acidulated malt-backed sour ale.

Dry cellared fungi and apprehensive fruiting connected for Saaz/Hallertau-hopped Biere De Garde.

Nutty chocolate-spiced maple molasses seeped thru 1687 Brown Ale, leaving pecan, almond and chestnut upon its lightly pined Cascade-Centennial-Columbus hop earthiness.

Dry bourbon and oaken vanilla tannins prodded Bourbon Barrel Aged Brown Ale, relegating burgundy-port wining and sugared nuttiness. 

Rummy molasses-sweetened cocoa engaged Midnight Rider Porter, a creamily mocha-bound barley-roasted full body.


2 Derby favorites join forces as Roseland's pizza coming to Bad Sons brewery


Residing at an old red brick warehouse in the Lower Naugatuck River Valley, BAD SONS BEER CO. opened in the summer of ’17. Taking its independent spirited ‘true grit’ motto as its commanding slogan, Bad Sons specializes in varied India Pale Ales but aren’t afraid to dabble in lagers, porters, etcetera.

A green-framed wood door with yellow greened hop design welcomes visitors to the raw, pipe exposed, high ceilinged industrial pub. The red brick-walled floor-to-ceiling windows and die-cast iron wheel ornament contribute to Bad Sons’ archaic rusticity.

A dozen cool ghoulish hop-handled draught taps, sidled TV’s and brewery stickers crowd the 30-seat bar. Wood-metal chaired tables fill out the cement-floored front end while brew tanks are staged in the rear where a black and white Bad Sons insignia lines a side wall . A small kitchen serves fine pizza. A green aluminum-sided picnic area with blue-chaired firepit and benches offers further seating.

At noon in early March ’23, I grabbed a seat at the wraparound wood top bar with decorative bolted Edison light panels to down a few suds.

Taproom - BADSONS Beer Co. - Brewery in Derby, CT

A lemony Chardonnay effervescence gave Light Rider Lager its spritzy phenolic entry as Noble-hopped herbage, pale malt pasting and delicate spiciness emerged.

Dry pinkish amber blueberry gose, Violet’s Demise, caressed its candied blueberry tartness with salty lemon-soured pomegranate bittering. 

Lemony passionfruit, pineapple and guava tartness and mild blood orange tanginess imbued Spring Trainer Fruited IPA, a mild springtime potion.

“Crushable” East Coast-styled Roller Coaster IPA let crayon-waxed lemony orange peel zesting pick up moderated floral herbage and slim pine tones in a grassy Comet-Galaxy hop whirlpool.    

Sticky cannabis resin snuck into the perfumed pineapple, orange and grapefruit tang of Hypnotic Dank IPA, retaining a mild dry hop bittering.

Intensely Citra/Mosaic hop-forward NEIPA, Doobious, stayed juicy as lemon zesting perked up pineapple, orange, tangerine, clementine and cherry fruitiness over dry pale malts.

English dark malts and earthen hops frontloaded Bad Billy Brown Ale, scurrying nut-roasted burnt caramel treacle.

Mild coffee-roasted dark chocolate consumed Storm Born Baltic Porter, leaving molasses and toffee sweetness to defend the astringent hop phenols grazing its ice cold lagering.


Reverie Brewing Company


Inside a blue brick warehouse behind a storage center in Newtown, Connecticut, REVERIE BREWING COMPANY came into existence March 25, 2019. Ably crafting several beers on the stylistic outskirts and others well within range, the expanding neo-mod pub recently put in a new event area, Coopers Hall, for its fourth anniversary.

Several stooled wood benches and five stooled tables get served by the pristine wood lacquered serving station. An orange crossbar above the right side brew tanks includes a black lettered Reverie signpost and exposed pipes line the black ceiling. The parking lot’s filled with benches and stringed Edison lights. Hard ciders are also available.

I settled in on a Friday afternoon in March ’23 to try four rangy suds going from carrot-infused sour ale to soured saison to New England IPA to nutty brown ale. In the Beer Index, there are several Reverie’s I bought for the road reviewed.

What's Happening – Reverie Brewing Company

Murkily yellow-hazed Garrett Carrot, plied sour lemon acidity to carrot-juiced cara cara orange tang and light ginger, fennel and cinnamon daubs for a novel root vegetable-backed eccentricity.

Spritzy lemon-limed grapefruit, mango and pineapple juicing picked up dank pining for Waterfall IPA, leaving mild guava, peach and tangerine tanginess in the lightly creamed oated wheat distance.

Sour yellow fruiting embossed Futz Saison, contrasting its musty fungi herbage and barnyard acridity with laidback honeyed red fruit spicing.

Chalky chocolate and oily coffee guarded the charred nuttiness of Chock Full O Nut’in, a dewier brown ale.