Though northerly neighbors Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire boast richer craft beer heritages, Connecticut doesn’t lag far behind, despite several unnamed brewpubs falling by the wayside during the formative ‘90s. SOUTHPORT BREWING COMPANY (with locations in Southport, Branford, Hamden, and Milford) still thrives. SBC Downtown in Stamford, with its blue-suited gorilla mascot, brick oven pizza, and American cuisine, featured a decent array of compatible brews, September ‘04.

The intriguingly deviant Palace Pilsener, flaunting unusual beechwood-smoked Band-Aid frontage juxtaposing soured citrus finish, as well as the dry cherry coughdrop-induced mocha-licked Stam Porter, were most adventurous.

Wheat-husked green-hopped citron-like Big Head Blonde, buttery grass-dried lemon-soured Rippowam Lager, red-fruited dry-spiced Stamford Red, mild-grained tea-like Big Head Brewnette Brown Ale, nectar-bruised pumpkin-induced seasonal Southoberfest, and sedate dry malted Bull’s Head English Pale Ale provided adequate backup.

Finally revisited downtown Stamford bedrock, January ’13, on a brutally blustery winter’s night at supper time. My wife and I reinvestigated two upgraded SBC staples plus four previously untrie libations over Cobb Salad and hummus.
Sitting by one of the side-windowed booths at the green-walled 12-stooled right side bar (with 5 TV’s), we opened the evening with the sessionable standard fare. Big Head Blonde gathered grassy-hopped lemon peel tartness, bark-dried hard wood astringency and wheat biscuit sweetness for a light-bodied trinket suitable for pilsner fans. Big Head Brewnette, an amber-marooned English Brown Ale, garnered fig-spiced dried fruiting, distant dark nuttiness and perfumed hops.
Heartier thirsts will appreciate mild-mannered Porter, with its stove-burnt coffee roast and oats-charred black chocolate bittering picking up washed-out walnut and Brazil nut nuances. Clay-like Helpline English Pale Ale allowed peat-grained minerality to influence yellow-fruited honeyed malts.   
Better still: Big Chill Winter Warmer brought sugar-spiced dried fruiting to honey-glazed caramel malts, placing bruised banana sweetness ahead of candied fig, sugarplum and dark cherry notions.
For dessert, Mambo Bock proved truly essential with its sugared fig, sweet banana and bruised cherry conflux creating a sensational digestif on par with the best bottom-fermented strong lagers.

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