Tag Archives: BRANFORD CT


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In a gray industrial mall just north of New Haven in the coastal town of Branford, DU VIG BREWING COMPANY opened for business during 2014. As the story goes, homebrewing neighborhood buddies Kim and Dan Vigliotti decided to hook up with Scott and Darcy Dugas to create a friendly local microbrewery featuring approachable fare that “remain true to style.”

Working with a small 6-barrel system with a hanging TV separating the rear brewing area from the cozy tap room, Du Vig’s sessionable suds reinforce the front-walled motto, Deconstructing Beer.

During my quick October ’16 stopover on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I pick up a few growlers and sample five lively offerings.

Pleasantly off-dry Cream Ale brought sugar-spiced pilsner malting and lemon-limed grassy hops to light earthen graining.

Lactic lemon-seeded sourness gains a bitterly salted coriander edge above its wispy white wheat bed for the soft-tongued Berliner Wiesse.

Stylishly heady Leetes Island Amber Ale balanced citric Cascade-Centennial-Chinook hop pining with peaty mineral grains and toasted caramel malts.

Barley-roasted nuttiness inundated chocolate-malted English Brown Ale, a fine moderation with ample peanut-shelled walnut illusions picking up gentle lemon-soured green raisin, apple and plum notions.

Best bet: illuminating American Pale Ale maintained a crisply clean carbolic mouthfeel as its sunny yellow grapefruit tang and brisk orange rind bittering spread across the oats-dried wheat husk and bark-like wood astringency.





In the rustic shoreline village of Branford just down the road from the Long Island Sound, BALLOU’S RESTAURANT & WINE BAR opened May ’12. Set inside a tan colonial edifice with white trim, white columns and roomy front deck, this homey establishment is owned by married couple, Steve Kaye and Debbie Ballou, whose humble beginnings include being a busboy and waitress at IHOP. Across the street from boutique-styled Indian Neck Liquor Store, Ballou’s Branford location competes favorably with their initial award-winning Guilford establishment.

Upon entering, the cozy two-room brown-walled space features a 10-seat bar (with 16 tap handles and small TV), 15-table dining room, pristine walnut furnishings and several wine racks. Though specializing in desserts, coffee, cheeses, fondues, panninis and flatbread pizza, its assorted comfort foods go well with the fine hand-picked wine selection that serve as Ballou’s calling card.

Nevertheless, seasoned beer geeks will find ‘beer guy’ Jeremy Antunes’ craft draft offerings extremely appealing as well.

Visited January ’14 just hours after a heavy blizzard, Antunes tends bar and chats up a storm this snowy afternoon while introducing two new brews. The first, Thimble Island India Pale Ale, crafted a few streets away from this humble pub, brought lively stone-fruited spicing to sharp grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and finished with a juniper-hopped wood parch.

Another local offering from southbound Stratford, Two Roads Route Of All Evil Black Ale allowed wood-smoked chocolate seeding and charcoal-burnt hop bittering to anchor plastique apple-skinned grapefruit-mango-papaya tropicalia. (Full reviews in Beer Index)

Happily, the food was just as worthy as the beer and wine choices. Creamy lobster bisque, chipotle chicken pannini and Turkish goat-cheesed flatbread pizza (with dried fig, prosciutto and field greens) were wholly enjoyed.

Anyone with champagne taste on a beer budget or large expense account will appreciate Ballou’s spirited menu and close attention to detail.



3 Must Visit Spots On The Shoreline | Connecticut Food & Wine
Just off Route 95 on North Main Street in Branford at a newish shopping mall lies COASTAL WINE & SPIRITS. This warehouse-sized liquor store offers the greatest selection of craft beers in the state of Connecticut as of October 2012. While perusing Coastal’s varied selection, salesman Jeff Corcoran provided help finding previously untried brews from Boss, Clown Shoes, Emelisse, Evil Twin, Moa, Omnipollo, Porterhouse and Stillwater. Prices were reasonable and the knowledgeable staff treat customers with ultimate respect.