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.
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.