Urban Lodge Brewing Co. – Brewing Persuasions  Urban Lodge Brewing (Connecticut) - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go  (with Photos) - Tripadvisor


In the heart of Manchester, coolly rustic neighborhood pub, URBAN LODGE BREWING COMPANY, opened its doors August, 2019 and quickly helped revitalize this former silk haven. Reworking a dilapidated building, head brewing co-owner Ryan Fagan enjoys crafting “crushable” beers easy to consume in the totally relaxing ‘lodge’ atmosphere.

Metal furnishings line the linoleum floor leading back to its earthen flat-bricked wood-topped serving station with eighteen draught handles and scenic Hartford landscape canvas at the rear.

There are three individual turf-grounded sofa lounge sections amongst the family-friendly interior and a large black metal-gated backyard deck with marbled pavers, a central fire pit and ample plant life recalls an English garden. Brewtanks are stationed in the wood-shingled kiosk.

The beautiful graffiti-styled mountain-ranged cityscape painting sprawled across the deck serves as a breathtaking landmark.

My wife and I downed five of the thirteen available brews on our pre-dinner August ’21 Sunday afternoon trip.

“Gateway” lawnmower fodder, light-bodied golden ale, Morning Mist, provided lemony orange-grapefruit sunshine to honey-spiced pale malting.

Dewy Irish Ale, Emerald Shores, yielded honeyed caraway sweetness, prune-licked dried fruiting and tobacco roast crisping.

Dry floral-spiced tropical fruiting generated vibrant pineapple tartness, orange peel sweetness, yellow grapefruit bittering, lemon zesting and peach candying for bark-like resinous pining of Maui, a juicily rewarding NEIPA with starchy amber grained base.

Sweet anise-dipped vanilla stickiness doused the smoked wood bittering of Fireside, a heavy vanilla porter with sugared coffee, milk chocolate, hazelnut cake and spiced toffee undertones.

Dry coffee-stained dark chocolate bittering consumed Pop’s Milk Stout, leaving hazelnut-glazed sweetness upon its cola nutty backend.


Image result for elicit breweing


“Restaurateurs at heart and beer drinkers by liver,” ELICIT BREWING COMPANY began proving that motto November 2019. Inside a spacious red brick warehouse right along the Adams Mill Trail in Manchester, Connecticut’s rural wooded area just outside its small urban center, Elicit pairs brewer Brian Ayers’ wonderful rotating liquid fare and fab one-off concoctions with respectable pub food.

A large front deck and even roomier rear Beergarden (with spiffy Marilyn Monore wall painting, two firepits, patio furnishings and stringed Edison lights) surround the epoxy-floored, high ceilinged millhouse. Combining a beer hall, cocktail bar, lounge and arcade, Elicit offers fifty draught lines (with a bakers dozen home brews plus several local elixirs) at its white marble-topped bar.

A comfy foyer welcomes patrons to the sportsbar-like brew house. Right side community tables and high-back seating are available and to the left are windowed brew tanks and a separate kitchen. The brick walls are decorated by dramatic curved PVC beams. Several games sidle the main space.

My wife and I grab pizza and tacos for dinner while consuming thirteen rangy suds at the Beergarden September ’20. The following day, we took the dog for a walk along the river-bound Adams Mill Trail.

Elicit Brewing in Manchester opens with food, cocktails, karaoke and arcade  games - Hartford Courant

Corn-sugared lemon snips and floral perfumed spicing seeped into musky wet grains and herbal Tettnanger hops for German-styled Das Crisp Boi, a fine pilsner-Vienna malted pale lager.

Lemon-spiced crystal malt sweetness and grassy hop astringency plied Resilience Pale Ale, leaving a trail of guava, gooseberry and green grape tartness.

Spiced red-orange fruiting gained toasted caramel sweetness and a nutty remnant for Speling Bee Champion, a durable misspelled red ale with pithy lemon and tangerine peel illusions.

Stylishly dryer due to Hallertau Blanc-hopped green grape esters, Hefe Lifting brought mild white-peppered herbage to standard hefeweizen banana-clove spicing.

Juicy pineapple puree tartness embittered the lemony banana-clove expectancy of Yodeling Cherubs Pineapple Hefeweizen, a sharply tropical fruited offshoot of Hefe Lifting.

Lemony grapefruit zest brightened its bittersweet peach adjunct for crisply clean Doin’ Just Peachy, a spritzy fruited wheat ale with mild wood lacquering seeping into the honeyed wheat spine.

Lemon-soured green grape esters fronted Little Bo Blanc, an herbal Hallertau Blanc-hopped saison with leathery barnyard acridity countering the sweet wheat base.

Pink Himalayan sea-salted  gose, Dueling Libations Margarita, sprayed freshly-squeezed blood orange-pureed key lime tartness atop Tequila-twisted agave for a perfect cocktail re-creation.

Lactic Dueling Libations Pina Colada unleashed creamy vanilla sweetness upon lemony orange zest, pineapple puree and coconut rum nearly as convincingly as its Margarita competition.

Sunny tropical fruiting gained honey-spiced pale malting for Drink This Outdoors, a sessionable IPA with yellow grapefruit, orange, pineapple and peach luster.

Extraordinary Marriage Counseling Double IPA stayed briskly clean as rummy pineapple-coconut tropicalia sweetened its lemony orange zesting and tangy peach reminder above sugary pale malts.

Black-malted dark chocolate dryness embellished Eligible Bachelor, a mildly nutty brown ale with light coffee roast.

Freeze-dried coffee tones led Nostrovia!, a slightly bitterer Imperial Stout with ashen walnut contrasting glazed hazelnut sugaring beneath the java surface.


Labyrinth Brewing Company


Three ‘beer wizards’ control the tanks at Manchester, Connecticut’s LABYRINTH BREWING COMPANY, a rustically retro warehoused brewpub opened autumn 2018.

The natural elegance of the hard wood floor, the antique charm of the exposed brick walls and the post-Colonial design of the factory-like wood ceiling (with exposed pipes) provide a casual warmth deepened by the lounge-y back cornered gas fireplace section.

A large wood slab-lacquered L-shaped bar spreads across the entranceway seating and the main space – where bottled Edison bulbs wind around a wagon wheeled overhead panel in glorious olden pub fashion.

I conversed with Adam De Laura, one of the entrepreneurial brewers at Labyrinth, mid-September ’20, while Steely Dan played in the background, quaffing nearly all the available brews.

LABYRINTH BREWING COMPANY Trademark of Labyrinth Brewing Company. Serial  Number: 88339399 :: Trademark Elite Trademarks

Easygoing lemony orange-spiced Athena’s Wit allowed delicate floral sweetness to seize upon coriander-spiced chamomile herbage above its white wheat base.

Mellow dried fruited nuttiness anchored Mr. Dunkel, a dewy chocolate-malted Munich-styled dark ale with fading fig-dried pecan finish.

Fulsome Red Ale, Electrum Tears, placated chestnut-shelled pecan tones, tart red-orange fruiting and crisp tobacco roasting with leafy hop foliage.

Piney citric East Coast-styled Pan’s IPA brought floral-perfumed grapefruit, orange and lemon zesting to its moderate wood-lacquered hop bittering.

Flagship New England India Pale Ale, Turbo Love Juice, let lemony pineapple, orange and mango tropicalia inform its spritzy tingle as hop-oiled bittering contrasted crystal malt sugaring.

Silken NEIPA, Hesperia, let its mildly embittered grapefruit peel frontage gain sour lactose milking  and wispy mango snips over acidulated pale malting.

Another NEIPA, hazily yellow-marbled Champion Of The Sun, brightened the tongue with spryly embittered pineapple-juiced grapefruit tanginess and salted mango-guava serenity, gaining yogurt-milked lactic acidity at the lightly spiced tropical fruit finish.

Raspy orange-peeled tangerine tartness consumed Siren’s Song Orange Tangerine, a superb fruited sour ale with lemon-limed salinity atop its delicate white wheat spine - recalling a spritzy Orangina soft drink.




Located at historic Hilliard Mills in the rustic eastern Hartford suburb of Manchester, TOP SHELF BREWING COMPANY opened its doors during August 2013 – right in the midst of Connecticut’s booming microbrew renaissance. Distributing product all over the state from a 2,000 square foot warehouse, the three-barrel nanaobrewery has room for expansion.

Taking up the space Onyx moonshine distillery once occupied (and picking up the slack left by the closing of Tullycross Brewery), Top Shelf came into existence when three nearby UConn alumni (home brewer Mike Boney and fellow co-owners TJ Lavery and Joe Frost) gained inspiration from local New England and Back East breweries and decided “it was time to get involved” with brewing on a professional scale.

On my initial one-hour February ’14 Saturday afternoon exploit, the inconspicuous cement-floored tasting room featured samples of various limited edition ales and one winter seasonal as well as three flagship beers (bought for home consumption). Behind the tap room in a seperate space, the immaculate brewhouse puts out the well-rounded selection of generically-named American, Belgian and Irish styled ales.

I reach for Smoked Belgian Ale , an alternate to the regular Belgian, upon entering. Its lightly smoked peat malting, toasted caramel spicing and earthen musk pick up meager orange fruiting. But a lack of true Belgian yeast character hurts.

Three more limited edition brews hit my lips thereafter. Snowed In Imperial Stout brought chocolate-chipped molasses malting to caramel-burnt toffee-cocoa-coconut restraint, creme brulee sweetness and compost-wafted winter spicing.

Village Charm IPA gained floral-perfumed citric hop prominence as lemony grapefruit rind and Chinook-hopped resin subtly embittered creamy crystal malts.

Interestingly experimental hybrid, You Be The Judge, an unclassified one-off (?) offered raw-honeyed cider souring to saison-like lemony orange tartness, vinous green grape esters, kiwi-mango-guava tropicalia, fig-dried acridity and sourdough wheat (retaining a crisp watered freshness).

My only problem was that Top Shelf’s Belgian- Style Ale surprisingly had a similar pungent yeast profile as their Irish Style Ale.

For the former, an astringent cider solvency seems to outdo the apple-soured green grape tartness and herbal-peppered guava-kiwi-pitaya tropicalia. As for the latter, a blatantly acrid cider souring overruns the peated molasses malting.    

Bottled versions are listed in Beer Index.







Located inside a tan barn stable with green and brown trim in a freestanding mall-bound building, Manchester’s TULLYCROSS TAVERN took over the space previously occupied by John Harvard Brewpub and had its grand opening October 1st, 2011 (but closed down November ’13).

A hybrid sportsbar, mahogany furnishings bedecked the hunter green walled interior and a rectangular oak bar served the main area and outer perimeter dining space. A new patio to be constructed in spring would’ve provided outdoor dining. Plus, a newly designed menu featuring upscale pub fare with an Irish flare was just introduced.

Like Willimantic’s Wollner, Tullycross brewer Brian Flach grew up on Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Sam Adams Boston Lager, thereupon becoming a Dogfish ‘Head.’ After home brewing several IPA’s, an 18-month New England Brewing internship afforded the Worcester resident the chance to come aboard for Tullycross’ July ’11 soft opening. A 22-ounce ceramic mug club offered discounts and special happy hour pricing on Flach’s solid offerings crafted at the front side brew tanks.

On my January 2012 visit, it’s Tuesday Night Trivia, and following some chicken wings and quesadillas, a large crowd gathered for tonight’s 9 PM contest. While digging the scene, I tried four year-round libations, a nifty winter stout and a Belgian IPA.

Eric Burdon & War’s cryptic “Spill The Wine” played as I revisited Tullycross the following day to meet with Flach, who promised a cream ale, German altbier and sundry IPA’s in the near future.

As for today’s beers, I started off with Tavern Light, a Kolsch-styled sourdough softie with citric esters, rice niceties and popcorn buttering that’s just right for indiscriminate pilsner fans as well as bolder folk better suited for the next three ales.

Best selling Tully’s Irish Red retained a bigger body than most stylistic competitors, bringing amiable red-fruited spicing and caramelized wheat-honeyed cereal grains to a stable earthen bottom. Better yet, TCT Pale Ale had a heady IPA-like wood-toned grapefruit rind bittering and tangy peach-tangerine spicing.

“If you’re gonna drink a pale ale, why not go to an IPA,” Flach said. “It’s made hoppier for our customer base. But there’s not a lot of alcohol.”

Next up, Flux IPA #8 saddled subtle yellow fruiting with spiced hop bittering.

Flach contends, “All Fluxes have different hop profiles but the grain bill generally remains intact.”

Another Tullycross standard, Silk City Stout, maintained a soft cask-like chocolate creaminess, malt-smoked hop char, vanilla sweetness, dewy peat resonance and peanut-shelled cola-walnut conflux. Likeminded Siberian Winter Imperial Stout doused Christmastime cinnamon-toasted gingerbread spicing atop oats-toasted dark chocolate, nutty coffee, black cherry and raisin notes.

Though not in regular rotation, mild Scottish 80 Shilling plied toasted cereal grains to peat-y earthiness in an approachable manner.

But the best bet may be Convergence Belgian IPA, where white-peppered basil, thyme and peppercorn regale lemon-dried orange rind bittering, snippy juniper piquancy, tangy peach-pineapple sweetness and buttery crystal malting.

“Convergence was a collaboration with New England Brewing, whom I’m still good friends with,” Flach affirms. “They were happy to oblige. They make 668 Neighbor Of The Beast. We borrowed their yeast strain and hopped it up.”







Opened 1997, Manchester’s JOHN HARVARD’S BREWHOUSE may’ve been the best franchise brewpub in the Northeast chain. But it closed in the summer of 2011 and was replaced by Tullycross Tavern & Microbrewery in November. 

Visited May ’10, this freestanding mustard-hued maroon-trimmed pub was located across Manchester’s Plaza at Buckland Hills. Typical pub fare such as appetizers-pizza-burgers and expanded Americana dinner menu went fine with brewer Frank Fermino’s well-crafted stylistic libations emanating from rear glass-encased brew tanks. Rectangular center bar with opposing TV’s served wood-furnished side dining booths, pews, and roundtables.

I enjoyed ‘Pick-A-Pair’ clam chowder and Cuban half sandwich with lighter fare such as snappy Saaz-hopped corn-dried vegetal-soured Harvard Light, funky earthen-grained grape-soured bourbon-burgundy-whirred Black Lager, and pallid spice-hopped red-fruited tea-like John Harvard Pale Ale.

Better were hand-pumped cask-conditioned water-softened fungi-wafted coffee-creamed butter-nutty English Brown Ale, resinous bark-dried pine-needled lemon-seeded peach-toned pekoe tea-like C n C IPA, and chocolate-soured walnut-charred ESB.

Creamy cascade-headed caramel-malted yellow-fruited green-hopped English Pub Ale stayed milder than ESB. Dark ale fans will enjoy hop-charred grain-roasted peat-malted Shovel-Head Porter, with its cedar-burnt hazelnut, walnut, and Baker’s chocolate illusions adjoining port-burgundy wining.