Tag Archives: NEW BRITAIN CT


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On the second floor of a cavernous wood furnished red brick-walled setting, downtown New Britain’s FIVE CHURCHES BREWING occupies a former clothing factory. Taking its ‘we have faith in our beer’ slogan to the max, the spacious pizzeria-brewpub even dabbles successfully with their soda-fruited gluten-free Weerder alternatives.

While the impressive stainless steel silver brew tanks behind the twelve draught-handled bar serve pristinely crafted liquid fare, the right side wood-fired pizza oven provides terrific variety. Sterling wood-lacquered furnishings adorn the expose-piped open space and several Edison bulbs light the fourteen-stooled bar (with three TV’s) – retaining the original Industrial brick, flooring and windows.

A backspace banquet area and an outside left deck (with five tables under blue umbrellas) offer further seating.

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Head brewer Austin Japs crafts a vast array of one-off ales, but the one constant flagship is sharply orange-spiced, caramel-toasted amber ale,  Amburlance, a brisk moderate-medium body with sweetly dewed autumnal foliage.

Mild wheat ale, #Zessed, brought tingly orange-candied lemondrop tartness to mineral-grained crisping.

Sweet-tart hazy NEIPA, Pew Pew, let Citra-Simcoe hop tropicalia rule the roost as orange-dried grapefruit juicing saddled dainty wood tones.

Another dry-bodied IPA, The Machinist, brought sunshiny grapefruit tang and crystal malt sugaring to lemony orange rind bittering, leaving sticky pine lacquer upon its latent juniper piquancy.

Briskly winter-spiced porter, Once And For Fall, let minty fern caress its caramelized chocolate sweetness and mild nutmeg-cumin-chicory seasoning.

Delightful Out Of Porter, an Imperial Porter, swished milk chocolate syrup around cocoa, toffee and caramel sugaring.

Knocking off a New Zealand-styled Imperial IPA, Street People relies on limey melon, gooseberry, passionfruit and grapefruit desiccation to perk up its pale malt spine.


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Yet another worthy Connecticut-based warehouse brewery, New Britain’s ALVARIUM BEER COMPANY opened June ’17. Creating the “ultra communal taproom,” Hardware City’s first microbrew is head brewer Chris De Gasero’s creation. His wide spectrum of semi-permanent and one-off beer recipes brings lots of locals to the pristine pub.

Inside its echoey chamber, Alvarium’s serving station features reclaimed red oak for its bar, 12 stainless steel draught taps and a chalk-boarded beer menu. Antique chop-blocked community tables, living room furnishings (off to the side) and several brewtank-sidled stools fill out the bustling room. Solid steel I-beams hang from the pipe-exposed aluminum ceiling.

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On our one-hour stopover on the way to Boston Common’s annual Freedom Fest, my wife and I stop by to try all ten available brews, September ’18.

Dry corn-flaked Cremo Traditional Ale, Alvarium’s original flagship, let caramelized pale malts slip past its grassy hop stead for an ultra-clean opener. 

A mild lemon spritz usurped equally moderate Kraftwerk  Hefeweizen, upending its stylish banana-clove-bubblegum sweetness, raw-honeyed wheat malting and light vanilla snips.

Sharp IPA-like fruiting welcomed hybridized Werkshop: Amarillo/Bravo-hopped Hefeweizen, where lemony orange-peeled grapefruit bitterness and musky herbal hops overrode any banana-clove semblance.

Understated White Denim Witbier let its sweet orange-peeled coriander spicing endure alongside honeyed chamomile herbage to its baked-breaded white wheat spine, picking up a soapy carbolic frisk at the timid finish.

Thickly hazed chartreuse turbidity clouded two fine India Pale Ales. Peach-pureed Craft Sorceress Session IPA gained lemon-seeded souring above grassy-hopped herbage and groaty wet graining. Meanwhile, dry Mosaic-Citra-hopped Phresh Northeast IPA provided sour lemon liming for ruby red grapefruit tanginess, mango sweetness and orange juiciness above groaty malts, becoming a colorful “rainbow sherbet experience.”

Another East Coast IPA, Treewalker, brought mossy caramelized rye malting to piney citrus-candied luster. Yet another, opaque orange-mango-hued Light Me Up IPA benefited from subtle pineapple-pureed passionfruit tartness and flaked wheat malting, gaining a briskly clean yellow grapefruit bittering at the midst. 

A bitter grapefruit bite imbibed Starman Imperial IPA, a Galaxy-Citra-hopped medium body with spritzy lemondrop tartness guarding passionfruit, guava and mango tropicalia.

Light salinity prickled oyster-shelled Shuck Nitro Stout, leaving bitter walnut-shelled black chocolate chalkiness upon charred hops.