Becoming the Constitution State’s biggest brewery at birth, TWO ROADS BREWING COMPANY occupies a mammoth red brick warehouse previously housing metal factory, US Baird. Just off Route 95 between New Haven and Bridgeport, Two Road’s impressive 100-barrel system bottles, cans and kegs four original staples and a host of seasonals, specialties and one-offs also served at the spacious 3,000 square foot oval-shaped bar up the stairs from the rustic brown-wooded right side entrance.
Headed by renowned Southampton brewer (and former New England Brewing associate) Phil Markowski, and helped along by local assistant brewer, John Rehm, the master craftsmen have created some well-balanced recipes that push the limits without losing focus. Four banners hanging over the centralized two-storey brew tanks sport the names of each signature beer conveniently available on tap for all to sample alongside light snacks. By 2015, two food trucks, a picnic area, growler station, hop yard shed and beer-accessory shop had been added to the expansive property.
A month after celebrating their long-awaited December 18th soft opening, I sojourned to this renovated landmark on a wintry January ’13 afternoon. Sitting next to the keg handles under long pendulum lights, I dig into the fine samples (fully reviewed at Beer Index) while classic rock echoes thru the crowded draught room.
My session begins with perfectly pungent Ol’ Factory Pils, a musky German-styled pilsner with lemon-candied tartness draping resinous grain-husked earthiness, dry-hopped bitterness and toasted rye malting.
Moving forward to a slightly more complex offering, Belgian candi-sugared Workers Comp Saison gained a tangy tropical fruiting above flaked rye, dried oats and straw wheat. White-peppered pineapple, banana, mango, peach and passion fruit illusions increase intensity.
Then, two contrasting India Pale Ales take center stage. For lighter thirsts, Honeyspot Road White IPA brings lemon zest, lemon curry and marmalade tones to white-peppered floral spicing. Seasoned hopheads will prefer briskly assertive Road 2 Ruin Double IPA, a ‘hop-centric’ full body layering ample yellow grapefruit rind bittering above woody Cascade hop acridity. Ancillary apricot, pineapple, mango and tangerine fruiting deepens the attack.
On tap during the holiday season, a limited edition Biere De Garde simply named Holiday Ale, maintained an easygoing soothe (but drifted a tad from its traditional French farmhouse styling). Crystal-malted cinnamon toast, spiced tea, ginger and vanilla illusions battled for ground against a backend alcohol burn.
An instant success thanks in part to its highly accessible location, Two Roads’ lofty 100,000 square foot brewery has quickly expanded Connecticut’s beer-friendly landscape.