Not necessarily a brewpub, though there’s always a few taps running in the reception area, NEW ENGLAND BREWERY has grown into one of the East Coast’s best microbrewers since its humble 1989 inception. On top of that, their increasingly diversified libations are canned for mass distribution. At the forefront of modern beer and ale canning, they became the first East Coast microbrew to deviate away from bottling (second in America after Colorado’s Oskar Blues).

Situated in a red brick building on a back road industrial center behind a mall five miles south of New Haven, I visited this excellent small brewery, May 2010. A nice beer can-bottle collection lines the walls around the reception and garage area and a statue of Elvis Presley oversees the aluminum brew tanks in the rear. Brewer Rob Leonard bought and relocated the Norwalk-based brewery to Woodbridge in 2001. New England Brewery’s most impressive brews have become specialty strong ales such as New England Wet Willy Scotch Ale and New England Ghandi-Bot Double IPA, plus limited bottled selection includes superfine Imperial Stout Trooper (all reviewed in Beer Index).

BEST CONNECTICUT MICROBREW STORE-  One of the best places to find a great selection of microbrewed craft beers is at Gordon’s Yellow Front Wine, just off Route 95 in New London. Featuring many of the finest national and international beers and all the finest local product by New England Brewing, Olde Burnside, Thomas Hooker, City Steam, and Cottrell’s, Gordon’s serves Connecticut’s beer elite better than any other state store I’ve come across since ’97.