The Constitution State
While most of the brewing scene started on the west coast at the time of the gold rush, the East Coast brewing scene started a bit earlier around the 1630s. Beer was mostly brewed in the colonies and towns of Windsor, Saybrook, Hartford, and New Haven. Aside form being a tasty treat, beer was mainly drunk because boiling the water actually made it safer to consume. As time went on there became a choice to either brew their own Connecticut beer, or purchase imported English beers. Home brewing became the popular choice and led to experimental brews making use of the great local ingredients such as exchanging corn and oats for barely, and swapping spruce for hops.
In the 1800s a wave of new German settlers and technological advances helped to accelerate the growth, production, and distribution of Connecticut beers. Sadly, many breweries fell out of business upon the arrival of Prohibition in 1920. By 1950, most American beers were produced by a few big corporations that survived Prohibition. The state was devoid of craft breweries until around the 1990s. The popularity of craft beers led to a resurgence and dozens of small breweries began appearing.
Today, the oldest and debatably the best brewery in Connecticut is the Willimantic Brewing Company. This brewery was started in the city of the same name, Willimantic of course, and was built in an old Post Office in the year 1993. Since then the craft beer scene in Connecticut has been booming! So, you may be wondering, today, how many breweries are there in Connecticut? The answer is as of January 2020 there were more than 110 breweries in operation, with a list of dozens more in planning.
Like all states, Connecticut has its own beer and liquor laws. The Connecticut beer laws state that beer can only be sold from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. For restaurants and bars, all alcohol including beer can be sold from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Recent laws have allowed restaurants and bars to sell sealed containers of beer in the form of growlers for at home consumption, but no individual may be sold over four liters of beer in a single day. One more Connecticut law states that it is illegal to sell alcohol of any kind in the town of Bridgewater, since it is a dry town.
Connecticut is responsible for hosting their very own craft beer festival in Wallingford. This festival started in 2018, making this year the third year it will occur if Covid-19 permits it. Over 60 state breweries come to supply excellent beers for all the beer lovers and enthusiast of Connecticut. On top of the great beer, the festival has food trucks, vendors, and live music. To make things even better, all earnings from the Connecticut craft beer festival go to the Connecticut Brewers Guild to help continue to promote the craft beer movement of Connecticut.
With all of the great craft beer Connecticut has to offer, some of the must try craft breweries in Connecticut are: Cottrell Brewing in Pawtucket, New England Brewing in Woodbridge, Two Roads Brewing in Stratford, and Kent Falls Brewing in Kent, along with of course so many others.
With some of the best craft breweries in Connecticut, we have had the pleasure of featuring beers from: Black Hog Brewing Company, Thomas Hooker Brewery, and Cottrell Brewing Company. We are always looking for new Connecticut beers and breweries to try and feature in our craft beer club shipments. Cheers!
Black Hog Brewing Co.
An award-winning brewery with culinary soul, Black Hog Brewing Company brings together a passion for BBQ and craft beer in the heart of Connecticut.
Founded by Tyler Jones and brothers Tom and Jason Sobocinski, Black Ho ...Read more...
Thomas Hooker Brewery
Hand-crafted Connecticut brews known for their consistency and quality
Proudly named for the founder of Hartford, Connecticut, Thomas Hooker ...Read more...
Cottrell Brewing Company
The oldest continuously brewed beer in Connecticut, Cottrell Brewing Company makes craft beers in a fine New England tradition.
In 1666, an early "Yankee" named Nicholas Cottrell, together with a gr ...Read more...