The Best Breweries, Brewpubs & Taprooms in Connecticut
Over 100+ coastal, urban, and rural breweries in Hartford, Bloomfield, Stratford, Middletown, and the Knowledge Corridor's Powder Hollow Brewery.
Written by CraftJack | Updated | 4 min read
Get on the beer trail toward Stonington's Beer'd. Or, check out Milldale's Kinsmen Brewing Company. Or or, throw a dart at your CT brewery map and hope it hits New Haven, Oxford, Salem, South Windsor, or Stamford.
It's hard to believe that Connecticut has about as many breweries and craft beer taprooms as Maine. Good for them, as the Constitution State has enough high ABV beers to test your own constitution in 2021.
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Lotta money in the Gold Coast. The Fairfield region is more than just the coast though, it runs all the way up the Western CT and New York border to Danbury and Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield. Even with all of that cash, the Fairfield region is nowhere near the brewing capital of CT.
Sidenote, can't wait for Greenwich's TB12 Brewing Company in 2022. With beers like Seven Rings, Touchdown, Moss! and The G.O.A.T., it's sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Hartford might be the Insurance Capital of the World, but it's not the beer capital of CT, that belongs to New Haven. The Hartford region, which is mostly just CT's portion of the Knowledge Corridor, follows the CT river, running from the Mass border, through towns like East Windsor, and then on to the eponymous city. Unlike the coastal regions with their maritime money, and the rural regions growing their cash crops, money to drink craft beer in the Hartford region comes from insurance, financial services, and manufacturing.
- Hanging Hills Brewing Company (Hartford)
- Powder Hollow Brewery (Enfield)
- Thomas Hooker Brewery (Bloomfield)
Located just 5 minutes from Lego headquarters is Enfield's Powder Hollow Brewery. Because nothing says, "I've had a tough day at the office and need a drink" like playing with Legos all day.
The Litchfield region of CT is not exactly the brewing capital of the world, you hear? The Northwest Hills possess a lot of open road between each of its three small, local breweries. Along with the Lower Berkshires in bordering Massachusetts, the Upper Naugatuck Valley is timeless and (mostly) forgotten by all except those who live here, and those who visit the breweries below and travelers on the CT Wine Trail.
- Brewery Legitimus (New Hartford)
- Great Falls Brewing Company (Canaan)
- Kent Falls Brewing Company (Kent)
Middlesex, or, what's West of the Connecticut river. The Middlesex region of CT includes globally famous towns like Cromwell, Higganum, and Moodus, all of which could double as professors at Hogwarts. Aerospace and financial services mean there is some capital flying around to spend on fancy craft beers.
For a tasty Middlesex pint, try these local CT brewers:
- 30 Mile Brewing Company (Old Saybrook)
- Little House Brewing Company (Chester)
- Steady Habit Brewing Company (Higganum)
College, meet beer. Beer, meet college. It's an introduction as old as Yale University itself. Contained within downtown New Haven are not only countless watering holes and dive bars, but the CT Brewers Guild itself. Speaking of the CT Brewers Guild, their logo is fantastic.
- Counter Weight Brewing Company (Hamden)
- Front Porch Brewing (Wallingford)
- Stony Creek Brewery (Branford)
The New Haven region is more than just colleges and universities. Once you move beyond the Elm City, there are miles of farmland, coast, and state parks. Take a boat tour to the Thimble Islands. Catch a live band at Toad's Place. Or, check out the Shoreline Trolley Museum and take a ride on the oldest continuously operating suburban trolley line in the United States.
Fun brewery fact: the oldest brewery in the United States is D.G. Yuengling & Son.
Then again, that all sounds like effort. Go grab an IPA and a table by the water at the Stony Creek Brewery instead. We too enjoy being aggressively laid back, especially with a Big Cranky in hand.
Ahhh, Connecticut's Southeastern Shoreline. As if seafaring folk need another excuse to drink, over a dozen microbreweries and taprooms adorn the coast of CT's New London region. The region itself is home to seaside villages, maritime manufacturing, college and universities, and a bustling arts community.
And casinos. Let's not forget them. Especially since Branford's Stony Creek runs a satellite taproom at Foxwoods, offering limited releases, live music, food truck eats, and, wait for it, ping pong.
Northern Connecticut. Rich in charm. Rich in land. Rich in I-84 on it's way to Hartford from Sturbridge, MA.
The biggest economic driver of Northern CT is flagship state school UConn. Which, simultaenously, is also probably the state's biggest driver of beer consumption. Go figure.
The Stafford Springs Motor Speedway, which no one in 10 minutes down the road Massachusetts knows exists, hosts thousands of folks every summer for their races. Gotta believe there is a some beer drinkin' going on in that parking lot. If we were Ellington's Cold Creek Brewery, we'd try and get a pop-up beer tent at the Speedway.
Nicknamed, "The Quiet Corner", the Northeastern part of CT is made up of farmland, rural towns, and a surprising amount of corporate business. Given its proximity to the Mass Pike, some of those rural towns are even commutable to Worcester and Boston.
The Quiet Corner is armed with a bevy of hiking trails, state parks, B&Bs, locally produced goods, like maple syrup and cheese, and of course, craft beer. That same craft beer answers the question, where are all of the aerospace, manufacturing, and naval defense talent going to drink after work, an Applebees?
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