The Best Breweries, Brewpubs & Taprooms in Hartford
While Hartford is famous for its culture and history, and quite possibly, getting a job in insurance, it also has a full array of microbreweries and taprooms for your sampling.
Written by CraftJack | Updated | 4 min read
Anchoring the lower section New England's Knowledge Corridor is Connecticut's state capital. Hartford isn't known as a major beer city, and that is reflected in only having 5 breweries in total, one of which is lacking a working taproom at the moment. On the flip side, that makes touring Hartford breweries fairly easy.
Connecticut has a fun beer trail to experience, along with a dedicated app that was created by a robust brewers guild. If you check it out, you'll be sure to see that there are many breweries along all roads leading to Hartford. It's actually a good place to throw a, "12 Bars of Christmas" brewery crawl.
Let's check out what the Insurance Capital has to offer, shall we?
942 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103
City Steam Brewery, open since 1997, is many, many things to the Hartford area. It's one part brewery, one part restaurant, one part modern banquet hall, one part music venue, and one part comedy club. Other than Monday and Tuesday when they're closed, you can find patrons celebrating happy hour, playing trivia, belting out karaoke songs, and playing pool, air hockey, and Skee-Ball in the gaming room. The place has it all.
150 Ledyard Street, Hartford, CT 06114
The pandemic did a number on Hanging Hills, forcing it to close down the taproom. Hanging Hills owner, Joe Ploof, asserts that it will return. In the meantime, HH beers are being brewed at East Rock.
We're keeping them on here for two reasons. One is our belief that they will reopen and be better than ever. The second is that you should know about them. They have collaborated with rock bands (The Hold Steady), big brands (REI), they've won awards ... yeah, you should know about them. They're in bars and stores all around the state, so grab a four pack of tallboys when you can to support them.
Here's to Hanging Hills reopening the taproom in '22 (hopefully).
1429 Park Street, Hartford, CT 06106
Hog River brews a Rum Barrel-Aged Belgian Tripel. That interests us very, very much. Trivia Thursdays and Live Music Fridays also interests us very, very much.
Hog River can be found on the Westside of town. It has a dozen or so taps (including a guest tap) that serve craft brews that range from sour to stout. Beyond the Rum Barrel-Aged beers, you should consider the Local 35 IPA, Princess Buttercup Peanut Butter Stout, and the Florida Sunrise Sour. As to the Florida Sunrise Sour, who doesn't want a hit of Grenadine in their pint of beer ...
290 Murphy Road, Hartford, CT 06114
Fun facts about Phantom Brewing Company:
- They make their own cider
- The Dark Cide is a GREAT cider name
- You can find them on tap in and around Wethersfield, Cromwell, Newington, and Gbury.
- Mr. Brownstone
- Phantom Brewing Company also serves as a homebrewing supply shop.
- Both the brewery and the brew shop are open four days per week (Wed-Sun).
140 Huyshope Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106
The Thomas Hooker Brewery at the Colt Armory is a fantastic taproom with an unparalleled view of Connecticut's capital city. The pretzels & beer cheese were tasty and went well with a flight of Hooker beers. We recommend you try the Chocolate Truffle stout, the Hit By Pitch, and the Super Duper Double Citra.
One thing we have to say about Thomas Hooker is that we find their brand hysterical*. Their website, hookerbeer.com, which is funny in its own right, implores you to "search for hookers on tap and on shelves in your local area". Their brewery logo strongly emphasizes one of the three words that make up their name by raising its font size significantly. This makes the t-shirts, teku glasses and other beer swag equally as funny.
* If you find it offensive, we're sorry. Then again, we didn't write it, so take it up with them.
Like all New England cities, the bordering suburbs still have a city look and city feel about them. What's more, the nightlife and entertainment of those suburbs is usually quite near the city limits. So, we often feel compelled to share neighboring breweries when discussing a city like Hartford.
485 New Park Ave, West Hartford, CT 06110
Eight craft beers on tap, a few of which are IPAs. Live music, some pizzas to order, private event space, and yeah, fun times in West Hartford for all.
16 Tobey Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
Open every day from noon to 8pm (9 on the weekends) is Bloomfield's Thomas Hooker Brewery. This University of Hartford haunt, a sibling to the Colt taproom, pours from 22 tap lines and sells nearly as many cans to go.