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Small Brewers Become Big Business In Fairfield County

Cheers for beers. Harlan Haus in Bridgeport is all about German-style brews. Photo Credit: Facebook
Charter Oak Brewing will move to its own space in Danbury in early 2018. Photo Credit: Facebook
Cards, beer and football are on tap at Redding Beer Company in Redding. Photo Credit: Facebook
Beer from Lock City Brewing in Stamford. Photo Credit: Facebook

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- If you're a beer lover, you're in luck.

Each day it seems another brewery or beer pub opens its doors in Fairfield County, catering to residents with creative hops (watch for the opening of the new Harlan Haus in Bridgeport) and carefully curated snacks (shout out to Shelton's The Drunk Alpaca).

In a short period of time, the Connecticut craft beer scene has exploded, tapping into the county's thirst for flavor, variety and fun.

Many of these businesses were started by local folks with a passion for home brewing. All of them have helped elevate the area's craft beer experience. 

Not sure where to go? We've done the research for you -- and yes, that may (or may not) have included sampling a few pints of amber brews.

INSTAGRAM: Follow Jeanne Muchnick @dailyvoicefeatures

  • Aspetuck Brew Lab, Bridgeport: This two-year-old brewery and tap room are the dream of a husband-and-wife team (see Daily Voice story HERE) who care as much about the community as they do good, local beer.
  • Broken Symmetry Gastro Brewery, Bethel: This craft brewery and casual dining spot, in the old Bethel Train Station, is hoping for a late January/early February opening. Stay tuned by following them on Facebook.
  • Charter Oak, Danbury: Tastings and events are going on throughout December for Charter Oak (check their Facebook page). Come early 2018, the company, in business since June 2012, will have its own 8,000-square-foot facility in Danbury, 2,000 feet of which will feature a tap room. Owner/Founder P. Scott Vallely of New Canaan, previously brewed at other locations.
  • Brewport Brewing, Bridgeport: Sling back some serious suds at this year(ish)-old restaurant/brewery where the motto is "pizza/salad/beer." Only craft beers are served and Bridgeport pride is front and center in a newspaper-centric atmosphere (it's a former newspaper distribution warehouse). Go HERE for earlier Daily Voice story.
  • Fairfield Craft Ales, Stratford: This one-and-a-half-year brewery is as much about music as it is about beer, thanks to the vision of Owners Mike Borruso and Joe Bow. Choose between more than 21 brews, all named after some of the duo's favorite songs -- think Little Darlin’ (by The Diamonds), Brown-Eyed Girl (Van Morrison), and Dixie Chicken (Little Feat). Read more HERE.
  • Harlan Haus, Bridgeport: The much-anticipated German-style beer hall will hold a grand opening from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Jan. 10 at the former People Bank building at 155 State Street. Expect a traditional German beer hall, complete with pretzels, schnitzel and all manner of wursts. The pièce de résistance, however, will be its two premium German beers and a host of local craft beers on rotation-- all set in a 7,000-square-foot space. Go HERE for earlier story. 
  • Iron Brewing Company, South Norwalk: Three chemists are behind this new (as of December) brewery where scientifically-crafted suds take center stage. A rotating array of eight in-house beers are on tap at any time. The owners are open to customer input and even offers tours of their equipment to curious guests. Previous Daily Voice story HERE.
  • Half Full Brewery, Stamford: Open since 2012, this brewery is all about optimism, sensible decisions and enlightenment -- and that's just the names of some of its brews. Giving back is a big part of its mission as it simply having a good time with good friends, good food and thoughtfully crafted brews. Right now the brewery is serving up its limited edition Without Rhyme or Reason Belgian amber.
  • Lock City Brewing Co., Stamford: Open since July 22, this local spot, with the motto: "Community Builds Beer; Beer Builds Community," is all about bringing fresh New England style IPAs to Fairfield County and beyond.
  • Nod Hill Brewery, Ridgefield: Nod Hill offers six core beers on draft in addition to regular cask offerings and special can and bottle releases. The new brewery -- it opened the end of October -- is run by the father/son team of Rob and David Kaye. To accommodate those who don't drink beer, they also offer bottles of Wild Tonic Kombucha for sale in their taproom -- 5.6 percent ABV, gluten-free, honey and tea-based fermented beverage and allow patrons to bring in food.
  • Redding Beer Company, Redding: This new brewery -- open since mid-October --  grew out of the passion (and the beer awards) father/son duo Jim and Davi Baulsir had for home brewing. Expect an assortment of American Wheat Ale, Irish Red Ale, East Coast IPA, American Pale Ale and English Special Bitter (ESB). Go HERE for previous Daily Voice story.
  • Spigot Beer, Norwalk: Open since late October, this cozy spot is akin to a wine bar but with beer and cheese pairings. The two partner owners pride themselves on their ever-rotating selection of craft beers curated with an emphasis on selections from the Northeast. Cheeses are from Manhattan's Murray's Cheese Shop. Earlier Daily Voice story HERE.
  • Two Roads Brewing Company, Stratford: Jus five years old, this brewery is hopping (pardon the pun) --- and rapidly expanding. The ground has been broken on a new facility, set to open in Fall 2018, which will focus on sour and barrel-aged varieties. In the meantime, it's hard not to get caught up in the company's “road less travelled” philosophy. In other words, expect a lineup that puts a twist on traditional beer styles. Go HERE for Daily Voice story.
  • Veracious Brewing Co., Monroe: Choose between 16 beers on tap and a tasting room where you can bring your own food. This three-and-a-half-year-old brewery, founded by Tess and Mark Szamatulski, was named one of the top 33 new American breweries of 2015 by Beer Advocate Magazine. Read more HERE.

Worth a mention: The Drunk Alpaca in Shelton where you'll find inventive baked goods designed to pair with a pint of Guinness, an IPA or any other kind of brewski.

The two bakers -- both Connecticut residents -- began their company in August 2016 and now have dozens of different treats such as blondies, beer nuts and beer caramel corn. Their beer glazed chips and stout brownies are the most popular.

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