FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- A decade ago -- even five years ago -- the brewery scene in Fairfield County was pretty much non-existent. Fast forward to now and you can pretty much drink your way from Stamford to Stratford.
Many of these new businesses were started by local folks with a passion for home brewing, a desire to elevate the Connecticut beer experience and/or the hope of bringing happiness -- or dare we say hoppiness-- to the region.
What follows is a sampling of the county's brew offerings. Try one, or all; then tell us what you think. Feel free, too, to let us know if we've missed anyone so we can add to our list.
- Aspetuck Brew Lab, Bridgeport: Here, good beer is all about respecting the classic styles while pushing the boundaries by embracing experimentation. The 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 October opening.
- Charter Oak, Danbury: The wait is on. Come early 2018, Charter Oak, which has been serving hand-crafted innovative beers such as Pale Ales, IPAs (India Pale Ales), Brown Ales and several seasonal, more robust varieties since June 2012, will have its own spot. Owner/Founder P. Scott Vallely, of New Canaan, previously brewed at various other breweries but in the new year, he'll sport an 8,000-square-foot brewery with a 2,000-square-foot tap room so stay tuned to quench your thirst.
- Brewport Brewing, Bridgeport: Sling back some serious suds at this year-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 (its a former newspaper distribution warehouse). Go HERE for earlier Daily Voice story.
- Fairfield Craft Ales, Stratford: This one-year-old (and a few months) brewery is as much about music as it is about beer, thanks to the vision of Owners Mike Borruso and Joe Bow. There are now more than 21 brews, all named after some of their favorite songs -- think Little Darlin’ (song by 60s doo-wop group The Diamonds), Brown-Eyed Girl (Van Morrison), and Dixie Chicken (a Little Feat tune). Go HERE for earlier Daily Voice story.
- Half Full Brewery, Stamford: There's a long story behind Half Full's beginnings starting with the founder's daily grind and a job that brought no satisfaction. Open since 2012, this brewery is all about optimsim, sensible decisions and englightenment -- 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. Toast its five years in business with a Fifth Anniversary Halloween Bash complete with Nosh Hound and Hapa food trucks and an onsite band. Check the website for details.
- Lock City Brewing Co., Stamford: Open since July 22, this local brewery, with the motto: "Community Builds Beer; Beer Builds Community," is all about making handcrafted quality beer that beer enthusiasts will enjoy. Co-Founder Patrick Casciolo said they are trying to bring fresh New England style IPAs to Fairfield County and beyond.
- Nod Hill Brewery, Ridgefield: Nod Hill will offer six core beers on draft in addition to regular cask offerings and special can and bottle releases. The new brewery -- it hopes to open by the end of October -- is run by the father/son team of Rob and David Kaye. Go HERE for earlier Daily Voice story.
- Redding Beer Company, Redding: This new brewery grew out of a passion for home brewing. Father/son duo Jim and Davi Baulsir are excited for their official opening Sat. Oct. 14 in the town they live in. The Tapfest is from 4 p.m. to l0 p.m. and will include American Wheat Ale, Irish Red Ale, East Coast IPA, American Pale Ale and English Special Bitter (ESB). Go HERE for previous Daily Voice story.
- Two Roads Brewing Company, Stratford: Founded in 2012 by four friends, the brewery fosters a “road less traveled” philosophy in the beers they make and how they make them. In other words, expect a lineup that puts a twist on traditional beer styles. Check out their first annual "Roadsmary's Baby Pumpkin Fest" on Saturday, Oct. 21 for a bottle release and screening of the classic film, "Rosemary's Baby." The event is from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visit their website/Facebook page for more details. And, look, too, for details about their expansion set for early 2018. Go HERE for Daily Voice story.
- Veracious Brewing Co., Monroe: Expect 16 beers on tap and a tasting room where you can bring your own food. This three-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. Go HERE for Daily Voice story.
Overwhelmed witih choices? Head to Stamford's Brews on Bedford festival, set for Saturday, Oct. 14 with lots of craft beers, music and games.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.