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Fairfield Brewers Tap Into Shared Love of Suds At Stratford Brewery

Mike Borruso, Stratford Mayor John Harkins and Joe Bow celebrate the opening of Fairfield Craft Ales.
Mike Borruso, Stratford Mayor John Harkins and Joe Bow celebrate the opening of Fairfield Craft Ales. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

STRATFORD, Conn. — Mike Borruso and Joe Bow realized they shared a love of home brewing one day while they were coaching their sons’ Little League team.

Both New York City commuters, the pair would often talk taps on the train ride back to their Fairfield homes.

So it wasn’t long before they were talking about another shared dream — opening a brewery.

On Thursday, the new business partners welcomed a bumper crop of brew lovers to Fairfield Craft Ales, a brewery and taproom they opened recently in a town fast becoming somewhat of a suds mecca.

Fairfield Craft Ales is within walking distance of popular Two Roads Brewery on Stratford Avenue.

“It’s just fantastic,” said Mary Dean, executive director of the Stratford Chamber of Commerce. “It sort of makes Stratford a destination.”

An editor for a consulting firm by day, Borruso said he got into beer making about four years ago, enthralled by the chemical reactions that create a perfect pint.

“The first time I did it, once I saw the yeast go to work I became fascinated with it,” he said.

He did plenty of research and took a class at Veracious, another craft brewery in Monroe, before spending months on his business plan. 

Bow, who is a bond analyst, adds 20-plus years of brewing know-how to the mix.

Fairfield Craft Ales has eight beers on tap at any given time — from the much-in-demand Unchained Pale Ale with its citrusy notes to Dixie Chicken, which features hints of honey, chili pepper and cherry wood smoke.

“People tell us it’s good with Mexican food,” Borruso said.

Speaking of food, the brewery only serves chips and snacks, but there is usually a food truck outside. Chief Brodie’s Banh Mi was on hand Thursday.

Fairfield Craft Ales’ music theme is evident throughout the welcoming space — from the “Rhythm & Brews” sign to the names of some of the offerings, including Quadrophenia Belgian quad and Live & Let Rye IPA.

Can’t decide which to try? A flight of four samples will set you back $8. And if you really like what you taste, the brewery has a full line of T-shirts, pint glasses and other merchandise and a mug club for those who participated in a Kickstarter campaign.

So when do Bow and Borruso, both married fathers of three, have time to make the beer and run the brewery?

“Nights and weekends!” said Borruso.

Fairfield Craft Ales, 724A Honeyspot Road, is open Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Visit the website for more information.

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