The statement's very intonation was a dare.
"There is no difference at all, I'm telling you."
A quick glance past my right shoulder revealed two men who stared at each other with furrowed brows, half grinning. I began to turn back, but was arrested by a series of clunking sounds as two shot glasses and two bottles of beer fell onto the bar like hailstones. The bartender was smiling: finally, some action.
I was at a Plan B with the guys from Branford, Connecticut's Thimble Island Brewing, and it seems the challenge was met.
Just in case you're wondering, a lot of thirsty people walk into places like Plan B, look at over a dozen beers on tap, peruse a list showing tens of bottles of foreign and domestic craft brews, and then order a Coors Light. This was how it started, and why a giggling someone was now secretively pouring small servings of Budweiser and PBR into tiny, bucket shaped glasses. Five of us took the Pepsi challenge, and (I'll protect the innocent here) only three of us got the gold star.
Entries in Brewery (8)
The statement's very intonation was a dare.
Few sensations enliven the mind like eye-catching novelty. Our minds have evolved such a predilection to find the next new thing, it's a compulsion. This is why slot machines are addictive even though they're so repetitive: there's something new every time. The new glass house is made of screens. Status, tweet, pin... tap, tap, tap.
It's easy to read about how this river of information which flows to us has made Americans indistinguishable from the couches which we permanently inhabit, but I think this is losing sight of the fact that rivers are also a means of transport. Ideas are hardly stationary. This week, let's take a look at a few novelties which have arrived on the Connecticut beer scene, and see if we can get some wheels turning.
Jack's Abbey launched just three years ago up in Massachusetts and has seemingly been winning awards ever since. The company is run by Jack, Eric and Sam Hendler, scions of an ice manufacturing family, whose Hendler Farms supplies man of the ingredients found in their beers. The brand name comes from Jack (who earned a degree in brewing in '07) and his wife, Abbey - whose name worked out pretty well as a reference to monkish beer brewing traditions. I started off with their Mass Rising Imperial Pils.
You read it here first back in April, and now CTbites is bringing you an absolutely exclusive first look at OEC Brewing, days before the grand opening party this Saturday. The party, by the way, is open to everyone, and will take place at 7 Fox Hollow Rd., Oxford, CT, from noon to 5p.m. We have the tap and bottle list for the event below.
As a reminder, OEC stands for Ordinem Ecentrici Coctores, a bit of muddled Latin roughly translating to the "Order of Eccentric Boilers," and is the work of Ben Neidhart and Jie Yu. Ben designed the name, logo, and all associated labels and artwork as a bit of a spoof on medieval guilds and secret societies, and framed examples of this art can be found decorating the walls of OEC's combined brewery and tasting room.
Satan's favorite sin may be vanity, but I like to think I've earned a curt nod of his horned head with my recent achievements in the fields of gluttony and sloth. A detailed recap of my travels during American Craft Beer Week would run about 20,000 words, and even I don't think I'm that interesting, so I've put reviews of some of the sweet, sweet beer I lucked into below, interspersed with a few tidbits of news. The gems which did not make this week's column will be coming your way soon, though - I took a LOT of notes.
Biggest news [by size]: Two Roads Brewing in Stratford, already the largest brewery in the state, has announced plans for an expansion which will more than double their output, from ~80,000 barrels per year to over 175,000 barrels, at an estimated cost of $2.4million. Two Roads has expanded its reach from Connecticut to Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York, so demand has obviously increased, but only 25% of current capacity goes to brewing their own portfolio.
Ben Neidhart of Beverage United International, importer of vanishingly rare and obscenely delicious beers from Europe, Africa and Asia, has announced the finalization of his brand new brewery, OEC Brewing, which will open its doors alongside B.United's headquarters facility in Oxford. A public grand opening party will take place on Saturday, June 7th, at noon.
B.United imports have appeared numerous times in Friday Froth, and I had a chance to tour the facility last year as part of their Nepenthia event. BU has consistently been years ahead of the curve in barrel aging beers in creative and exotic ways as part of the ongoing experiment they call Zymatore, and OEC, while a separate entity, will be able to benefit from the other facilities on site.
The new brewery, called OEC, for Ordinem Ecentrici Coctores or "Order of Eccentric Boilers" (they know their Latin is less than perfect), gives the mad scientist Neidhart family a chance to bring creations wholly their own to the market, along with a tasting room which will feature six taps of OEC beers, B.United imports, and at least one of the ultra-rare Zymatore barrel aged special brews.
Due to the relativistic effects of recent travel Friday Froth only APPEARS to have posted on Saturday. Adjust your perceptions accordingly.
We are explorers in this place. Early people trudged or sailed the natural world to see what had never been seen before, as far as they knew - to discover just what was out there. Incredibly daunting missions had deceivingly simple directions: Sail to India. Find the north pole. Go get spices. Head west. When the pilot on the conquistador Francisco Pizarro's ship was asked by another navigator how to find Peru when sailing from Mexico's Pacific coast he answered "Sail south along the coast until you no longer see trees. Then you are in Peru."
Like most people from the 19th century on, it's easy to think we've seen everything. There is only so much to the surface of the Earth, and the natural world often changes too slowly for us to see. Go to Hawaii or Iceland and you can see new Earth being made, but it seems we've already mapped out or looked down on the rest of it, right? The Earth may remake itself slowly, but its people gush creativity. We produce what is new under the Sun. The world of craft beer is a particularly fertile valley.
Evil Twin is the label created by one Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, of Denmark.
Two Roads Brewing Company announces its first annual “Ok2berfest” celebration to be held on the grounds of their brewery in Stratford, CT on September 21 and 22. “Rain or Shine, this will be an absolute blast” said Brad Hittle, Two Roads’ CEO.
Influenced by Two Roads own name, Ok2berfest plans on being “twice” the fun of a traditional US Oktoberfest event. “We are doubling down on everything, introducing 2 different Oktoberfest beers and hosting 2 bands each day, for 2 days.”
Even Head Brewer Phil Markowski will be getting into the Ok2berfest spirit, delivering 2 unique renditions of classic Oktoberfest beers, one named “Eine” and the other named “Zwei.”
Four years after Conor Horrigan decided to make the leap from regular working stiff to found his own brewery, the dream becomes a reality this weekend in Stamford. Half Full Brewery will be open for tastings and tours tomorrow, September 8 from 12 – 2p.m. Tours of Fairfield County’s newest brewery commence at 12:30 and 1:30, and visitors will have the option to buy filled growlers and take home a generous portion of Half Full’s signature brew: Bright Ale.
The crew at Half Full describe their venture thusly:
The Half Full Brewery is a “lifestyle” brewery that came to life after Conor decided to quit his day job and travel Europe and the concept behind our brewery is as simple as its name and motto sounds: whether your glass is literally or figuratively “Half Full”, you can “look forward to more…”