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There are a million different things to do in the Nutmeg State, but if you’re looking for something a little different for a night out with friends, you should try visiting one of the best breweries in Connecticut.
Connecticut has more than 100 craft breweries throughout the small state, and new ones are opening all the time. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just a casual drinker, you’ll be surprised at the options available. From small-batch craft beers in abandoned psychiatric hospitals to award-winning brews on renovated farms, there’s something for everyone.
The Best Breweries in Connecticut
Map for this guide
The Connecticut Beer Trail is a great app if you’re interested in keeping track, earning points, and winning prizes for your trips to the top Connecticut breweries. This is their map of every brewery in the state, but we’re highlighting our favorites below!
There are also a variety of tours available from Connecticut Beer Tours–visit New England breweries throughout the tri-state area with transportation included. Some focus on the history of the beer in Connecticut, while others are centered on the brewing process.
BAR is well-known around New Haven, Connecticut for its modern take on the city’s famous apizza. But did you know the famous pizzeria is also a brewery? The BruRM at BAR opened in 1996 and has been serving fresh micro-brews ever since. They even moonlight as a dance club from Thursday nights through Saturday nights after 9:30 p.m.
BAR has various house-brewed ales and IPAs available, as well as several local and regional beers on tap. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have their notorious brick-oven apizza while you’re enjoying your drinks!
If you’re looking for some of the best things to do in New Haven, Connecticut, make sure you read my guide to the city!
Phantom Brewing Company
Opened in 2020, after a career of helping new breweries start-up, the owners of Phantom Brewing Company decided to join the ranks of other Connecticut brewers they admired by starting their own micro-brewery inside their Beer and Wine Maker’s Warehouse.
Their wide selection of homemade brews ensures that there will be something you like! And if you just keep coming back, you can opt to join their memberships–The Mug Club and The Crowler Club–for discounts on drinks.
Not only do they have great beer, but owners Jon and Bo also kept to their mission to educate people on the beer-making process. You can find their class schedule and sign up for upcoming sessions on their website. They also host Homebrew Happy Hour once a month, where homebrewers can share their creations at the shop and receive feedback from other enthusiasts.
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Ever wanted your beer in an abandoned insane asylum? If this very specific item was on your bucket list, you’re in luck! NewSylum Brewing opened in 2018 inside Stratford Hall, one of the former Fairfield Hills Hospital buildings, a psychiatric hospital that operated from 1931 through 1995. While a few of the buildings are still in use today, most have been abandoned and have not been preserved.
Throwing back to its hospital roots, NewSylum Brewing’s selection of beers have names like its IPA “Counting the Days,” dipa dry-hop series “Beautiful Consequences,” and pale ale “Therapy Sessions.” Their food menu includes personal-sized wood-fired pizzas, as well as other snacks and finger foods.
There are also several walking trails and paths through the surrounding woods, along with the craft brewery open to visitors. Go for a walk, explore the abandoned buildings, and stay for a beer!
Shunock River Brewery and Village Cafe
Dating from its origins as the town’s general store, Shunock River Brewery and Village Cafe sits in a historic building in North Stonington, Connecticut, just outside Mystic. Their beers are handcrafted and brewed in small batches each week with fresh ingredients for a fresh taste.
And with “Cafe” in its name, you’re to be sure their food is as good as their beer. Personal-sized wood-fired pizzas and wood-fired quesadillas complete their menu, which is available to be enjoyed alongside their flights and growlers. They also serve nearby Jonathan Edwards Winery’s house white wine and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Clocktown Brewing Company
Connecticut man Seth Thomas created the Seth Thomas Clock Company in 1813 and pioneered the system of mass production prevalent today. What does this have to do with hand-crafted beer you ask? In 1853, he founded his Clock Factory here in Thomaston, Connecticut, in the same building that now houses the brewery.
Get it?! Clocktown Brewery, because the building in Thomaston was originally owned by Seth Thomas who crafted clocks. In fact, the district Plymouth Hollow was renamed Thomaston in 1875 after the man himself!
Although Clocktown Brewing Company also carries local liquors and wines, their selection of homemade beers and ciders on draught are perfectly paired with their wood-fired pizza and other American fare foods.
Fun Fact: The beautiful clock sitting in the center of the Grand Central Terminal’s Main Concourse in New York City was manufactured by Seth Thomas Clock Company.heading to nyc? Read my guide to navigating the new york city subway.
Kent Falls Brewing Company
As the first farm brewery in the state, Kent Falls Brewing Company puts a lot of work into its handcrafted beers. Founded in 2012, the brewery began selling its beer in 2015 after converting a former dairy farm. In addition to their pasture-raised pork and poultry, the now-diversified farm produces their own hops, and apples for their Port Chester, New York distillery, Neversink Spirits.
The owners are committed to sustainable, energy-efficient methods and locally source their ingredients. The brewery also has a taproom where you can sample its current offerings and offers free tours of their facilities on Saturdays from May through October.
One of the best parts is the natural beauty bordering the brewery; it offers spectacular views of the surrounding forest and sits on the opposite side of the town’s popular nearby attraction, Kent Falls State Park. And although their apples aren’t available for picking, you can find my guide to apple picking in Connecticut for all the best places in the state where it is available!
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Fox Farm Brewery
Housed on what was once an old dairy farm, Fox Farm Brewery is owned and operated by Laura and Zach Adams, a husband-and-wife duo who set out to produce great beer. After receiving a brew-at-home kit from his inlaws for Christmas, Zach’s homemade beer was chosen as one of three winners in the national 2012 Samuel Adams Longshot American Homebrew Contest.
Thanks to the owner’s passion for quality and his willingness to experiment with new flavors and ingredients, he has since spent years adapting and refining his brews.
Stony Creek Brewery
The first Branford brewery to make the list, Stony Creek Brewery sits on the banks of the city’s river. What started as a local microbrewery transformed into a much larger operation when owner Ed Crowley noticed that small breweries and their brews were becoming more popular regionally.
Now, they’re known for their “aggressively laid-back beer,” with names like Little Cranky, Big Wing Haze, and Wash Your Hands. They also produce seltzers, seasonal holiday beers, and serve food on site.
The building itself is the second-largest facility and taproom in Connecticut, with a large space that overlooks the river, and a tasting room that features a beer hall-like atmosphere and large bar area. It’s a fantastic space to kick back and enjoy a quality beer with your friends and family.
From the small craft brewpubs in the countryside to the larger, independently-owned breweries in the cities, you need to experience a pint of award-winning brews from one of the best breweries in Connecticut listed here. And remember, whatever you do; don’t drink and drive!