Over the past decade-plus, the craft beer revolution has taken hold in Connecticut and the beer scene here is still — pun very much intended — hopping in Fairfield County. Here are three western Connecticut brewing destinations worth checking out, whether you’re a seasoned beer drinker, or can’t tell your IPAs from your stouts.
Broken Symmetry | 5 Depot Place Bethel
Broken Symmetry is an amalgamation of founder and head brewer Christopher Sanzeni’s passions. “I spent a lifetime in the engineering world, working in semiconductors and aerospace. I have a love of fine art, of food, and of science: all of which brought me to the art of craft beer,” he says.
In 2018 those passions brought him to downtown Bethel when Broken Symmetry opened in a historic train station. “I want to do justice to the styles and honor the traditions of those who innovated before me as I build my recipes,” he says. “Keeping history alive is apparent in my brews. We pride ourselves on serving a variety of styles, teaching guests about beer and expanding palates and exposure to the width and breadth of the beer world.” In addition to the ever-popular hazy IPAs, you’ll often find offerings such as Belgian ales, saisons and stouts on tap.
Sanzeni and his staff also strive to bring people together through beer. “When you sit down with strangers over a meal and a pint, you can’t help but make personal connections in that shared experience,” he says. He adds, “Our historic building has always been a transportive place and we consider the 1800s train station to be the anchor that moors us.”
Broken Symmetry has a full kitchen and food has always been an important part of Sanzeni’s vision for the space. Executive Chef, Eric Genuario, recently took over the reins of the kitchen, and the Culinary Institute of America graduate has curated a menu of rotating cross-culture bites ranging from pierogies to burgers and cheesesteaks to patty melts and a jumbo pretzel that very much lives up to its name.
Redding Beer Company | 7 Main Street, Redding
Opened by Jim Baulsir and his son Dave in 2017, the Redding Beer Co. is situated in the heart of Georgetown and is the perfect destination for those beer lovers who are tired of all the hop-forward brews. “We’re a little bit different because we don’t have 26 different kinds of IPAs on tap,” Baulsir says. “We deal with American and European classic historic beer styles, which have been lacking on the American craft beer palette for a number
You’ll find beloved but less common styles such as an Irish red stout or colonial style ales. Dave is particularly passionate about reviving old and either rare or entirely forgotten types of beer. One recent example is a beer called Menestheus Mild, an English mild-style beer inspired by the HMS Menestheus, a British naval ship that was converted into a floating brewery in World War II to supply fresh beer to soldiers serving in the Pacific.
The Redding Beer Co.’s space is also modeled after a United Kingdom-style pub with communal seating and an intimate feel. While designing the brewery, the team didn’t follow the path of many breweries where the taproom is built in the corner of an industrial space as an afterthought. “We had a taproom and then we designed and built a brewery to go into the tap room,” Baulsir says.
Redding Beer Co. offers a variety of snacks including chips, soft pretzels, and on occasion individual-size pizzas from Zuppardi’s Apizza in West Haven. Visitors looking for something more substantial can bring in outside food including takeout from nearby restaurants in Georgetown.
Nod Hill Brewery | 137 Ethan Allen Hwy, Ridgefield
In 2017 father and son duo Rob and David Kaye, along with David’s wife, Sarah, and brewer Kyle Acenowr opened Nod Hill Brewery. “We are beer lovers, brewers, hospitality veterans, and entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity to bring world-class beer to a unique and under-served location,” David Kaye says. “We wanted to make the kind of beer we love to drink and create a place that was filled with good conversation, good food, and excellent live music.”
More than six years later, they’ve accomplished that and more. Nod Hill opened a vast outdoor beer garden “biergarten” in 2021 and added an event space to the indoor brewery taproom with an intimate music club feel. The brewery attracts visitors year-round with its welcoming vibes and high-quality beers. “We have one foot in the new school and one foot in tradition,” Kaye says. “We brew a great deal of hazy, hoppy modern beers, but we are also fascinated with brewing and serving Old World styles from Germany, England and Belgium — honoring traditions and sharing what is magical about the drinking experience in those cultures.”
Nod Hill has a house food truck run by Walrus Alley in Westport and called Walrus Outpost at Nod Hill. At the brewery Wednesday through Sunday, the truck features southern-style cooking and barbecue, as well European-inspired specialties that, Kaye says, “pair perfectly with our beer.” During special events in the warmer months, they often also feature a second rotating food truck.