BEER! CT’s Hidden Art

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After attending the Bottoms Up! event at Real Artways with the Anti-Couric and the Asian Persuasion, I gained a new appreciation for those “mixologists” behind the bar (and usually behind the scenes).  My trek to New Haven this past weekend reminded me of some other arts that don’t get as much exposure or appreciation here in Connecticut: Craft beer and some good ol’ chili.

The Anti-Couric is certainly right when she says, “there is so much cool stuff happening in Hartford that we often have to pick and choose what we can attend.”  My choice this weekend was between Connecticon at the XL Center in Hartford or the Beer and Chili Festival at Delaney’s Tap Room in New Haven.  While I would love to see people (*cough*, myself, *cough*) in superhero/geek costumes, I also really like beer.  So, after a brief deliberation (and a $10 difference in admission) it was decided.

For $30 and some gas money, two beer enthusiast friends and I journeyed down to Delaney’s and were pleasantly surprised by 1)  A nice part of New Haven. There were a lot of cool-looking shops, cafes, and restaurants all along Whalley Street.  2)  A HUGE turnout. There must have been about 300 people walking around the tents sampling beer, conversing, and stuffing themselves with chili. One of the best parts about the trip was how kind everyone was. My two friends brew beer in their garages, and everyone we talked to was willing to give and receive advice, review different beers, and mind their p’s and q’s.

Now, I’ve dabbled in brewing beer (my honey lager sucked) but the people at this festival really knew their stuff.  My friends would ask how long they should “rest their mash” for a sour beer, or what type of yeast mixes the best with a whatchamacallit, and other brewing questions that started me thinking. This craft brewing, much like cocktail making, is an art form that is quickly gaining some steam. For that matter, even the people in the chili contest could argue that cooking is another art form back on the rise, thanks to celebrity chefs and the Food Network.

The best part about this craft brew revolution is that we have some of the best right here in Connecticut.  That’s right, when we walked around and sampled beers, some of our favorites were from up and coming breweries right here in the nutmeg state (though no weird and gross nutmeg beer, thankfully).  A favorite was newcomer Shebeen with its cannoli (yes, cannoli) beer, but there are way more breweries in CT than we thought.

So if you’d like to experience some of this beervolution, I would encourage you to head over to a local brewery one day soon for a tour  and some samples.  Thomas Hooker Brewery’s Friday nights are a favorite. You’ll get to learn the science behind the suds, meet some interesting people, and support a local art-form that doesn’t get as much recognition as it should.