The popularity of craft beer is at an all-time high, with new breweries regularly popping up all over the country.
Branford, Connecticut, for example, has three breweries within its borders despite having a population of just 28,000 people, and there are many other places to grab a pint in neighboring communities, as well.
The breweries in Branford, CT, are popular because each offers something a little different to its customers. Whether you're looking for a quick beer on your way home from work, a six-pack to take back with you, or a night on the town with friends, there's a craft brewery for you.
Here's a look at Branford's microbreweries and some other nearby options on the Connecticut Shoreline.
Stony Creek Brewery
Stony Creek Brewery, a waterfront venue with an idyllic location on the Branford River's shores, has a lot going on. This brewery is easily accessible from most of Branford's marinas, and its outdoor patio and taproom allow guests to enjoy the sights and warm summer weather while sampling a pint or two.
There's an indoor taproom, as well, which has a classic beer room appearance with both hightop and picnic tables and a bar area.
As for the beer, Stony Creek has a rotating tap list with a variety of IPAs and lagers always on the menu. The brewery also has a series of seasonal beers that come back annually, some limited release stouts and porters, and occasional ales and sours. Check their website before visiting to find out what they have available at that time.
Because there is so much outdoor space at Stony Creek Brewery, it frequently hosts events in the summer. If you visit at the right time, there might be a band or even a large-scale concert on the premises. There's also an on-site food truck from Naples Pizza should you get hungry.
Whether you're looking to grab a six-pack to take home or a night out in Branford, Stony Creek Brewery is worth checking out.
Thimble Island Brewing Company
Although it doesn't enjoy the beautiful downtown location of Stony Creek Brewery, the Thimble Island Brewing Company has a lot going for it, as well.
This venue sits in a business park just off the Governor John Davis Lodge Turnpike and is known for its massive 24-line tap list, indoor and outdoor taprooms, and welcoming atmosphere.
You wouldn't expect to find a great brewery in this off-the-beaten-path location, but that's just the way locals like it. The outdoor grassy area is away from the summer's crowds, but those who live in Branford are well aware of the Thimble Island Brewing Company and everything that it has to offer.
As you'd expect from a brewery with 24 taps, this venue has both staples and rotating offerings. Some of the most popular beers at this location include Space Mist, Olivia, Sea Foam, and their IPA, all of which are available on tap or in cans to go. You can order growlers to go, as well.
If you get hungry, there's an on-site food truck at Thimble Island, and you can even play cornhole in the grass outside the brewery while enjoying a pint.
DuVig Brewing Company
Thimble Island isn't the only brewery in that business park, as DuVig Brewing Company occupies a building just a few blocks away. Physically, DuVig Brewing Company is the least impressive craft brewery in Branford. Its location in a commercial building with few windows and no outdoor area isn't overly inspiring, but the quality of the beer more than makes up for it.
When you arrive at DuVig Brewing Company, you'll head to the counter to place your order. You can grab a pint of one of their staples, like the cream ale or English brown ale, or order one of their seasonal offerings. They also have tasting flights, if you can't make up your mind, and growler fills and six-packs of select beers to take home with you.
After ordering, you can find a spot at one of the few tables to enjoy your pint or sit at the bar to discuss your selection with one of the knowledgeable bartenders.
DuVig Brewing Company isn't flashy, but the beer is popular for a reason, and it isn't rare to see a lineup of people waiting to give them a try.
Breweries Just Outside of Branford
Branford itself only has three breweries, but the fun doesn't have to stop after you've completed the circuit. That's because neighboring Northford and East Haven have breweries just minutes from downtown Branford, so you can quickly head for a pint at one of these venues.
Stewards of the Land Brewery in Northford is a five-minute drive from North Branford and less than 15 minutes from the Thimble Island Brewing Company. This brewery sits on a farm, so you can grab some fresh produce while you visit, and has a scenic outdoor seating area overlooking the fields. Food trucks are often on-site, and live music is a frequent occurrence here, too.
The Beeracks in East Haven is less than ten minutes from Stony Creek. The concept here is unique, as it's Connecticut's first collaborative brewery, featuring offerings from eight different companies. You can sample beers from Armada, Overshores, Erector, Hull's, Potter Town, Nighthawks, Hoax, and Front Porch, giving you outstanding selection. There are often concerts at The Beeracks, too, adding to the allure of this ambitious venture.
You'll Never Run Out of Options
The great thing about craft breweries is that they're always changing their offerings, so there's usually something completely different every time you visit. And since Branford's breweries have a surprisingly large capacity, you'd struggle to try them all.
Branford, Connecticut, is known for its abundance of marinas and storied history. However, the craft brewery scene gives it an entirely different appeal for beer lovers all over Coastal Connecticut.