At lot has changed in the world since 1955. Kevin Costner is no longer an infant, the Syracuse Nationals are no longer an NBA franchise, let alone World Champions, the world population has grown by over 5 billion people, and most important, New Britain has a craft brewery again.
Not since 1955, has the hardworking town of New Britain been home to a brewery. Cremo Brewing Co. was the people’s choice from the early 30’s up until its demise in ’55, and now it’s Alvarium Beer Company’s turn to carry the torch for Hard-Hittin’.
Chris DeGasero, Brian Bugnacki, and Mike Larson all joined forces to launch Alvarium. DeGasero was the head brewer at City Steam in Hartford as well as the Cambridge House Brewpub in Granby after an apprenticeship at the 508 Gastropub in Chelsea, NY. Bugnacki graduated from the University of Hartford and specialized in marketing with a software company. Larson owns a Mechanical Engineering degree and has more than a decade of experience in the field of mechanical operations. Fast forward to the Summer of 2017, and Alvarium has just started to make its mark on the CT craft beer circuit.
Something that gets lost in the shuffle sometimes when opening a brewery is marketing. Far too often we enter breweries without branding on pint glasses and tasters, or just a lackadaisical approach to their image. Alvarium has been the complete opposite, they’ve recognized what makes New Britain great and they’ve incorporated many aspects of the town to their brewery. From honeycombed flight paddles, beehive enclosed light fixtures, tap handles replaced with New Britain’s own Stanley screwdriver handles, and a logo which features a beehive with a well-placed pint glass opening, Alvarium displays attention to detail like we’ve never seen.
For those who don’t know, New Britain’s motto is, “Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey,” so it’s extremely fitting that a brewery named Alvarium (Latin for “beehive”) calls New Britain home.
The beer ranged from trendy to rare on their opening day, here’s what you need to know about CT’s newest brewery.
Nektar, is an Extra Special Bitter, which is an English style pale ale with more pronounced malt presence and a balanced earthy hop profile. Nektar poured a beautiful copper color in the glass and featured an array of aromas from nutty to caramel. At just 4.8% ABV, this was a great session beer that checked all the boxes for the style.
Fade, a Brown Porter was a delicious offering. Notes of coffee, chocolate, and toffee were all present while the palate presented more deep chocolate and delicate coffee flavors. If there was ever a beer that could stretch its utilization from the beginning of summer through the winter, it would be Fade.
Treewalker, an East Coast Double IPA was by far the crowd favorite. Levels were so depleted the following day, that Alvarium had to cut back the Crowler (more on these later) sales and keep Treewalker strictly on tap for pints and flights only. Treewalker was a more robust flavored IIPA with a hefty malt presence, but not enough to mask the hop flavor. Pineapple, citrus, and orange pith were all flavors that were kept in check by the malt bill. Weighing in at 7.5% ABV, Treewalker seems like a heavyweight, but its crisp finish and flavorful palate makes its sting a bit less potent.
Trockenhopfen is a Hefeweizen that is hopped with Hull Melon. As you would expect, Hull Melon permeates a ripe melon flavor on the beer that it encounters. Out of all the CT breweries we’ve visited, we can count on one hand how many Hefeweizen’s we’ve tasted. The German style beer is one that features a substantial amount of wheat malt, while letting the yeast take over and produce flavors of banana, cloves, and often a dry tart edge. Trockenhopfen was a gorgeous looking beer that featured soft fruit flavors on the palate and a dry finish that requested the next sip. At 5.4% ABV, this Hefe was our obvious choice for the Must Try distinction.
Finishing things off was phresh, a New England style IPA. It’s no surprise that New England style IPA’s are the most popular beer style these days, and it’s getting more and more important for breweries to one, offer one, and two, nail said offering. Like most industries, the consumer controls what is popular and what is not, and at the moment, the consumer wants overly hopped and hazy IPA’s paired with a soft mouthfeel.
For the first batch, phresh checks off all the boxes. An orange juice like appearance, tropical citrus notes dominating the nose and palate, this NEIPA was a knockout and earned the Our Favorite nod.
One of the best things about Alvarium is that they offer Crowlers to-go. A Crowler is a 32oz. can that can be filled with any Alvarium beer and taken anywhere whether it be a hike, barbecue, or house party. Having the ability to enjoy 32oz. of your favorite beer on demand is great. They possess a longer shelf life than glass growlers and stay fresh longer. Also, no more waiting for fills, just grab the cans and go.
Make sure to stop by the Alvarium Beer Co. taproom located at 365 John Downey Dr. Suite B New Britain, CT 06051. Alvarium is open Friday from 4PM-10PM, Saturday from Noon-10PM, and Sunday from Noon-7PM