If you live in Connecticut and haven’t visited New England Brewing Company (or simply NebCo), you’ve been missing out on some of the best beer the state has to offer. Located in Woodbridge, NebCo has been going strong for several years by supplying our area with some of the most interesting beers. Some of which are hard to find, while others can be found at your local package store.
The brewery itself is relatively small in size, with a few tables but mostly standing room only. They offer free samples which is pretty hard to complain about, and they’re quite alright with bending the “four sample maximum” rule if you give them your best puppy dog eyes. Which is exactly how we were able to sample all six taps upon our visit.
We began with a few from their “Fat Ten-er” series. The term Fat Ten-er alludes to the amount of beer that is being brewed. A Ten-er is 10 barrels of beer. One barrel produces 31 gallons, so after annexing a zero, a Ten-er is 310 gallons of beer. Math genius. So, NebCo creates a different Ten-er and simply attaches a number to the end. If everyone loves it, too bad, it’s never coming back. And if everyone hates it, HA, that’s not even possible.
We sampled Fat Ten-er #28 which was a Pilsner that was exactly that, a Pilsner. Nothing too crazy about this one, but certainly well done. The Fat Ten-er #29 however, was a Coffee IPA with Amarillo and Mosaic hops. Off the nose it smelt just like fresh coffee beans, but after the first taste, we quickly came to find this wasn’t like anything we’ve tried before. Light, refreshing, and not overbearing, the Ten-er #29 is a one-of-a-kind IPA, the perfect beer for Coffee Stout lovers and IPA enthusiasts alike, earning the Must Try award for the day.
Next up was the Fat Ten-er #30, an American IPA brewed with El Dorado, Mosaic, and Equinox hops. This one was bright, juicy, and clocked in at 6.7% making it a perfectly drinkable IPA. But like all summer loves, these Ten-er’s came to an end. We put down our glasses in defeat, knowing we would probably never taste them again. But then we realized we still had three beers to sample, so the show must go on.
Scrumtrulescent isn’t just a phrase coined by Will Farrel’s famous impression of James Lipton on SNL, it’s actually a pretty great Saison/Farmhouse Ale too. The “summer beer” trend is such a crowded field these days, almost every brewery is trying to put a light, crisp, refreshing beer down your throat from April to August. But this one is something under the radar that does all the above, without tasting like a watered down version of something else. Light on body, but enough hops to kick it up a notch, keep this one in mind next time you see it on tap this summer.
668 The Neighbor of the Beast is a Belgian Golden Strong Ale that checks in at 7.8% ABV. This is a classic representation of the Belgian Strong styled beer; complex, delicate flavors, fruity, and hoppy all at the same time. The sneakiness of the alcohol percentage really puts this one in the upper echelon for this style. Perhaps only rivaled by Stubborn Beauty’s Secret Agent x9, this Belgian is also available in cans which is a huge plus.
Finally, we reached the end. Just one last beer to sample. And no, we did not have Fuzzy Baby Ducks, a single hopped Citra IPA that is regarded one of the best IPA’s in the world, let alone Connecticut. Not Sea Hag, which recently took home the Expert’s Pick at the 2016 CT Blind Beer Awards. We couldn’t even get our hands on the Imperial Stout Trooper, which currently holds a 93 on Beer Advocate, and got the attention of Lucasfilms, who promptly released a cease-and-desist letter to the brewery for the usage of George’s beloved Storm Trooper logo on the bottle.
But this one has had some legal attention of its own, yes, you guessed it, G-Bot. Formally known as Ghandi Bot, before a 2014 lawsuit made NebCo change the name and label of their arguably most popular beer, thank God they didn’t have to change the beer itself!
G-Bot is an Imperial IPA that is intensely brewed with three different varieties of American hops. It is considered a World Class level beer by many, and for good reason. Although impossible to get a hold of in can form, similar to Sip of Sunshine or Captain’s Daughter, G-Bot is worth the hunt. Combining aromatic hops and a healthy dose of flavor, you’ll double take at the 8.8% ABV reading. Grapefruit, tangerine, and pine come straight at you from the nose, and citrusy zest soon follows on the palate. For all its been through, G-Bot has remained the same, and we couldn’t be more thankful. It came as no surprise that G-Bot earned the Our Favorite award.
New England Brewing Company is a juggernaut in the great state of Connecticut. From World Class offerings, to once in a lifetime “Ten-er” pilot batches, NebCo has something for everyone.