John Kraszewski is a guy that thinks before he speaks, not because he’s stumped by any question, but because he sees the bigger picture. When we asked him about what style of beer he would hypothetically release for strictly craft beer fans, not just IPA lemmings, he thought long and hard. Kraszewski then reeled off a genuine response highlighting the importance of every style of beer, not just one, likening his roster of beers to a fleet, or an armada. We couldn’t be more excited to say that for Connecticut, the Armada is finally here.
The journey for Kraszewski really started in Chicago, here he cut his teeth as a homebrewer and manager of the largest home brew supply store in Illinois. The bug bit right after his first batch, and after entering some competitions and coming out with hardware, it only grew. Relocating to Connecticut wasn’t necessarily the plan, but in the Spring of 2016, John and his family returned to his home state to turn his dream into reality.
When we heard about Armada we were excited to get involved any way possible. So, when the opportunity to hand package and bottle Armada’s flagship IPA Cursed King came around, we found ourselves driving down to East Haven to lend a hand.
Currently, Armada rents out space at Overshores Brewing Company. The craft beer community is a special one. I’ve touched on it a few times, but I have never seen anything more community oriented than a volunteer assembly line to help get Cursed King out to the public. From labeling, sanitizing, and filling, John was surrounded by friends and strangers alike. One thing we all had in common however, was our love for beer.
When all was said and done, boxes upon boxes were stacked with freshly packaged 750ml bottles of Cursed King ready for its big release this coming Friday. We could barely contain ourselves so we cracked open a bottle and got down to sampling Connecticut’s newest beer.
Cursed King is beautifully abrasive when it comes to hop bitterness. In a region where IPA’s are becoming “soft” and “fluffy” it’s nice to get a slap across the face with some bold hop flavors again. After the initial bitter punch, the King settles into a juicy blend of tropical citrus followed by a clean and dry finish.
What we loved about this IPA the most was its ability to capture everything we love about New England style IPA’s; the slight hazed appearance, mouthfuls of juicy flavor, and oozing with citrus pith aromas, but possessed a strong bitterness profile and malt backbone to reel it back into standard American IPA territory. It’s the perfect crossover. At 6.5% ABV, its drinkability is another strength.
If this is the type of excellence we can expect from Armada with their other beers, it’s certainly going to bode well for John and the Connecticut craft beer faithful. That’s why this coming Friday, January 20th should be marked on your calendar and circled five times in red marker.
On Friday, the Armada officially arrives at The Beer Collective in New Haven. In addition to Cursed King, Armada will be featuring some of their future releases and have a few special beers on tap. According to their Instagram, it looks like Coffee King IPA received a special treatment from One World Roasters. The launch party exclusive Coffee IPA will be infused with multiple styles of coffee (Ethiopian, Kenyan, Costa Rican, etc.) from the New Haven local roaster for your experimental enjoyment.
Establishing a presence in New Haven County is important to Kraszewski, he recognizes the great breweries that co-exist in such a tight radius, and sees New Haven as the Denver or Portland to Connecticut in terms of breweries.
Prior to all these festivities, you can get your hands on a bottle of Cursed King by visiting the Overshores taproom at 250 Bradley Street in East Haven from 9am-4pm. Following the bottle release, the launch party will start at The Beer Collective at 130 Court Street in New Haven from 5pm-10pm. Get a chance to sample some of Armada’s offerings before they hit package stores, and stick around to enjoy beers that were made specifically for this event, truly one-of-a-kind stuff.
We welcome Armada Brewing Company into the Connecticut craft beer circuit with open arms and wish John and his crew nothing but the best.