New England Brewing Company has been a Connecticut cornerstone since the 90’s. While at the time, I was still riding a big wheel and probably rocking a hideous bowl cut, I’d like to think someone was drinking some NebCo beer around me at cookouts and whatnot.
Fast forward a few years and my brother and I have visited nearly every brewery in the state. Our job doesn’t get any easier since breweries are popping up in every corner of the state forcing us out of the house each weekend and tasting some of the newest creations, poor us.
We’ve visited NebCo a few times, enjoying ourselves whenever we go. But recently, they’ve revamped the taproom and now offer full pours of beers. Before, they were a free tasting and growler fill type place, but with the new rules, we were looking forward to actually spending some time exploring the taplist.
There were several options on tap when we arrived so we decided it would only make sense to spilt some half pours of each beer and get a sense of everything, here are some highlights.
NEW ENGLAND BREWING CO.
Elm City Pilsner is a beer that CT beer fans have a soft spot in their hearts for. Yes, it’s a Pilsner and you might immediately label this under Dad beer and move on to something else, but there aren’t many things more rewarding after than finishing a long day at the office, mowing your lawn, or congratulating yourself for waking up before 11am than a well brewed Pilsner. If it’s New England Brewing beer, it’s guaranteed to be well brewed and Elm City is no exception. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, Elm City is true to style and never disappoints.
The Ocho isn’t just a nod to the “satirical ESPN channel turned real ESPN channel” from the film Dodgeball, (Sean Penn robbed Ben Stiller of an Oscar that year in my opinion). But The Ocho is actually the official name of an American IPA that was once a part of NebCo’s Fat 10’er series (#8 to be exact). Fat 10’er is a series of experimental batches brewed on a 10-barrel system which allows the brewers to try things that might not make it past the taproom. The blend of Ekuanot, Columbus, and Citra blends together for a blend of dank citrus and pine flavor. At 6.8% ABV, The Ocho is a beer that would make Patches O’Houlihan proud.
Super Supernaut is a hopped-up version of its standard IPA version, Supernaut. 100% hopped with Mosaic hops, this beer is complex despite its single-hop simplicity. Mosaic can taste like a plethora of different things depending on your palate, hence the name, but for us we get a ton of fruity tastes ranging from stone fruit to citrus. When done right, Mosaic can be one of my favorite aromas on the nose of a beer, the palate can be a little shaky at times but Super Supernaut does a great job of balancing malt and hops, certainly a beer you need to try if found on tap, which is why it earned itself the Our Favorite award.
The Galaxy Pale Ale is another example of single-hop chemistry in NebCo’s lineup. Galaxy is an Australian hop that has gotten plenty of buzz over the years for its aroma/flavor that has been highly sought after by breweries from Trillium to Monkish. The Galaxy Pale is a super bright and flavorful rendition of the style. Not overly hoppy, but certainly showcasing a bold hop profile, Galaxy Pale is no slouch on a list of solid beers.
Finally, we reached Herducken, a Session IPA which was brewed in collaboration with Stony Creek in Branford. The 5% ABV beer features a generous blend of Citra, El Dorado, Galaxy, and Ekuanot hops creating a super tropical fruit focused beer. having this kind of flavor profile is hard to achieve by keeping the beer at a lower alcohol content, but Herducken does not disappoint. Actually, the only thing I can knock this beer for is its logo, am I the only one in CT that doesn’t like the Fuzzy Baby Duck can art? Ducklings with alien sized eyes? Unicorns with rainbows coming out of God knows where, then said ducklings body surfing on those rainbows? Good God. Then Herducken goes and puts that crazed Duckling in an E.T. esque bicycle basket while the bird from Stony Creek peddles along. I digress.
The beer is solid and to be honest this was a Must Try for the day. The blend of bold flavors followed by a petite ABV is always respected because this isn’t a feat easily achieved.
From the 90’s to today, NebCo continues to stay on par with the rest of CT, if not a duck feather ahead. NebCo’s tasting room is open Wednesday 3-9PM, Thursday 3-9PM, Friday Noon-9PM, Saturday 11AM-9PM, and Sunday Noon-5PM. They are located at 175 Amity Road in Woodbridge.