State Highlight
A Visit to Connecticut's Breweries

With the holidays over and the cold in full force in the New England area, many people are looking to get creative when thinking of things to do.  Breaking into the new year, after being locked down for most of 2020, has people more excited than ever to get out and experience something new.  Yet, trying to strike a balance between fun, safety, warmth, and adventure creates a very specific formula that does not yield a lot of options.  But it does yield one that's safer on the list: breweries.

A quick scroll through Instagram and it doesn’t take long to see they are the place to be.  Due to the equipment needed, and the initial intention to gather large sums of people, most offer open interiors and exteriors with plenty of room to stay socially distant while enjoying a local brew with no more than six of your closest friends. 

The question then becomes, which ones are worth the adventure?  The hospitality and restaurant industry have ramped up their ambiance and offerings to create a destination worthy of the trip.  Breweries are utilizing design to take the experience beyond drinking beer at a picnic table.  Each are looking to draw in users with tantalizing spaces unique to their brand that elicit a lighthearted emotion. Below are a handful of highlights of a few that Connecticut has to offer.


NewSylum Brewing: Uniquely located inside a former psychiatric facility, they need no further draw.  The abandoned historic building located on the Fairfield Hills Hospital campus took 2 ½ years to renovate.  Capitalizing on the 26-foot ceilings and 12-foot-tall windows, the once creepy structure now holds a regal ambiance that sheds light on the Vermont Danby marble walls.


Two Roads Brewing Company: Designed by a native Connecticut architecture firm, the 104,000 sq. ft. space was renovated from a historic brick factory building into a craft brewery.  The highlight of the space is the glass-enclosed tasting room, hoisted on the mezzanine above to overlook the entire brewing process.


New Park Brewing: Listed amongst the top 5 Best Breweries in CT, they have recently expanded to include what they call The Barrel Room.  The restored space serves as an extension of their current taproom keeping those in it feeling connected to the main brew house through open views.  These sightlines also cut through the barrel aging vault, giving guests a glimpse into their process.


Kent Falls Brewing: Deeming themselves as a ‘farm brewery’, they take pride in drawing inspiration from the 50 acre farm the brewery resides on. Caring for the land that fuels them, sustainability is the basis of their design, including the use of solar energy and a nutrient waste management plan.  Leaving no element unused, they even repurposed old chain links from the dairy barn as their taps.
* At the moment, Barn Beer Pick Up available only, but check back for taproom opening schedule.

Interested in reading more? Check out this website, highlighting even more of the destination breweries in Connecticut.


Be sure to check in with the IIDA New England calendar for upcoming virtual events offered in our community. Here's a sneak peek at some upcoming events:






Did you know that according to the Connecticut Brewer's Guild, as of 2020, the Connecticut beer scene boasts more than 110 operational breweries, with many more in planning. 

 Check out the list of IIDA New England Emerging Leaders Class of 2020!

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