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What: With one brewpub, a few breweries in the region, and a handful of quality beer bars, New Haven doesn’t have the biggest local-craft-beer scene, but a discerning drinker can easily find the good stuff if he or she knows where to look. Aside from the house microbrews at the Brü Room at Bar, no beer is produced in New Haven itself, but a few breweries are close enough to count. Chief among them is New England Brewing Co., based out of nearby Woodbridge, about 15 minutes away.
Where: Elsewhere we call attention to its creative New Haven-style pizza, but the Brü Room at Bar (254 Crown St., map)—the decidedly lower-key sister to Bar the nightclub—is just as much known for its house-brewed beers. Not coincidentally, they pair together perfectly.
When: Mon-Tues, 4pm-1am; Wed-Sun, 11:30am-1am
Order: The bar usually pours its four signature beers—Toasted Blonde, AmBar Ale, Pale Ale, Damn Good Stout—and one seasonal, so your best bet is to start with a sampler flight ($8.50) and see what you like. We most enjoyed the crisp, refreshing pale ale and malty, full-bodied stout, but the rotating specialty ales are often worthy too—in the past they’ve included an Indian dark ale, an espresso stout, and good American IPAs. Helpfully, you can order beers as half pints ($3), pints ($5.50), or pitchers ($15). Ask if head brewer Jeff Browning is around if you want to talk beer, or get spot-on recommendations for beer-pizza pairings.
Alternatively: Unless you are down to visit New England Brewing Co.’s brewery (7 Selden St., Woodbridge, map)—and you can; just call or email them first—for a wider selection of area beers you’ll have to hit some bars. Among the best on the craft-beer front is Prime 16 (172 Temple St., map) downtown, which usually carries some New England Brewing Co. on its 20 rotating taps, alongside a host of other craft brews from the Northeast. Stop in on Mondays for $3 beers at happy hour or Wednesdays for free tastings from featured breweries. Lounge-y pub The Cask Republic (179 Crown St., map) is another sure bet for a few NEBCo beers—that is, among its 53 taps, one cask, and 80-plus bottles, all quality craft brews from the U.S. and Europe, including Belgians—while at Delaney’s Taproom & Restaurant (882 Whalley Ave., map), in addition to NEBCo, we’ve spied Connecticut breweries City Steam (of Hartford) and Cavalry (of Oxford) on the extensive draft menu, which likewise spans the U.S. and Europe.
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