Brewery Name: Kent Falls Brewing Company
Type of Brewery: Production Brewery
Location: 33 Camps Rd, Kent, CT. If you’re coming from Route 202, don’t take Gunn Hill Road. Instead, turn onto Sawyer Hill Road, then hang a right on Camps Road when you get to what feels like the top of a mountain. From there, you can’t miss it. Be forewarned: the roads are a little narrow and treacherous, but the payoff is tremendous.
Facebook: Kent Falls Brewing
Background: Kent Falls Brewing Company is a local staple in Connecticut, but they only opened their brewery to the public a few months ago. Each Saturday, from noon to 4:00 pm, the brewery opens its doors to sell beer to the public (don’t worry, though--they have a robust distribution network in the region, so you don’t need to scramble to get there for a shot to taste their beer!) and even offer a couple of farm tours. The brewery is located on a beautiful farm property, and the brewers go out of their way to emphasize their respect for the land. They are passionate about what they do, and it should come as no surprise that farmhouse ales are their specialty.
Growlers: No. Kent Falls sells bottles on-site, but you won’t be able to get growlers (or samples, for that matter).
The Beers: When I came by, Kent Falls had listed three available beers on their website: Farmer’s Table, Lade Øl, and Sweatpants. When I arrived, I was thrilled to learn that there was a fourth beer available: Fleur de la Mort, a wild ale, which is a style that I generally love. I also went out of my way to acquire a fifth beer, Solstice, when I saw it in a nearby store. All in all, I think these beers offer a solid glimpse into Kent Falls and what they do.
Vibe: I find myself in Litchfield, CT every so often, and this time I decided to poke around and see what local breweries were in the area. As soon as I stumbled upon Kent Falls, I was sold. Kent Falls is located in rural Connecticut, at the end of some of the steepest, windiest roads you’ll ever see, depositing you practically on top of a mountain. And it’s serene.
I’ve written before about the difficulty in judging production breweries: the goal is usually to get you in and out with your beer as quickly as possible, so what criteria do you really grade them on? Well, Kent Falls makes it incredibly easy. The very first thing you see when you get out of the car is the beautiful pond across the street. Yup, even at this elevation, you can still find ponds in New England. It’s beautiful. Then you’re treated to a beautiful view of the farm and its many buildings as you walk up the dirt path to the brewery itself.
Since Kent Falls is a little out of the way, you don’t have to fight through the crowds that production breweries often attract, either. This gives you time to enjoy your surroundings (and you will enjoy them) and talk to the brewers about their beer. The facility is extremely well maintained, and the backdrop of shining silver tanks serves as an excellent reminder that there’s more beer yet to come from these guys.
After buying a few bottles, I took a few minutes to wander around the immediate area. We were a little too early for a farm tour, which was too bad, but even just the area around the main building itself is gorgeous. You can see a nice little relaxation area with a few benches and a fire pit, you can see a chicken coop with a flock of chickens nestled inside, and you can get a fantastic view over the rest of the farm property off in the distance. It’s not your traditional "sit and have a few beers" vibe. Instead, it’s your "sit and stare and think about how beautiful all of this is" vibe.
Dogs: There is a sign on the brewery workshop that says “no dogs,” and it’s unclear whether this applies to just the workshop or the farm as a whole. Since the brewery is located on a farm, there are animals all around, including chickens. If you can’t trust your dog to behave around farm animals, I’d say leave him at home as a courtesy.
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$. I was actually shocked at how affordably Kent Falls prices their beers. For beer of this quality bottled so nicely, I was expecting to pay upwards of $10 a bottle. Not so! The beers I purchased started at just $4 and went only as high as $7. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be a massive understatement!
Food: No, but there’s a caveat here. Kent Falls is a production brewery, so their goal is primarily to get you in and out with your beer as quickly as possible. There’s no bar, no way to sample beers, and definitely no kitchen. That said, the brewery is on a farm, and they are only too happy to sell you some of the farm’s offerings. If you want to buy a whole chicken, they’ve got you covered. On a more interesting note, they also sometimes offer homemade cheeses that have been washed in their beer. As I’m writing this, I really regret not leaving with some.
Final Thoughts: It’s hard to imagine how a production brewery could be much better. Kent Falls offers amazing beer, an amazing property, and amazing views. The beer is affordable. The people are friendly. It’s just a great place to be. It’s a shame that the brewery is open to the public for such a limited amount of time each week, but that’s all the more reason to make sure you stop by if you’re in the area on a Saturday. Pop in and grab a few bottles--you’ll surely be glad you did.
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