Brewery Name: Aspetuck Brew Lab
Type of Brewery: Retail Brewery
Location: 3389 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06605. The tap room is located right in the heart of Bridgeport's historic Black Rock neighborhood.
Facebook: Aspetuck Brew Lab
Twitter: @Maltmaster1 (Founder and Chief Beer Scientist)
Background: The first new brewery in Bridgeport, CT since 1940 (until recently, Connecticut brewers were the victims of some outrageously arcane brewing laws in the state), Aspetuck is named after the river from which they draw the water for their beer. The brewery’s co-founder and Chief Beer Scientist, Peter Cowles, was a long time homebrewer who won so many contests for his beer (and even his mead and cider) that he eventually decided to make it his living. Along with his wife, Tara, they have made Aspetuck a popular beer destination since the tap room first opened its doors last year.
Growlers: Yep. Aspetuck offers their beer in both 32 oz and 64 oz growlers.
The Beers: When I stopped by, there were seven beers on tap in a variety of different styles. As someone who really loves trying new and exciting types of beer, I was pretty happy to see that. Even within the pale ale style, there are a few different options, and I’m guessing that you’ll be greeted with a great selection of varied beers anytime you stop by. Here’s what was pouring when I arrived:
Vibe: I’m a huge fan of the vibe of this place. The tap room is gorgeous, with an awesome metal bar and barback, awesome branded artwork on the walls, and (most importantly of all) seven full taps. The fact that they can offer not just tasters, but half-pours and full-pours as well is a welcome sight. After seeing so many breweries in my home state of New Hampshire hamstrung by brewery laws prohibiting full pours in any place without a kitchen, it was nice to see another state coming around.
That’s not to say that Connecticut is a bastion of beer freedom--while there, we heard the brewer remarking on the fact that Connecticut used to mandate that all breweries had to give away free samples. Not exactly an ideal way to to business. In fact, it’s only recently that the laws have loosened enough to allow a small brewery like Aspetuck Brew Lab to open a tap room like theirs, and I couldn’t be more excited that they they.
The staff was extremely friendly and more than happy to talk about their beer, which was outstanding. It’s amazing to see a relatively new brewery hit the ground running as well as Aspetuck clearly has--in fact, earlier in the day I was in a liquor store and saw a sign advertising that yes, they do, in fact, carry Aspetuck kegs. It’s pretty clear that not only do I love Aspetuck’s beer, but so does the community at large.
Oh--and one more thing. Aspetuck is incredibly accommodating when it comes to food allergies. No one could reasonably expect a brewery to make accommodations for people with gluten allergies--after all, they make beer, and beer is just a giant gluten bomb. But Aspetuck does! Not only do they offer cider for non-beer drinkers, but they have a variety of wines to choose from as well. As someone who has dragged his gluten-intolerant girlfriend to more than a few breweries, I HUGELY appreciated their sensitivity to the fact that not everyone can drink their beer, but a lot of people might still want to check out their space. Huge props.
I would have happily spent another hour there if I didn’t need to hit the road. Fortunately, Aspetuck’s growler’s are reasonably priced, and I happily walked away with a 32 oz growler of beer.I.am to share with a few friends back home. This is a brewery that seems to be turning out new and exciting beers at a pretty decent pace, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s on tap the next time I come through town!
Dogs: Hard to say for sure. I didn’t see any dogs while I was there, and they keep the tap room pretty immaculately clean.
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$. Tasters are just $2, and they also offer half-pints and pints, all of which remain pretty reasonably priced. Growlers are reasonably priced, too.
Food: No food (at least not beyond some bags of chips and other snacks), but they invite you to bring in your own. They have an impressive stack of local menus behind the counter, which they’ll be more than happy to let you browse and order from.
Final Thoughts: Outstanding beer and a really cool tap room. Friendly staff. Reasonable prices. And I’ve never seen a brewery so dedicated to making sure everyone who enters has a positive experience--even those who can’t drink their beer! I’m incredibly impressed at both the quality and quantity of fantastic beer that Aspetuck is brewing, and I’m really excited to see how they move forward.
Drink With Us
Three friends. Three corners of the country. One passion for beer.
Heady Topper. Focal Banger. What Could Be Better than a Trip to The Alchemist?
The Hills Are Alive (with Incredible Beer) at von Trapp Brewing
Get Out of the City and Into Woods Beer Co.