With wood-fired pizzas, burgers made with local grass-fed beef, and cheese and charcuterie boards, Broad Brook Brewing is becoming a northern Connecticut destination for its food just as much as its beer.
But the brewery’s June 2020 opening, more than four years in the making, was preceded by a roller coaster of events. In 2016, Broad Brook’s owners, Eric Mance and Tom Rossing, announced a move across the Connecticut River, leaving their original East Windsor location to construct a new building just north of Bradley International Airport. Construction problems caused extended delays, putting the building far behind schedule — and as they finally prepared to open in March last year, the pandemic hit, shuttering state taprooms for months.
From the very beginning, Mance spoke excitedly about plans for an on-site kitchen in Suffield, with specialty pizzas, cheese and charcuterie boards, sandwiches and snacks. COVID-related delays further pushed back the kitchen’s timeline, but it finally debuted in September, three months after the brewery first opened its doors. Word got out quickly, Mance says. “We’ve been swamped, busy like you wouldn’t believe.”
Broad Brook brought in executive chef Derek Andersen, whose extensive resume includes pizza experience with Max Restaurant Group’s Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar. Mance says he wanted “fresh food with the best ingredients,” and opted not to put in a fryolator, instead focusing on wood-fired cooking and grilled items.
The brewery’s brick oven, which runs at about 900 degrees, turns out thin-crust 12-inch pies. Red-sauce pizzas include traditional cheese and pepperoni, “supreme” with house fennel sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion and pepper; and “sweet heat” with hot and sweet sopressata, pepper relish and hot honey. White pizzas include a Bianco, with fior di latte, ricotta, herbs and garlic oil, and “drunken swine,” with beer cheese, fontina, bacon, caramelized red onion and roasted garlic aioli.
Burgers are made with Broad Brook Beef meat (located in East Windsor, the brewery’s former hometown) and served on Hartford Baking Co. brioche buns with toppings like bacon, blue cheese and blistered jalapeños. The bakery’s bread is also used for a pesto chicken sandwich and grilled cheeses, including a “jalapeño popper” version on peasant sourdough with peppers, cream cheese, aged cheddar and bacon. Gluten free pizza crust is available, as well as a gluten-free bun for sandwiches.
Artisanal cheese and salumi boards are served with beer mustard, preserves, pickles, crackers and other accompaniments, and beer chili, with ground beef braised in Broad Brook ale, is available by the cup or bowl.
Without a fryer, Andersen puts a wood-fired spin on the brewery’s wings, which are charred in the brick oven and served with honey sriracha, smoked maple barbecue or house buffalo sauces. Cauliflower, also roasted in the oven, is presented with lemon aioli, arugula and radicchio. Fresh salads, mixed nuts and marinated olives round out the snack options.
“I didn’t want it to be typical pub food fare. I wanted it to be more fresh, and change with the seasons,” Mance says. The brewery’s proximity to local farms will help with that mission, he adds.
The kitchen crew also likes to experiment with beer-infused food, incorporating a gingerbread beer into a dessert around the holidays and a chocolate raspberry stout into cannoli around Valentine’s Day. Beer has ended up in salad dressings, and as a braising liquid for pulled pork sandwiches. In the future, they’d like to offer more beer and food pairings and special dinners.
All of the food items are available for takeout, along with growlers and cans of Broad Brook’s wide variety of brews: IPAs, pale and brown ales, porters, stouts and Berliner Weisse sours in several fruit flavors.
Broad Brook Brewing Co.
915 South St., Suffield