6 Must-Try Connecticut IPAs or Sours

From sour beers to wild-yeast beers brewed with spontaneous fermentation, and double IPAs with imported hops to farmhouse ales with Connecticut-grown ingredients, the state's beer scene is a whole lot more interesting than it was even a few years ago. Some of my favorite Connecticut beers are listed below. Each is an excellent example of creative brewing at its tart and/or bitter best. 

Hobbit Juice

Beer’d Brewing Co., Stonington

​Style: Double IPA

We’d brave the darkest depths of Mordor for this beer. Made with New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops, this is brewer and owner Aaren Simoncini’s favorite beer in his lineup. It’s hard to argue with him. The Sauvin hops give the beer a subtle bitterness, which allows you to soak up the aromas the hop provides, creating a beer with crisp fruit, floral and white wine characteristics.

Tempus

OEC Brewing Co., Oxford

Style: SourIn reality this one-of-a-kind beer is made from three different beers all barrel aged and then blended together. The result is an in-your-face sour that has intense tartness and some subtle earthiness that all blends together in a refreshing wine-like beer. Each blend of Tempus is designed to be different from the last, but still recognizable as Tempus. Every blend so far has been delicious.

Crimsang

Stony Creek Brewery, Branford

Style: Sour Double IPAA Belgian take on the brewery’s Big Cranky Double IPA. Made with fresh blood orange juice and the brewery’s house saison yeast strain, this soured beer emerges as an aggressive West Coast IPA with a tart dry finish that is as refreshing as it is unusual. Part of the brewery’s “Flip the Bird” rotating draft-only series, this beer is generally available spring through summer.

Coriolis

New England Brewing Co., Woodbridge

Style: Double IPAThere are plenty of excellent options when it comes to great IPAs from New England Brewing Co. G Bot and Fuzzy Baby Ducks are both standouts, as is the more widely available Sea Hag. However, after trying all four at once during a recent tasting, Coriolis was the highlight. Made, like Hobbit Juice, with Nelson Sauvin hops, this beer has big, fruity flavors and lots of hops, but isn’t overpowering in its bitterness. Now available in limited-release cans, this beer is worth seeking out.

Waymaker

Kent Falls Brewing Co., Kent

Style: Brett IPAThis IPA fermented with undomesticated Brettanomyces yeast creates fruity, tropical flavors, against a backdrop of funk and earthy barnyard notes. It’s an excellent beer-drinker’s beer and a great example of several styles coming together seamlessly in a glass.

Tropicale IPA

Relic Brewing Co., Plainville

Style: IPAThis IPA is made with orange blossom honey and a blend of aromatic, citrusy hops. The result is a relatively light IPA with a distinct, but not over-the-top, flavor of honey that makes this beer intriguing, refreshing and perfect for easy-drinking evenings.

is the author of Buzzed: Beers, Booze, & Coffee Brews — Where to Enjoy the Best Craft Beverages in New England. He is always happy to talk craft beer with other enthusiasts. Email him at eofgang@connecticutmag.com or on Twitter @erikofgang

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