Tribus means “three” in Latin — or at least that’s what the three friends who cofounded Tribus Beer Co. think. “We looked it up on Wikipedia,” says Sean O’Neill, one of the three co-owners of the Milford brewery, which opened in August 2018.
Have a beer first and worry about details like the meaning of the company’s name later. That’s the laid-back attitude you’ll find at this visitor-friendly brewery. Tribus is also the root for the word “tribe,” and this is a tribe that beer enthusiasts will want to join, or at least visit.
Though located in an out-of-the-way industrial area of town, a trip to Tribus is worth the blind faith in your navigation app that is necessary to find the spot. The brewery’s spacious taproom is wide open with a game room in the back and garage doors that open to a sleek outdoor drinking area. It’s a fun place to come either by yourself or with a large group.
Of course, brewery design means little if the beer doesn’t match up. This beer, as the reader has probably guessed by now, matches up. Co-founders Matt Weichner and Sebastian D’Agostino are former brewers at acclaimed Woodbridge brewery New England Brewing Co., while O’Neill cut his teeth in the brewing industry working at Nantucket’s Cisco Brewery, a personal favorite of mine. The group’s expertise shines in popular IPAs such as the Benji or I Been Juicing, as well as other styles including stouts, sours and pilsners.
The brewery celebrated its one-year anniversary over the summer, but the story of its founding goes back much further. D’Agostino and O’Neill met in second grade at Brookside Elementary School in Norwalk. “We basically ruined the neighborhood from age 7 to 18 in South Norwalk,” O’Neill recalls. But when it came to beer, even in high school the two were connoisseurs. “We wanted to try the new Sam Adams,” O’Neill says. “We just weren’t into products that didn’t have any flavor.”
D’Agostino met Weichner at New England Brewing Co. and introduced him to O’Neill. The three became friends and eventually started planning their own brewery. The wackiness of that friendship can be viewed in the comedy videos the brewery posts to social media on a near-weekly basis. The videos see the three cofounders and other staff members playing historical figures, beer-inspired superheroes and taking on other roles in vignettes inspired by various beers offered at the brewery. The videos are shot and edited by the brewery’s creative director, Will Thresher, who came up with them as a way to capture the team’s goofiness. “Our first few videos were really stupid and raw and kind of uncut,” O’Neill recalls. But people liked and shared them and the team decided to keep going with them, with everyone pitching in with topics. “Some of them make sense, some of them don’t,” O’Neill says. And that’s just fine with the Tribus team.
Tribus Beer Co.
100 Raton Drive, Milford
Hours: Thu. 4-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-10 p.m., Sun. noon-9 p.m.