On Monday I did a recap of the Connecticut Wine Trail Festival! It was so much fun to try so many different, unique wines that day…but once it was over, we weren’t done trying new drinks for the day…! We had committed to celebrating a friend’s birthday later that night, so we had to leave the wine festival around 5 in order to make it in time for dinner & drinks. Where did they pick to celebrate? The Willimantic Brewing Company. So after a day filled with wine tastings, we headed to the brewery for dinner & beers. Good thing the saying goes, “liquor before beer, you’re in the clear!”
I tweeted & posted on facebook about going to Willibrew (what a cute name–although I’m sure they weren’t aiming for “cute” when they thought it up :), and got some positive reactions from beer fans, so I was excited to see what they had to offer.
Dinner was delicious–I went for a classic NY strip steak with mashed potatoes. We had heard that they had excellent pub food, and they certainly delivered! I love steak, and they cooked it perfectly for me. I think steak & potatoes are the perfect pairing for most beers. :)
The real highlight was the beer, though. As the name implies, they brew their own beer. The building actually used to be a post office. It’s a gorgeous building, and the inside has two sides–the dinner side, and the bar side. I like that they are in completely separate areas. The cool thing is that they also support other local breweries by offering many other local beers on tap. I love it when local businesses support one another!
I didn’t feel like drinking much after tasting so many wines earlier that day, but I also wanted to try as many different beers as I could…so I ordered a beer flight! You get to choose five 4 oz samples. I asked the waitress to pick for me–I’m no expert when it comes to beer, but I know that I like it. :) I told her I only wanted beers that Willbrew made, and that I enjoyed dark, heavier beers that aren’t too bitter. She did a great job picking out my flight!
The first beer was the Workingman’s Wheat. Although I generally enjoyed this unfiltered beer, it seemed to have a little bit of a metallic aftertaste. It was a nice lighter beer to start off the flight.
Next up was the “Salacious” brew. It reminded me a lot of one of the Relic beers I got to try at the J.Timothy’s CT Bloggers event. It had a hint of lavender & honey, which I really liked. It’s the kind of beer I would enjoy for one pint, but then I’d have to switch to something a little less sweet. While beers that pack in a lot of flavor are nice, I find that it can be overwhelming by the end of glass.
The next beer was my favorite–the Saison Noir. This brew was incredibly smooth and full-bodied, with a slight hint of chocolate. It was really delicious. If I had been up for it, I definitely would have had the noir for the rest of the night!
After that was the Downtown Willi India Dark Ale. It was very hoppy, which can usually be hit or miss when it comes to my personal tastes. It was pretty good, but I had trouble finishing this one. It was just a bit too hoppy for me! I had never heard of an “IDA” before. Anyone know much about the difference between an IPA & an IDA? Is that even a “thing” outside of Willibrew?
Last on the flight was the Anytown, U.S.A. ASB, which is an unfiltered American Special Bitter (hence the ASB part in the name). This was another smooth beer. Definitely lighter than the Noir & IDA, but still really enjoyable. I liked it the best out of the “lighter” beers in my flight because it was a bit more full-bodied.
After dinner, we hung out in the bar side of the building. It wasn’t a loud, boisterous clientele–just people who love beer enjoying it with friends. I can get down with that! I am a fan of laid-back hangouts.
Overall, I really enjoyed the food, brews, and atmosphere at Willibrew.
Have you ever been to Willibrew? What was your experience like? Favorite beer?
What kind of bar atmosphere do you like? Loud with dancing? Live music? Chill & laid back?
What’s your perfect meal to pair with a beer?