Fairfield Craft Ales (FCA), the music-inspired brewery on Honeyspot Road in Stratford whose motto is “Rhythm & Brews,” turns one-year old this Saturday and is ready to party.
The festivities that are open to the public this Saturday, July 8, will run from 1-5:30 pm. During that time, there will be 12 beers on tap (see list below) plus two special casks: Big Me, the brewery’s double IPA and one of its best sellers, has been aged in a cask with habanero peppers; and Dixie Chicken, a British pale ale that FCA calls a “honey BBQ ale,” has been aged on mango and grilled peaches. From 2-5 pm, there will be live music from local musicians Fred & Ethel. From 6-9 pm, there will be a private catered party with the owners that is already sold out, featuring live music from Fairfield’s The Better Half band.
The brewery opened on July 8, 2016, and has been rocking and rolling ever since. The owners are Mike Borruso and Joe Bow of Fairfield. They have released 21 unique beers over the past year, all named after some of their favorite songs. “People like to run through the tap list and try to name all the artists who wrote the songs we’ve named the beers after,” says Borruso.
The Connecticut beer scene being what it is, FCA’s best sellers are IPAs. Topping the charts for this first year in business—by a pretty wide margin—has been Little Darlin’ (song by 60s doo-wop group The Diamonds), a New England IPA double dry-hopped with Citra hops. But FCA tries to appeal to a wide range of tastes, so there are always at least a couple of Belgian-style beers, a very popular brown ale called Brown-Eyed Girl (Van Morrison, of course), a stout or other dark beer, and a few surprises like Dixie Chicken (a Little Feat tune)—a beer that defies established styles and draws rave reviews from customers.
For the uninitiated, FCA is at 724 Honeyspot Road in Stratford (less than a mile away from Two Roads Brewing Company), and its regular hours are 4-9 pm Thursday and Friday, 1-9 pm Saturday, and 1-6 pm Sunday. The tap room currently has 12 taps (up from the 8 the brewery opened with) and holds about 45 people, but Mike and Joe are in the process of expanding it to fit more music and beer fans. Food available for sale includes jerky and beer-infused chips and nuts made by The Drunk Alpaca (which just opened its new store in Shelton). There are pizza delivery menus in the tap room for people who want to order in something more substantial, and anyone is welcome to bring in whatever outside food they want. FCA also sells hard cider and wine for people who don’t like beer but want to hang out with their friends who do.
Small bands and solo acoustic performers perform most Saturdays and some Sundays, there are occasional acoustic jams to which anyone with a guitar is invited to join, and the brewery recently held its first yoga night, which was a huge success. There’s also a Touch Tunes jukebox and many times there are concert videos playing on the TV. Several more fun events are being planned for year two of operations, including music trivia nights, open mic nights, and vinyl record shares, to name a few.
Fairfield Craft Ales also self-distributes kegs to local bars, restaurants, and package stores throughout its local area, including Derby, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Milford, Norwalk, Shelton, and Stratford. It has a website (www.fairfieldcraftales.com) and a strong presence on Facebook (search for Fairfield Craft Ales), Instagram (@fairfieldcraftales), and Twitter (@fairfieldcraft).
The 12 beers (exclusive of the two casks mentioned above) that will be on tap at Fairfield Craft Ales this weekend are:
1. Big Me—doubleIPA with big hop flavor from Centennial, Cascade, and Mosaic hops.
2. Brown-Eyed Girl—light, drinkable brown ale.
3. Divine Thing—Belgian-style tripel with clementine and vanilla bean.
4. Dixie Chicken—British-style pale ale with honey, a hint of cherrywood smoke, and a slight chili pepper sting.
5. Harvest—Belgian-style wit with lemon
6. Little Darlin’—New England-style IPA double dry-hopped with Citra.
7. Live & Let Rye—Rye IPA with piney, spicy hops.
8. My Hero—Easy-drinking, bready, and flavorful pilsner.
9. Snowblind—New England IPA with Azacca hops.
10. Substitute—Single-hop IPA with Centennial.
11. Turn! Turn! Turn!—Saison (Belgian farmhouse ale) with herbs de Provence.
12. Twist & Stout—Easy-drinking chocolate stout aged on cacao nibs.
Can you name all the artists who wrote and/or sang them? The answers are:
1. Big Me, Foo Fighters
2. Brown-Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
3. Divine Thing, The Soup Dragons
4. Dixie Chicken, Little Feat
5. Harvest, Neil Young
6. Little Darlin’, The Diamonds
7. Live & Let Rye, Paul McCartney, Guns N’ Roses (Live & Let Die)
8. My Hero, Foo Fighters
9. Snowblind, Black Sabbath
10. Substitute, The Who
11. Turn! Turn! Turn!, Pete Seeger, The Byrds
12. Twist & Stout, The Top Notes (original), The Isley Brothers, The Beatles (Twist & Shout)
Fairfield Craft Ales, Inc.
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