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SAVOR Brewery Profile: Willimantic Brewing Company

Name: Willimantic Brewing Company

Location: Willimantic, Connecticut

Type: Brewpub

Available in DC Market: No

What you need to know: Not too often do you hear about breweries or brewpubs from Connecticut. In fact, before learning about Willimantic Brewing Company, I would be hard pressed to name a brewery in Connecticut. Maybe that’s a geographic failing on my part. I guess I picked a good one to be my first one, because Willimantic was named the Connecticut brewpub of the year in 2010, according to their website. In any event, David and Cindy Wollner started their Main Street Cafe in 1991. No beer in the story yet. Sit tight. Three years later, after outgrowing the original space, they moved down the street to a new location that could house a bigger restaurant. Finally, one more move put them in a space that was big enough to also house a seven barrel system. It is on this system that they continue to produce a variety of house-brewed beers. They also have a number of guest beers, many of them from New England breweries.

Beer #1: Victorian Neighbor Ale

Notes: This “tribute to the wonderful Victorian homes in Willimantic” is an amber beer with with Vienna, pilsener, Munich, and aromatic malts and Spalt hops. Seems like this is a cross-style offering that should be easy drinking at 5.7% with some toffee and caramel flavors.

Beer Advocate: B- (1 lonely review)
Rate Beer: N/A (not enough ratings)

Beer #2: Downtown Willi India Dark Ale

Notes: Ah, the Black IPA. The American-style Porter. The Cascadian Dark Ale, for those fantasy secessionist universe enthusiasts out there. This is Willimantic’s rendition of the style that took the world by storm last year. Six malt “flavors” according to the website and robustly hopped with Perle and Magnum. Impossible with black IPAs to say how they are, most examples I’ve seen aren’t really balanced. They are intensely hoppy, then intensely malty, with little in the middle to transition from one to the other. If you’re a fan of the style, try this one out, but I’ve got little insight to offer unfortunately.

Beer Advocate: B+ (7 reviews)
Rate Beer: 88 overall, 40 style

Summary: Connecticut beer. Who woulda thunk it? I’ll be stopping by to try the suds from the Nutmeg State and to get a taste of this Victorian Neighbor Ale to see which style it really falls into. Are you from Connecticut? Had these beers before? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2011 SAVOR participants.

Beer Review Disclaimer: The beer reviews found on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer do not represent the opinions of this site. We provide these in the hope that they will serve as a resource showing what some craft beer fans have thought of the beers. These reviews can be a helpful guideline, but are not the be-all end-all about a beer’s strengths or weaknesses.

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