Brewery Profile: New England Brewing Co.

by Kevin on June 15, 2011

They have aged their Double IPA in tequila barrels, they have infused their Russian Imperial Stout with cherry vanilla, and they are currently aging, their Belgian Strong Pale Ale in chardonnay barrels, but how many of you craft beer enthusiasts out there have heard of the New England Brewing Company before reading this post?

The roots of the company date back all the way to 1989 in South Norwalk, CT where current owner Rob Leonard once worked as a brewer.  Previous owners Dick and Marsha King unsuccessfully expanded their brewery to new markets and suffered financial issues.  In 2001, they sold the rights to the company to Rob, which he then moved the brewery to Woodbridge, CT. Equipped with a 15-barrel brewing system Rob decided that canning his beer would be the best option to provide a quality product to the consumer.  We all have seen the latest can craft beer trend, but in 2002 how many small craft breweries were out there canning their beer?

They currently brew about 2,000 barrels of beer a year with a capacity of 3,500 barrels. The majority of them are canned by hand two at a time.  Back in January 2009, they were issued a Cease and Desist order from Lucasfilm Ltd over their Imperial Stout Trooper beer.  Lucasfilm claimed New England used an ‘Unauthorized’ image of a ‘Stormtrooper’ on their beer label.  I applaud New England Brewing for re- designing their 2010 label by placing fake glasses and a mustache over the helmet of the Stromtrooper.

New England Brewing Co is made up of two full time employees Rob and Matt Westfall and several volunteers.  Together they have brewed several different styles of beer over the last few years:

An American IPA, American Double IPA, American Pale Wheat Ale, American Amber, American Strong Ale, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, English Barleywine, German Pilsner, Russian Imperial Stout, and a Scotch Ale just to name a few.

The craft beer scene in CT may be tiny compared to other markets around the country, but it is growing. I believe it is their innovative thinking and passion for the industry that will help Rob and Matt grow and become a well known production brewery across the nation.  I am looking forward to trying their future Belgian Quad and any other new beer they produce.

If you are in New Haven, CT area and looking for a good beer, stop by the New England Brewing Company for a growler fill.  You won’t be disappointed.

Cheers,
Kevin

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