Suds On The Streets In The Town Of New Haven

Craig Gilbert PhotoLet’s see ... The Math ... Thirteen stops. A 5-ounce sample glass filled with 2 ounces—OK maybe 3 ounces—of craft beer at every stop. Thirteen stops. Upwards of 20 beers to sample. That’s 60 ounces. Or like downing a 40 and a double-deuce. In 2 hours.

No wonder they put all the stops within a few blocks of Orange and Chapel. Would you want to walk miles with all that in you?

At least that seemed like the right math.

In any case, it was the right route for a beer pilgrimage.

I took that route through the Ninth Square district Friday night along with 250 other thirsty pilgrims. The Town Green Special Services District brought us together and led the way. It was one of the group‘s monthly first-Friday night themed “On9” parties. This month’s bash: a craft-beer crawl called “BrewOn9.” Thirteen different Ninth Square businesses opened their doors to walking/teetering, wrist-banded patrons. Each stop held a bevy of beer brands from local breweries, with volunteers pouring suds to sample.

Did I mention there was beer? Each beer for sampling was from small area breweries and home-brewers. And each beer was an example of integrity to taste. No watered-down, robot brew. No corporate beer entities pimping their latest pub pablum. Just regular folks with a passion for beer, both making it and drinking it.

The sold-out event started with a check-in point at The Grove on Orange Street. Event organizers had a set of rules to follow.

Number 18 may explain why so many local storefronts participated.

Town Green’s Daisy Abreu (pictured) and crew got ready for the onslaught of brewery fiends. After getting clearance, ID Wristbands and a wee, event-branded mug for getting yo’ drink on (if a 2-ounce pour is considered “drinkin’”), throngs of folks peered at their tour maps and pondered the major inquiry of the evening: Do we follow the numerical order on the map? Or just say, “screw the map” and run rabid through the streets hitting whatever stops we want?

Watching a whole mess of people walking the streets with tiny little beer mugs was actually amusing.

Ben Siegel and Jon Charest of the Taft Brewing Company started the brew-down and repp’ed up front for all the home brewers out there. Hollah!

Having the tour circle back and around through just a few blocks the Orange Street/Chapel Street area both was convenient and showed forethought. Y’see, first, you didn’t have to walk far for each sample. Second, and more important ... The Math.

The throngs at Bentara waited for their three-way: samples from Two Roads brewery, City Steam and Back East brewing.

The philosophical question of the Brew On9 evening: Is the glass half full, half empty, or…  HEY!! Who drank my beer?!?

Yes! A well-deserved and oh-so-needed oasis in the midst of this fermented wasted-land: The awesome food spread at Reynolds Gallery. A big cheer for cheese!

It was a virtual cattle corral in the Elm City Market. One way in, same way out and good beers to make you stay for a while. Whew, doggy.

Along the designated route, faces spotted at one stop were seen sipping at the next. Bland smiles at one beer pit-stop turned into nods and grins at the next. Soon, conversations perked up and comparisons were exchanged. Who liked what and whose beer was better took over as the main topic of discussion. From Yolande’s Bistro on Orange, down to Project Storefronts on Chapel then over to Olde School Saloon on State, gaggles of beer fans and craft beer “noobs” sampled, shared and smiled.

Andy Orefice, a home-brewer from New Haven, not only brought two of his beers with him for the sharing; he also supplied the interested with the recipes for each brew. Oh yeah ... he had peanuts, too.

No, the picture ishn’t blurry. Sh-erioushly, I’m fine. Really, I am. I’m okay. Sh-erioushly, I’m good.

Wanna get a pizza? I’m hungry.

Wanna keep up with future On9 Friday events? Check here.

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posted by: robn on May 6, 2013  9:01am

Maybe the best NHI title ever.