If there’s one thing New Haven has in abundance, it’s pizzerias. Craft beer bars are becoming similarly common, but Jeff Browning, master brewer at BAR on Crown Street, doesn’t see the rising popularity of watering holes serving small-label brews to be a bad thing.
“It seems like no matter how many pizzerias come to New Haven, there’s still room for more,” he said. “There’s always room for another craft beer bar and the customers want it.”
With that in mind, several bars in the region are coming together to celebrate the first Greater New Haven Craft Beer Week from Sept. 12-18. There will be dinners paired with beer, tastings from dozens of microbreweries and a grand finale with live blues music and a wide array of drinks.
“I’ve always supported local,” said Browning. “New Haven is the hub for craft beer bars.”
Craft beer, produced by much smaller breweries than the Millers, Budweisers and other big-name players in the alcohol industry, is on the rise beyond New Haven. Browning started commercial brewing 17 years ago, which was a high time for microbreweries. The selections back then weren’t too diverse he said, but the recent years have seen an explosion in popularity.
“[The industry has] always ebbed and flowed, but it’s at a nice flow now,” Browning said.
According to the Brewers Association, a coalition of smaller breweries, craft beers have weathered the recession well. While overall beer in the U.S. were down 1 percent in volume by 2010, growth in the craft brewing industry was 12 percent by dollars and 11 percent by volume. In 2009, that growth was on a similar trajectory.
“People are drinking less and drinking better and that’s the mentality we’re trying to push,” Browning said.
MiKro Beer Bar: 300 Whitney Ave. Hamden.
Dive Bar & Restaurant: 24 Ocean Ave. West Haven.
Delaney’s Tap Room: 882 Whalley Ave., New Haven.
New England Brewing Co.: Based in Woodbridge, this brewery sells at stores and restaurants throughout the state. 7 Selden St. Woodbridge. (203) 387-2222
Prime 16: Tap House + Burgers: 172 Temple St., New Haven
The Cask Republic :179 Crown Street, New Haven.
BruRoom at Bar: 254 Crown Street, New Haven.
Prime 16: Happy hour with half-off drafts from 5-7 p.m. The brewer will be there to answer any question.
The Cask Republic: The eatery’s first-ever beer dinner includes a five course meal pair with five beers for $60. Flying in from the West Coast is the Stone Brewing Company to emcee the event. Reservations can be made by calling (475)238-8335.
BruRoom at BAR: Try Harpoon’s Oyster Stout paired with a fresh oyster tasting from 6-8 p.m.
Prime 16: A huge selection of Sierra Nevada beers will be on available starting at 8 p.m.
Mikro: It’s Oskar Blues night, with beer from the Colorado brewery available.
Dive Bar: New Jersey’s River Hoarse Brewery will be at the bar with a cask beginning at 7 p.m.
BruRoom at BAR: Every Wednesday the bar has offered beer with a different type of hop. Tonight you can try all seven from the previous weeks.
Prime 16: The brewers from Woodbridge’s New England Brewing Company will be at the bar for a tasting at 9 p.m. Their Galaxy Hopped Pale Ale, which was brewed exclusively for the Greater New Haven Craft Beer Week, can be tried.
Mikro: It’s Lagunitas Brewing Company night. Beer from the California brewery will be available, including their Hop Stoopid Ale on tap.
Dive Bar: Casks from Dogfish Head Brewery, the Bluegrass Brewing Company, Blue Point and a surprise local brewery.
Prime 16: The brewer from Maine’s Sebago Brewing will be at happy hour from 5-7 p.m.
MiKro: Tickets are available for a four course beer, cigar and cheese pairing on Thursday. The price is $40 for the beer and cheese and an additional $10 for the cigars. Their number is (203) 553-7676
Dive Bar: Local New England Brewing Company will be coming to the Dive Bar with a cask of beer. The event begins at 7 p.m.
Brew Room at BAR: Blue Point Brewery will have half a dozen beers available, and a charity event in conjunction with News 8 will benefit Alzheimer’s research. From 5:30-9 p.m.
MiKro: Sebago, a Maine brewing company, will be present with their beer in the evening.
New England Brewing Co. An evening of beer and blues begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and Frank Corso will be performing.
Prime 16: It’s IPA day with a selection of the best India Pale Ales available in New Haven,” according to the website.
Delaney’s Tap Room: A four course brunch paired with four beers begins at 11 a.m. Tickets are $40 and the number is (203) 397-5494.
BruRoom at BAR: The grand finale of the week begins at noon. $20 includes a collector glass, two slices of pizza and the first two 10 ounce samples. Additional beer is only $2.50. There will be live music and beer from more than 30 breweries. Tickets can be bought at BAR.