Not all of my sightseeing includes historical places. I like to mix the “serious” with fun. After touring the Twain and Stowe houses we headed to the Olde Burnside Brewing Company located in East Hartford, Connecticut. The website states that tours are available by appointment. Even before I arrived I had a feeling that this establishment was quite laid back. When I called to make an appointment I got the feeling that this tour would either be a complete waste of time or fantastic. I warned my travel companion not to expect too much or anything since the person I spoke with didn’t even take my name or anything when setting up the appointment.
We arrived and found out that the brewery is part of the Burnside Ice Company, founded in 1911.
We could find the ice guy, but we couldn’t get into the brewery. The ice guy, who turned out to be the owner, led us through the office of the brewery to the back of the building. The office area was in complete disarray. This made me nervous. The owner informed Ryan, our host that we had arrived.
We were 20 minutes early and I fully expected to wait. However Ryan went right into his monologue. At first I was put off. Then he figured out that my companion is a beer lover. This warmed his heart and he really opened up. As it turns out, this young man quit a higher paying job to do something that he loves, making beer. He shared many helpful tips with us about home brewing while we sampled some of the brewery’s beer. Their Scottish beers are best when served cold so we stood in the cold room enjoying several of their brews. All of them were enjoyable, however the Dirty Penny, which is a black and tan, was my favorite.
We ended up talking with Ryan for over an hour and learned much from him about the beers, the company including the ice and beer businesses, which has been family owned for the past century, the owner, who will wear kilts and who plays the bagpipes sometimes, and home brewing. If you are a beer lover and not caught up with ceremony I would suggest this place. They are in the process of creating a bigger tasting room, which Ryan said may be open by September 2011.