Winter Warmer Brew Fest on Feb. 28

CsBrewersguildBrewfestComing up on Feb. 28 is the Second Annual Winter Warmer Brew Fest at City Steam Brewery and Cafe in Hartford, Conn.

Advance tickets for the 7-10 p.m. event are $35. Admission includes beer tastes from more than 20 local breweries, plus a cash bar and food from City Steam. You can get them by going to

If they don’t sell out, tickets will be $40 at the door.

The sponsors are CT Beer Trail, City Steam, and the Connecticut Craft Brewers Guild. The Guild is a nonprofit organization that works to increase interest in Connecticut beer by finding ways to attract tourists and promote beer through festivals.

If you have questions, call City Steam at (860) 525-1600. It’s located at 942 Main St., Hartford.

Part of the proceeds from the event will go to the development of the CT Beer Trail destination map and other promotional materials.

RELATED POST: Brew Fest Confessions


Sampling: Relic Brewing

Mark Sigman of Relic Brewery in Plainville, Conn. speaks to a small tour of his nanobrewery. At right is Tony Leone pouring away.
This afternoon I quickly dropped by Relic Brewing, the nanobrewery in Plainville, Conn., that consistently makes delicious, adventuresome beer.

By brewery, I mean Mark Sigman, the brains and muscle behind the operation. He’d recruited blogger and homebrewer Tony Leone as a pourer and describer of beers during his weekly open house, which takes place on Fridays from 1-3. The brewery is a tiny place nestled into a modest industrial space at 95 Whiting Ave., just enough to fit about 10 people or so, which was just about the number of people who were there today.

At this open house I caught something that I hope happens on a regular basis. I saw Craft Brew Guy (@CraftBrewGuy on the Twitters) leading a tour of six other people. He was on his second of possibly three breweries today and his clients were having a blast. They were throwing questions at Mark, who is such a well-spoken guy and kept them informed.

Craft Brew Guy’s idea is wonderful, since it spreads the gopspel of local craft beer and boosts business around the state. He did it right, too: he hired a driver and a big old silver van. I hope to accompany him sometime (hint, hint).

I came away with a bomber of Relic’s Clockwork Session American IPA, which I thought this was an oxymoron. He squeezes so much citrus taste into 5.5 percent that I’m ready to swear off high octane IPAs for good if there are more like these available.

If you get an opportunity to stop by Relic’s open house, please do.

Feel free to read my column from March 2012 about Relic.

Until next time, sip well.

See anything you like? Chances are that during the next open house the selection will be different!


Competition by the bottle

Competitors and judges gather at a homebrew competition at Backstage in Torrington, Conn. Photo by Tony Leone

Homebrewers do three things very well: brew, drink, and enter brew competitions.

Brewers descended upon Backstage in Torrington on August 9 for the second of three rounds of a Backstage/Sierra Nevada Brewing competition.

The final round is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25, also at Backstage.

The first round drew 35 entries, and round 2 competitors were made up of nine from the top 12 from round 1 and three from an “open” category, explained Stephen Raimondi, a certified beer judge and one of the judges for the compeititions. Brewers submitted 12-ounce bottles for judgement.

Continue reading “Competition by the bottle”