Hartford mayor big on beer

Luke Bronin

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin would like to see more breweries in Connecticut’s capital, where two recently opened this summer, joining City Steam Brewing.

“We want as many breweries as we can get,” Bronin said in a phone interview Friday. “We see breweries as catalysts for economic growth, and also as places that add to the livability and fun.”

This summer saw the openings of Hanging Hills Brewing on Ledyard Street and Hog River Brewing on Park Street, just a few miles northwest. Bronin attended both openings.

“Breweries are not just manufacturers of beer, but they are centers of community,” Bronin said.

Bronin alluded to zoning code changes that came into effect recently that allowed for Hanging Hills to serve beer relatively close to an elementary school. He said that such “overhauls” are necessary to continue economic growth.

“It’s important to me that we focus on…not just the big shiny development, but also the things that change the day to day,” he said.

In terms of where new breweries in Hartford might go, Bronin said he’s not biased.  He said he’s open to “any breweries who want to come and be part of the revitalization.”

Statewide, with more than 40 breweries, there’s been talk of a Connecticut beer trail, much like its wine trail, complete with signage. It only exists virtually — you can learn more at CTBeerTrail.net —  but Bronin said he loves the idea.

“For now,” he said, “we’ll focus on the Hartford beer circuit.”

Read my story about the opening of Hanging Hills and Hog River at the Republican-American: BIG TOWN, SMALL BEER.

I Have Sampled This Life: Drinking Beer for Mark Twain

XY Eli Band at the Mark Twain House fundraiser
XY Eli Band at the Mark Twain House fundraiser

Literature breeds imagination, but so does a good buzz. Bring them all together and you have a hell of a fundraiser for one of New England’s best destinations for lovers of stories: The Mark Twain House.

Friday night I had a chance to drink some wonderful local beers at the museum adjacent to Twain’s house, which was the most comfortable setting for a beer-related event I’ve ever experienced.

It was the sixth annual “Tapping Into Twain” Oktoberfest, and it typically raises about $10,000 for the Hartford, Conn., house where Mark Twain lived from 1874 to 1891. There were about 300 people who, like me, wanted a taste of literature with a beer chaser. Continue reading “I Have Sampled This Life: Drinking Beer for Mark Twain”

Connecticut wanderings: RAW cocktails

“Study after Constellations, 1” by Gail Biederman, from her collection, “You & Me, Together & Apart” as displayed at Real Art Ways, Hartford, Conn.
I was looking for beer, of course, and stumbled upon art.

It was on the walls, on the floor, on screens, in a cabin, and walking around in a state of bliss. I wanted to be art, or at least artistic, but settled on drinking it all in. Including the beer, of course.

My buddy Ray Brown, whom you’ve met before, invited me last night to expand our senses at the Hartford, Conn., art gallery and cinema Real Art Ways, which has a “Creative Cocktail Hour” on every third Thursday of the month. I’d heard about it for years and sworn I’d go, but never had. So we remedied that. Continue reading “Connecticut wanderings: RAW cocktails”