Sometime in June, a new micro-brewery and taproom is scheduled to open up at what its owners believe is a "strategic location right off the highway" in East Windsor.
The Broad Brook Brewery will be housed in a 5,000-square-foot building at Sophia's Plaza, very close to Exit 45 off I-91 and the junction of Route 140 and Route 5, about mid-way between Hartford and Springfield.
"There's nothing like it between Hartford and Holyoke or Northampton," says Eric Mance, one of the three guys who are looking to make the big jump from home-brewing to a pro-style operations capable of producing tens of thousands of gallons of beer and ale a year.
Mance says he and his partners, Tom Rossing and Joe Dealba, have been perfecting their beers and ales for more than five years now and winning multiple prizes at national competitions.
"About two years ago, we decided we had something [special] and we should go for it," Mance explains.
And they're not planning on doing it half way.
Their website lists no less than 13 different brews. Those include Broad Brook Ale, which the owners describe as having "Rich copper color with caramel malt character balanced by a nice hop aroma," to Chocolate Oatmeal Stout ("A fragrant blend of oats, chocolate and roast malts along with 100% pure cocoa make up this classic British-Style Oatmeal Stout," according to the website).
The list also has four "seasonal" brews: Rhino Red Ale, which will be available January through April; Oktoberfest Ale, which (as you might expect) will be ready for the September-November period; 6 Balls Alt, also for that September-November stretch; and Homewrecker Holiday Ale, a dangerous-sounding concoction scheduled for release November through February.
They've also got plans for two "limited edition" beers, Halloween Honey Brown Ale and Robust Porter. According to the website, these will be "out-of-the-box creations... You never know what you're going to get."
Broad Brook Brewery's partners come from diverse backgrounds: Mance, a Stafford resident, is involved in his family's printing business and also has a computer consulting firm going. Rossing, who lives in East Windsor, works as a contract roofer. And Dealba, another Stafford dude, is a driver for a big East Hartford liquor distributor.
Mance says the three started getting serious about their brewing in 2011 and began entering competitions and contests, winning plenty of ribbons along the way.
Without a brewer's license, the three "couldn't sell a drop of it" to people, no matter how much their friends asked, according to Mance. There was so much demand for their beer they finally agreed to make the investment and jump into the professional micro-brewery game.
The plans for the taproom now call for using 1,100 square feet for a space able to seat as many as 43 customers. Mance says they are also talking with local restaurants and hope to work up relationships that would make it easy for taproom customers to have food like pizza delivered to enjoy with their brews.
If all goes right, it sounds like there will be plenty of beer and ale to go around.
"Our first-year goal," Mance says proudly, "is to brew 31,000 gallons."