After 3 Years' Planning, West Hartford's First Craft Brewery Opens

New Park Brewing opened to the public March 25 from noon to 10 p.m., becoming the first craft brewery in the town of West Hartford.

The 2,500-square foot brewery and taproom at 485 New Park Ave., has been in the works for about three years, says John Doyle, a co-owner along with Alex Dee and Tom Atkins. The space has indoor seating for 80, and a 400-square-foot outdoor patio with seating for another 30 in warm weather.

New Park will offer four beers on tap at first, Doyle says, including Foliation, an "easy-drinking" American pale ale at 5 percent ABV with New Zealand and American hops; the Cloudbreak IPA with "notes of grapefruit and cantaloupe" at 6.5 percent ABV and Carbon, a 6.5 percent ABV oatmeal porter, with "notes of Belgian chocolate, coffee, toasted oats and a hint of dark cherry." 

The brewery's Hopiary, brewed with oats and wildflower honey, is "the first beer of Alex's that I tried, the day we decided to open a brewery together," Doyle says. The double IPA, at 8 percent ABV, has "flavors of toasty oats, floral honey, tropical fruit and pine needles." 

Beer will be served in 12- and 16-ounce pours and 1-liter growlers to go, and Doyle says New Park plans to offer 5-ounce sample-size tasting glasses soon.

Local food trucks were oon the site for the opening Saturday, including Mercado, which offers a spin on Spanish tapas, and Yardbird & Co., which serves fried chicken sandwiches, steamed buns and a variety of sides. 

New Park is thrilled to finally open its doors, Doyle says. "We've met so many people, because it's taken us so long to get open, and we're just excited to see them all here."

The owners are local residents and have children in town schools, so West Hartford was a natural location for the brewery. Doyle said he's been impressed by the food and beverage scene beyond town limits, though, and is happy to be part of a supportive Connecticut beer industry. 

"West Hartford was key for us because we live here and have so many ties to the community, but I think the whole [Hartford metro] area has a lot of cool stuff happening," he says.

The growing brewery movement in the state has been "great," he says. "I think of it as, a rising tide lifts all boats...the whole community is pretty collaborative."  

New Park Brewing's hours are Fridays, 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays, noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Information: facebook.com/newparkbrewing.

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