Ed Silva's beer-making journey began on his 25th birthday, when his wife bought him a home brewing kit. More than a dozen years later in December 2016, the lifelong Waterbury native would open Lasting Brass Brewing in the historic Old Pin Shop building on the Waterbury/Oakville border.
"I kept educating myself on how to make better beer, the science behind it," Silva says. "Still, to this day, I'm learning things."
The brewery's name refers to the city of Waterbury's motto, "Quid Aere Perennius," which translates to "What Is More Lasting Than Brass?" But Silva says it also pays homage to the brewers and breweries that have come before him.
"I have a lot of respect for people who were able to actually open people's minds to different beers and different beer flavors so that breweries like mine can open."
Silva has found the booming Connecticut brewery scene to be inclusive and encouraging.
"Everyone's been very kind to us, been helping us out. If something goes wrong or if you have a question that maybe someone's had to deal with in the past, you just shoot a text or send an email and everyone's super friendly, will answer questions, help you out, lead you in the right direction. ... Everyone just wants to make the best beer they can. It's great for Connecticut, it's great for the breweries, it's great for the consumer."
FEATURED/NOTEWORTHY BEERS: Lasting Brass offers rotating versions of a Weisse Words Berliner weisse sour, in a cherry-lime edition and a recent "peaches and cream" variety brewed with lactose sugar and aged on peaches. The brewery is also working on a sour series called Dirty Water: its first release, Quid Aere Perennius, was a mixed fermentation farmhouse ale and Silva says the second in the series will debut in October.
Brass Monkey, an imperial milk stout infused with coffee and coconut clocking in at 8 percent ABV, has been popular, Silva says, along with recent double IPAs Into the Light and Taste For My Face.
War Poet, a New England-style IPA, honors John Trumbull, the Revolutionary War-era poet born in Watertown; and Santa's Road Soda, a tongue-in-cheek name for Lasting Brass's holiday seasonal brew, is a double milk stout infused with cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans. Silva has goals to expand the brewery's production in the next year, with a focus on its barrel-aging program.
Lasting Brass has enjoyed supportive distribution relationships with beer-focused restaurants like J. Timothy's in Plainville, At the Corner in Litchfield, Westbrook Lobster in Clinton and Wallingford and Birch Hill Tavern in Glastonbury. The beer is also often available locally at Ordinary Joe's in Watertown.
TASTING ROOM HOURS, AMENITIES: The tasting room is open Friday, 3 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Lasting Brass has at least five beers on tap each weekend, with one guest tap that regularly features a selection from Wallingford's New England Cider Company.
FOOD OPTIONS: Lasting Brass welcomes food trucks on occasion, with recent visits from Ted's Steam Machine, Green Grunion and Fishy Tales. Guests are also welcome to bring their own food or order in from local restaurants.
PRICING: Beers in 12-ounce draft pours are $5 to $6; 32-ounce growlers are $8 to $10 and 64-ounce growlers are $16 to $20. Full flights, with four 4-ounce taster fills, are $8. Single four-ounce samples are $2 apiece.
Lasting Brass is at 1864 Watertown Ave. in Oakville. 860-417-2581, lastingbrass.com.