At Unionville's new Taprock Beer Bar & Refuge, expect the unexpected. Sure, there are 20 draft lines with a something-for-everyone philosophy, ranging from Coors Light to niche pours from Connecticut craft breweries.
But don't sleep on the cocktails. Think gin with raspberry cumin syrup, mojitos with Earl Grey-infused rum and whiskey with honey cherry orange marmalade.
"We take chances, and we make no apologies," said bar manager Myles Walsh.
Walsh and chef Bryan Burke formerly worked together at West Hartford's Blue Plate Kitchen and carried over some experimental influence to the menu at Taprock. The raspberry-cumin syrup in the house favorite Free Harbor, with local Foggy Harbor Gin and pineapple juice, was inspired by a strawberry-cumin oyster shooter they'd once served at a tequila dinner there.
"We just couldn't let it go," Walsh said of the berries-and-cumin flavor profile. "We had to keep playing with it."
Other best-sellers include a hibiscus margarita with cranberry syrup and the Egyptian Lemonade, with house-infused strawberry Rime vodka (produced locally by Westford Hill Distillers) and Fernet-pickled chili. The Wosoddit Coffee features nitro cold brew with housemade rum cream; and The Son in Law Named Jeff, with Montelobos mezcal, Campari and sweet vermouth, winks at a Cheech and Chong reference. Cocktails are $8 to $11.50.
Walsh has other ideas in the mix, like a beet margarita, which was deemed "a little too far out there" for the opening menu. But Taprock's guests have been open-minded and intrigued by the different options.
"That's what's catching people's eyes, is the weird stuff," he said. "So, expect to see weirder stuff."
Taprock Beer Bar & Refuge, 81 S. Main St., Unionville, is open daily at 11 a.m., closing at 12:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, 1:30 a.m. Thursday, 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 p.m. Sunday. 860-404-2074, facebook.com/taprockbeerbar.