11-24-12 Making the rounds in CT

Connecticut Trips and Events

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11-24-12 Making the rounds in CT

Postby Woolybear » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:42 am

11-24-12 Making the rounds in CT
Paul S. (Woolybear), Mike S. (Woodzy), & Peter S.

Time to start another/new list.

11-23-12
Mike and I spend half our day up in the Black Dome range doing our fall trail maintenance (lots of wind damage this fall). Seems we end up doing this bit of trail a lot before some views and brews stops.

11-24-12
Mike’s brother Pete was up starting for him a week’s vacation so we went out for some walking and beer and since Mike had been eyeing CT that was the pick of the day.
We had a list of state parks we planned on stopping at on our way as we headed towards Hartford however plans change as you go sometimes. As we we’re looking for the first one on the list we ran across one of our other destinations and it was locked and barred. So instead we took the first state park we could find with an open gate. Enter Burr Pond State Park a nice little park with an artificial 80 acre body of water. Some trails circling the pond. Not much for hiking but probably really nice for picnicking and boating in the summer. For the record it ended up being a VERY windy and cold day to be out walking in any capacity. On our way to Burr Pond we drove in along a greenway and since it was only a half mile away we made that our next stop. So we put in some mileage on the Still River Greenway. Not a spectacular multi use greenway but judging by the volume of people it is fairly popular. After our walks we headed into Hartford to City Steam Brewery. City Steam Brewery was a nice stop. The architecture and atmosphere were great; service was good as was the food. The beer was good, not great but somewhat above average. If I was in the area I would definitely stop back in. City Steam Brewery presented a nice round dining experience.
Now while we have been doing these views and brews lists and trips a second sub list has been organically developing, specifically the quest for high quality authentic ethic foods the main trust of which is German and Polish (when we can find it). To this extent Mike found a German beer garden restaurant in New Britain called the East Side Beer Garden. But before we headed over there I wanted to hit up at least one more brewpub so we headed off to Tullycross Tavern.
Tullycross Tavern looked very good via their website. Sadly we were disappointed by the reality. We found the food to be average not so special pub fair, the service to be just okay, and the beer to be very average, sigh. I do not believe I or anyone else in our party will be returning to Tullycross.
Post Tullycross we headed over to the East Side Beer Garden in New Britain (#2 trip through Hartford proper). If you plan on heading out here you will need good directions or a gps since the neighborhood that this place was built in over a hundred years ago has changed a great deal and is currently rather sketchy. The East Side Beer Garden received high marks for food form our ethic Germans Mike and Pete. They gave it slightly higher marks than I. The atmosphere, the service, and the beer (Spaten enough said) were great. The food was pretty good though I believe it could have been better for the price ($$$). Our main point of divergence was the potato pancakes. Mike and Pete gave them significantly higher marks than I believing they were fairly near to what their mother used to make. We spent a great deal of time at the East Side having a good time but we still had beer to sample so off we went.
The plan now was to visit the wine and beer homebrew place in Hartford for some supplies then head over to the Cambridge House. So back through Hartford center (#3) to E. Hartford to a location that was no longer valid (the wine and beer place had moved) so off to their new location (through Hartford Center again, #4) only to find that it was the wrong street address being as there are two identical address in Hartford so off to the other location once again through Hartford Center (#5). The hell with this I was getting a little tired of driving though the middle of Hartford so since I was going east again I decided to give up on the home brew supplies (could get stuff on line later) and head out to Willimantic instead. Now due to some gps mistyping we actually missed Willimantic Brewing and found ourselves in a different part of Willimantic and after getting in some very f&%^*#@ cold and windy walking around Willimantic (what’s with the big frog statues on the bridge) we discovered our mistake, finished our unintended mileage, and relocated the car to Willimantic Brewing.
Willimantic Brewing had good pub food, good service, only average okay beer, and a very load and rambunctious atmosphere. Overall a nice place but I would not go out of my way for this place. Also didn’t care for the local “cola”. Seems no one was caring Coke just there local brand “colas” :? .
With Willimantic behind us we started heading home with a stop at the Cambridge House Brew Pub in Granby along the way. We found the Cambridge House to be a very popular spot. The service and atmosphere were nice as was the food; sadly though we found the beer just made the mark of average.
On the whole we were not overly impressed with Connecticut beers at the end of the day. They were all adequate but there were no great stand outs (the best of the day was City Steam Brewing). So far Connecticut seems to be far better at service and food than beer.

Post Script
Pete still needs one more mile he will be getting that in the next day or so since he will be heading out to Maine for beer and easy hiking (in case anyone is keeping count :wink: ).
PA - 4/30
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Re: 11-24-12 Making the rounds in CT

Postby Laurie » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:12 am

Sounds like a fun trip - whatever happened to maps? Might get you there faster than a gps?

In all of our visits to Conn, by far Willimantic was the very, very best - not only their beers, but the guest taps, the history of the place, the service - sorry to hear it is not doing so well right now. Maybe we better go back and see for ourselves............

You guys always inspire us - keep up the good work and trip reports!
Laurie
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Re: 11-24-12 Making the rounds in CT

Postby Woolybear » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:22 am

Willimantic wasn't bad its just wasn't a stand out. Kinda blended into the background. One major turn off for me that didn't make it into the report was that when we came in the back form the parking lot there was a heavy odor of horrible cigaret smoke.
As to maps when i go alone i preplan directions and have a step by step layout. If I'm driving well i let the passengers navigate and though i would have like to hit up the places i planned out i don't mind the adventure either of just trying to find something new.
We got two more to go. One of them will probably be the Bru Rm and the other will be one of those chain brewpubs. Maybe one of them will be outstanding. If not then for us City Steam will end up being the best.
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