Cork & Brew
35 N. Main St.
Southington, CT 06489
“Become your own brewmeister,” say the folks at Cork & Brew in Southington, and even better yet, learn to do so on its premises. Cork & Brew doesn’t just sell the gear and materials needed to brew your own beer, it teaches you how to do it with its equipment and supplies so you can see if this is really your kind of thing before going through the expense (and mess) of trying it at home.
Cork & Brew also offers winemaking and even soda-making events and classes, and will host a brewmeister or vintner party or fundraiser for people, families, companies or organizations.
For those who are ready to brew at home, the Southington shop has starter kits, capping and bottling equipment and materials, cleansers and sanitizers (for dirt and mold are the bane of brewmeisters) needed to set up a home brewery. It also sells the additives and other ingredients needed to produce a safe and tasty beverage. Cork & Brew even has special packages which include all of the ingredients necessary to produce specific types of beer – bock, stout and a variety of ales.
246 Main St.
Monroe, CT 06468
Mark and Tess Szamatulski have been helping fellow Connecticut beer enthusiasts brew their own beer for more than 20 years. Their shop on Main Street in Monroe claims to have “the largest inventory of beer and wine making ingredients, supplies and equipment in the Northeast.” Maltose Express will not only measure but also crush the grain for your home brewery. This shop has many types of grain in stock and 70 varieties of flower and pellet hops, as well as the liquid and dry yeasts, malt extracts, sugars, spices and everything else, as Mark says “you might need to brew your next batch of beer.”
This shop also advises, sells books and recipes and hosts, sponsors or otherwise supports contests where local home brewers can compete for trophies, awards and prizes. This August, for example, the winner of one such contest won airfare, hotel accommodations and a pair of tickets to the Great American Beer Festival, held annually in the fall in Colorado.
Zok’s Home Brewing & Wine Making Supplies
18 North St.
Willimantic, CT 06226
Zok’s in Willimantic is for the serious micro-brewer. It sells quarter- and half-barrel kits, as well as “kegging systems” and the “kegerator” that goes along with it. Zok’s also has all of the ingredients necessary (including malts, grains, hops, yeasts and adjuncts, as well as chemicals) needed to make the beer to fill those kegs and barrels, and hosts classes for aspiring brewmasters.
Brewing beer is science, and Zok’s has the thermometers, hydrometers, ph meters and other devices necessary to monitor and test the quality and safety of the beverages – wine or beer – that the aspiring brewmaster or vintner is making at home.
Beer & Wine Makers Warehouse
290 Murphy Road
Hartford, CT 06114
“We have the largest supplies of kegging equipment on the East Coast,” boasts Beer & Wine Makers Warehouse owner Adrian Genotti. “We carry home-brewing equipment, home-brewing ingredients, beer-dispensing equipment, wine-making supplies, cheese-making kits and supplies, soda-making supplies and more.” With his “huge supply” of German and American hops and other ingredients, he says his Hartford establishment is a one-stop shop for all your home-brewing needs. He also teaches classes not only in how to brew beer at home, but how to brew particular types and specialty beers. Genotti even offers classes for free.
Brew and Wine Hobby
12 Cedar St.
East Hartford, CT 06108
For 38 years, Brew and Wine Hobby has been helping home beer makers fulfill their dreams – and correct their mistakes. Is your beer thin and wet as water, instead of full and creamy? This spot knows how to fix that. Brew and Wine Hobby holds classes and hosts competitions – on August 10, for example, it partnered with other sponsors to host the annual Red Stone Pub homebrew competition.
Bill and Rich, who took over from the founder and previous owners, have cultivated a loyal following. Bill, who calls himself a “backyard farmer,” has partnered with local farmers and suppliers to keep things in the New England “family.” The store, he adds, is a “dream come true,” and not just for him and Rich, but for the many people they have taught or advised on how to make their own beers and wines. “If you can follow some simple steps,” he says encouragingly, “you can make a quality wine or beer!”
Related: Top Tasting Menus In Connecticut
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.