Any restaurant can sell a few beers by the bottle and offer up a few beers on tap, but those are usually the kinds of beer that you can find at your local corner store. A brave few spots in Stamford and Norwalk, though, pride themselves in their beer selection and what they do for their beer loving friends. To help you on your quest for that perfect brew, we’re giving you a guide to some of our favorite watering holes that have the best beers on tap and by the bottle. Sorry, but Budweiser just won’t cut it here. We’re talking craft, micro, and all-around-awesome beers. Pull on up to the tap and pour in some brew, this is going to be a tasty one.
85 High Ridge Road
Stamford, CT 06905
Hours: Sun-Wed, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thu-Sat 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
In the mood for ice-cold beer with thin crust pizza? Want oodles of options like ribs, salads, and Italian specialties? Well, Coalhouse Pizza has you covered, but all those heavenly foods taste better with some good brew to wash it down. Gerard Robertson, co-owner and face of the restaurant, has put up 16 different beers on tap, most of which are craft and microbreweries. Coalhouse Pizza has also run many successful beer tasting nights with beer paired courses. Also, Gerard, who makes the dough in the morning, often creates one-of-a-kind pies using beer in the dough. One of his favorites was a pie made with Ithaca Brewing Company’s Flower Power, a beer that is often on the menu. But, it doesn’t stop there. For just $20, you can join the Coalhouse Beer Club. You get a mug, get discounts on the tasting nights, and get discounts on your beer. Throw in the great, high quality pies with the best of brews and you’ve got an awesome spot to eat, drink, and soak up the bluesy vibe. Want even more of a beer experience? Try out their new beer garden! And, if it so moves you, join Coalhouse’s home brewing night and learn how to make your own beer.
487 Glenbrook Road
Stamford, CT 06906
Hours: Opens at 11 a.m.; closes Tue at 11 p.m.; Wed at 12 a.m.; Thu at 1 a.m.; Fri to Sat at 2 a.m.; Sun at 10 p.m.; Closed Mon
Hall of Foam? Yeah, we spelled that right. At Monster B’s in Stamford you actually get rewarded for your love of hops with their Silver Challenge. All you have to do is drink 100 different beers from across the world and you get your name and picture up on the Hall of Foam. You also get a membership card and other perks like a t-shirt, 10% off your food orders for a year, and $1 off all draughts for a year. That’s just the first level, there’s also Gold and Platinum that are harder to achieve, yet reap bigger rewards. Getting those 100-300 beers chalked up won’t be hard with 30 rotating beers on tap and more than 150 bottles available. They serve up bar food from an extensive menu to help you wash down your beer. Why not stop by during their special Tap Takeovers when a brewmaster from a brewery takes over some of the taps, pours out some suds, and talks about the brews? Or, if you’ve super daring, you can also get added to their brand new Wall of Flame if you can survive their hot wings. Only two have survived so far, can you?
99 Washington Street
South Norwalk, CT 06854
Hours: Opens at 11:45 a.m.; closes Sun at 9 p.m.; Mon at 10 p.m.; Tue to Wed 11 p.m.; Thu to 12 a.m.; Fri to Sat to 1 a.m.
In the heart of SoNo (that’s South Norwalk for you newbies) is a bar that serves up fantastic food that goes beyond traditional bar food and pairs it with a killer beer selection. The Gingerman boasts the most beers on tap of all three with a whopping 56 that are on rotation, even including some local craft beers. Also, they have between 80-100 beers by the bottle including one of the strongest beers in the world, Dog Fish Head’s 120 Minute IPA that clocks in at an insane 20% ABV or a killer 2004 Aventinus Wheat Doppelbock that is a deeply complex and flavorful beer. Like Coalhouse Pizza, The Gingerman also offers monthly five course beer dinners. As an added bonus at both spots, the brewer often stops by to discuss the beer and the tasting notes. If you’re in the mood for some spice with your hops, try some of the demon wings or the demon burger. After having some demon food, it might just be acceptable to order milk at the bar.
Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro are founders and co-bloggers for OmNomCT, an omnivorous couple’s perspective on all things omnomable in lower Fairfield County, CT.