Beers on Window Sills Goes to NEBCO

I was off from work this week, so I decided to finally visit one of my favorite Connecticut breweries. You might know them as the makers of Fuzzy Baby Ducks (and Double Fuzzy), as well as several other awesome beers. Yep, I’m talking about NEBCO aka the New England Brewing Company. My stay was brief, but I saw more than enough to solidify this as a super cool place to get really delicious beer.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with NEBCO, their true history began in 2001, when current owner Rob Leonard was the head brewer at a South Norwalk-based beer company named New England Brewing. The company shut its doors, which opened up an opportunity for Leonard to step in and purchase it. Once the paperwork was signed, Leonard set up shop in Woodbridge, CT, where the company still makes its home today–albeit across the street from their original Woodbridge location.

As far as beers go, I’ve already mentioned two of their most famous brews: The Fuzzy Baby Ducks, an IPA made with 100% Citra hops, and it’s heftier DIPA cousin, the Double Fuzzy Baby Ducks. There’s also the G-Bot, a DIPA formerly known as the Ghandi Bot, and the Coriolis, another delicious double IPA. They’re not just an IPA company, though. They make delicious beers of every kind. They also pride themselves in their very creative beer names, like their Belgian Golden Ale named 668 The Neighbor of the Beast, and the incredible art that adorns all of their cans and bottles.

My trip to NEBCO was more of a scouting mission than a real visit. My plan was to drive up there, scope out the brewery and taproom, pick up a growler of something tasty and head back home. The building doesn’t look like much from the outside, just a typically industrial-looking building with the NEBCO logo on the outside. No windows, nothing fancy. Just a loading dock door and a regular glass door leading from the parking lot to the taproom.

New England Brewing Company NEBCO
The first thing I saw was this NEBCO logo. Although the building is simple, it was pretty neat. (Credit: Martin Stezano / Beers on Window Sills)

As soon as I walked in, I knew i was in for a treat. First of all, despite the fact that it was a Wednesday afternoon at 3:15 PM (the doors opened at 3pm), the place was already packed. Not only were people lining up to order their growlers, seekers of joy and merriment were gathered all over the small taproom just to have a good time, as well.

One group played chess on one of the available table tops (some were made from old barrels, others were longer, like a bar). Others played Jenga (regular sized, not giant), or just stood around chatting. When I scanned the small room left to right from the doorway, I noticed the big bar in front of me. On the far left was the growler ordering area, where people stood with brown jars from all sorts of breweries (I saw a couple of Trillium jugs, and others from all around the craft beer scene). The bar wrapped around towards the center of the room, where people were ordering regular, non-growler beers from the menu on the other side of the bar. As I said, not a huge place, but big enough to house probably somewhere between 50 and 100 people.

New England Brewing Company NEBCO
Some of the delicious beers available on tap at NEBCO. (Credit: Martin Stezano / Beers on Window Sills)

I decided, since I was there, and I wasn’t sure what growler I’d be purchasing for myself (I did know that I was buying a 64 oz Double Fuzzy Baby Ducks for a friend), I should try a couple of beers to see if something piqued my interests. It’s only logical, right? Luckily for me, since I had to drive the 30 minutes back home, NEBCO does what they call “short pours.” Rather than order full beers, you can order smaller glasses; probably about six ounces or so. The price was also right for these–only $2 for a normal beer, and $3 for a DIPA or heavier beer.

I started with the Baby Bot, which is a more sessionable version of the famous G-Bot. It uses the same hop blend as its imperial / double cousin (Columbus, Citra and Simcoe), but only comes in at 5.2% ABV. I didn’t feel it lost much flavor at all, and I enjoyed it, but not enough to choose it for my growler. Next, I tried the Galaxy, an 4.8% ABV American Pale ale brewed with only Australian Galaxy hops. This one was also pretty solid, with a good mix of tropical flavors like pineapple and guava, and a hoppy finish that i enjoyed… but it still wasn’t growler worthy for me.

Growler line at New England Brewing Company NEBCO
Need to order up a growler? Saddle up to this side of the bar. (Credit: Martin Stezano / Beers on Window Sills)

The third beer I tried is probably the one that most intrigued me. It’s called Spin Cycle, and it’s a rotating IPA… get it? I didn’t get a growler of this one, but I did buy a 4-pack. of cans. The intriguing part about the Spin Cycle is that it’s never the same from batch to batch. NEBCO uses the same malt base for each brew, but different combinations of hops. This means every batch is going to have a different combination of flavors, bitterness, and more importantly, a different ABV. The label on my cans states that the ABV is somewhere between 5.5% and 11%, and the IBUs are somewhere between 55 and 100. If you look at the bottom of the can, where the canning date usually is, you also see which hops are being used, and the ABV. In this batch, Citra, Nelson and Mosaic hops were used, and the resulting brew had an ABV of 8.2%. Super cool concept.

As my last beer, I decided to try a short pour of the Double Fuzzy Baby Ducks. After the first sip, I pretty much knew I’d be getting myself a growler of this stuff. Even though I’d already had a growler of the Double Fuzzy on the window sill a few weeks before, and I really wanted to get something new to feature for you guys, this beer is just too damn good. My mind made up, I hustled over to the growler ordering location and filled out my little paper. I went with a 64oz growler for my friend, and a 32oz one for myself. I also picked up the aforementioned 4-pack of Spin Cycle, and the Fuzzy Baby Ducks glass I’ve been wanting for quite some time.

Double Fuzzy Baby Ducks NEBCO
The Double Fuzzy Baby Ducks done right, with proper glassware to boot. (Credit: Martin Stezano / Beers on Window Sills)

After my growler order was filled, I packed up the car with my bounty, grabbed a couple of free Sea Hag IPA coasters, and headed home. I can’t wait to go back. Although the tasting room is small, the beer is amazing, and it’s so close to my house! If you’re from the area, I would recommend taking drives up to fill growlers whenever you can spare an hour or so. If you’re not, it’s worth it to travel to NEBCO for a lengthier stay. They update their beer selection online regularly, so you’ll always know what’s available when you’re planning your trip.

At the very least, take home some Fuzzy Baby Ducks for yourself.

Another angle of the outside. Check out the big tank. (Credit: Martin Stezano / Beers on Window Sills)
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