We can’t storm Area 51 anymore so I stormed Area 2

beer, drink, Travel

I hate it when someone tells me something is overrated after I express interest in going. Let me find that out for myself. Or not. I felt that way about Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, CT.

Two Roads is Connecticut’s largest brewery occupying 10 acres of land for brewing, tasting, entertaining and growing. Pretty impressive. The building’s post-industrial aesthetic and the collection of branded Air Streams gave the OG Two Roads an injection of 2010s zeitgeist. The tattoo event and french fry food truck added to that millennial vibe. So yeah, I guess if you’re over that crowd, then this place isn’t for you.

However, who cares what the place looks like when the beer is this good. Now, Two Roads is fun and the standards are abundant whether you like IPAs, sours or even hard seltzer, but if you want a wild time head over to Area 2, Two Roads’ experimental facility accessible via walkway from the brewery. While Two Roads might be perfect for tossing a frisbee, crushing a beer and dog watching, Area 2 is ideal for finding something rare and new.

In my 5-beer tasting I tried a farmhouse ale, a saison and a “hard kombucha” among the long list of uniquely funky and off-beat varieties. Of course, this is a lot of beer to drink without having any food so be sure to grab some cheese and crackers while you’re sippin’ and maybe pack a snack so you aren’t like us, waiting for french fries to sober you up.

Now for the run-down of all the beers:

  • Norwegian Farmhouse Ale (5% ABV) – this beer satisfied a craving I had for months. After leaving the Hudson Valley, a land abundant with beers and wines that taste like a full on barnyard, I needed a refreshing beer that still delivered that sour, earthy stink. This was it.
  • Table Terroir (3.7% ABV) – table wine feels like a lost tradition. In Europe, it’s easy to walk into a restaurant or tavern and grab a cask of inexpensive table wine. It goes with everything in a complimentary way, not an overpowering way. This low ABV, easy drinking beer is a three-way crossroad between an IPA, a wheat beer and a saison.
  • Brett Saison (6.6% ABV) – dude, I know I love sours and fruity beers, but the french farmhouse saison is really rocking my world. As I constantly yearn for funky flavors, I find myself ordering saisons more frequently and finding more to love with each sip. You’ll want to tuck into a wheel of brie after taking one sip.
  • Hard Kombucha (4.5% ABV) – did someone say pink beer? This deep magenta rooibos and sour cherry concoction tasted just like unsweetened iced tea. My mom introduced me to rooibos years ago and it always had a magical quality to it: earthy and beet-like. This felt remarkably healthy to drink, justifying its name.
  • Crooked Roads (5.7% ABV) – AKA the fried chicken beer. Now, I’m not sure if its because this was our last beer of the day (after a full pour AND 4 tastes) but we took a loopy turn upon tasting this. “It tastes like fried chicken.” What? Nick said this and I was confused at first until it hit me. It tasted like fried chicken. A thigh. Right off the bone. I deduced that this was from the oak aging, giving the sour ale a woody, meaty flavor.

These were only five of the 16 possibilities and you bet I’m going back for more. Area 2 can abduct me into their spacecraft of dope beer any weekend of the year.

PINK BEER IS HAVING A MOMENT AND SO AM I

beer, drink

 

The words “pink drink” evoke infamous memories of college parties: standing before a cooler with a spout dripping pink liquid. The bastardized amalgamation of pink lemonade, sprite and vodka fill the red plastic cup again and again. When was the cooler last cleaned? Who did I hand $5 to for this cup? I don’t know, but I’m having fun until the morning.

While “pink drink” has been tucked away to a secluded corner of my brain, pink beer is top of mind lately. I’ve been feeling my 2019 Barbie girl fantasy lately ordering and pouring beers that are all coincidentally pink. It’s no surprise that pink beer is having a moment when everything seems to be coming up rosés.

Most pink beers tend to fall into the sour or farmhouse ale categories as those funky, farmy styles are experiencing an undeniable renaissance. Hudson Valley Brewery added a strawberry sour to the family of Silhouette beers and, damn, it tastes like strawberry ice cream. The hazy pink brew resembles a strawberry smoothie. Sloop Brewing Company is re-releasing the first ever Sloop Jam series beer, Razzle Dazzle, by popular demand. The raspberry and cherry sour beer appears jammy and bright. The ever inventive Plan Bee Farm Brewery special released breakfast, a beer brewed with blueberry and coffee and aged in bourbon barrels (ya know, like breakfast). All I can say besides delicious is MAGENTA because in a glass this was a gorgeous jewel tone.

Of course these beers would be delicious straight from the can (sorry, mom) but watching bubbles rise through the deep pink beer really completes the experience. The truth? I’m sure social media has made pink beer explode this season. Berry lambics and cherry lagers have always existed but the craze is picking up now as every layman and blogger has romanticized the pink drink via Instagram alone. More truth? I’m not even mad.