About two months after their opening, we found ourselves finally checking out Hanging Hills Brewery right in the Hart of Connecticut (see what we did there?). The brewery and tasting room is located in a small industrial park off of Ledyard Street, which makes it easily accessible via I-91. We stopped by a few minutes after they opened on a Saturday afternoon. Because of this, we easily found parking in front of the taproom.
When we walked in, we were almost immediately greeted by Hanging Hills’ brew dog, Wheeler. They have a decent sized taproom with a large bar and several tables. The decor has a great rustic vibe with lots of reclaimed wood and pallets, which is accented with some industrial pieces (lighting, corrugated metal, concrete floor, and metal bar stools). They also had several interesting pieces of art hanging on the wall opposite of the bar.
We were one of the day’s first customers, which allowed us to chat with one of the founders (Joe) for quite a while. Joe told us that Hanging Hills was named after the Hanging Hills range located in Meriden, Conn. The founders really wanted to invoke a feeling of outdoor adventures (while enjoying their beers, of course). When asked if the dog sillouhette in the logo was Wheeler, Joe educated us on the mystical black dog that roams the Hanging Hills. Legend has it that when you first see the black dog, you are overwhelmed with a sense of elation and happiness. The second time you see the dog, you are overcome with a sense of dread. The third time you see the dog, well…you die. On that happy note, let’s talk about their beers, shall we?
The day we stopped by, Hanging Hills was offering seven different beers to try. So, of course, we tried all seven for a reasonable tasting flight price of $16. We started off by trying Junebug (6.6% ABV 25 IBU), which is their saison. The Junebug is dry hopped with Amarillo hops, which gave it some great floral notes. We both thought that the saison was fresh and clean – the perfect refreshment after a day spent mowing your lawn. Then we moved onto the House Mild (4.9% ABV 21 IBU), which is an English Pub Ale. The House Mild smelled somewhat sweet and had a sharp bitterness with hints of sweetness. Overall, very drinkable. It paired nicely with our next beer – Twain Rye Ale (5.4% ABV 21 IBU). Like the House Mild, Twain was very drinkable and smooth. It is dry hopped with Ahtanum hops, which gave it a slight bitterness in the finish. We also tasted a hint of sweet citrus. Speaking of citrus, Hanging Hills’ YPA (5.9% ABV 71 IBU) packs a big, delicious citrus punch. The ale is dry hopped with El Dorado and Equinox hops, but it is not as not bitter as one might expect. If you’re looking for a nice bitterness, then their IOPA (7.0% ABV 99 IBU) is your beer. The “O” stands for oat, which makes it healthier. The IOPA is dry hopped with several different hops that gave the beer nice notes of pine and fruit. The IOPA was bitter, but it had an enjoyable finish. Next we tried the Rayn Man ESB (5.7% ABV 27 IBU). Named after the owner’s friend Ray, this easy drinking ESB had a nice spiciness and slight nuttiness. It also had a great color. We finished our tasting flight with the Trap Rock Cascadian Dark Ale (5.8% ABV 56 IBU), which is dry hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo hops. This smooth, dark Black IPA had a great slight charcoal finish.
But wait – there’s more! As we were talking to Joe, we mentioned that we recently started this blog and that we were at Hanging Hills to drink, er…I mean, to conduct research for our next post. Joe gave us a sample of a beer they were releasing at the Small State Great Beer festival in Hartford on September 17, and he made us promise not to blog about the beer before it’s release. Thankfully it’s a week later and we can now tell you about the awesome saison we tried called Three Women (3.6% ABV 23 IBU). Three Women, a tribute to the wives of the men of Hanging Hills (#romantic), is half pilsner and half spelt. With less alcohol than Bug Light, but 110% more flavor, it is a great anytime beer.
Hanging Hills has tons of merchandise – hats, shirts, scarves, hoodies, etc. – for all of your shopping needs. You can even take home a 32-ounce growler (we grabbed some Junebug ourselves). You can buy a Pretzel Haus pretzel to snack on while you sip your beers, and sometimes they have food trucks stop by. They also have local musicians on a regular basis, which they promote on their social media accounts.
She said: “I really loved the friendly, welcoming atmosphere at Hanging Hills. These guys love what they do and it really shows in their beers. I especially love that it’s so close to where I work (1.3 miles to be exact), which means that I will definitely be spending some Thursday and/or Friday happy hours there in the near future.”
He said: “Hanging Hills was full of friendly people and had amazing beer. I could definitely see myself hanging – no pun intended – out in their taproom for a few hours with some friends.”
She also said: “Hey Pete, why haven’t you made a beer as a tribute to your wife yet?!”
Plan your visit to Hanging Hills where you can taste some awesome beers, meet some friendly people, and learn a little Connecticut history. Plus, there will probably be some cute dogs there.
150 Ledyard Street
Hartford, CT 06114