Hunter Savery ’20
This past Saturday saw the greatest coalescence of craft breweries in the history of the Nutmeg State: Small State Great Beer. In spite of the high cost of entry, I knew that it was my duty as a journalist to attend and report back my findings from this hoppy bacchanal. Small State’s 2019 festival featured 60 breweries from around Connecticut, each offering at least two beers on-tap per stand. Beer wasn’t the only option though, as there was a healthy and innovative selection of ciders and spirits as well. Connecticut may not be the largest state, but what an offering.
The tickets for this year’s festival included unlimited pours, the catch being that the wristband only covered a three hour window. To sample every beer available, one would have to finish a brew every 1.5 minutes or less. Needless to say, I felt seriously ill by the time I left, but the fine folks at Small State struck a deal with the fine folks at Lyft to offer discounted rides for festival goers and Constitution Plaza is also in walking distance from Trinity, contrary to popular belief. Everyone who knows anything about craft beer knows that this decade has seen the market flooded with IPA’s, double IPA’s, and all manner of hoppy monstrosities. Equally dominant on the artisanal brewery scene today is the sour, particularly the Gose, pronounced “go-zuh.” The fruity sours were out in force at the festival and it was a much needed change of pace. Although, that many sours isn’t much better than that many IPA’s.
Fine brewskis weren’t the only draw at Small State Great Beer. There were food trucks, a brass band, and even giant pong. I danced my butt off and ate a raspberry-sauerkraut bratwurst.
What more could anyone want? But circling back to the beer, it was excellent, decadent in fact, as there was far too much of it. The glass provided was small, so small in fact that I was initially devastated. But I lost track of the pours in the chaos, and after innumerable sours and IPA’s I was perfectly happy with the reduced beer glass size. At the festival’s opening my posse tried to stick to an orderly map of the festival, but pouring rain precipitated bedlam and the remainder of my beer odyssey was a haphazard sampling of brew after brew.
Standouts included Two Road’s Persian Lime Gose brewed inside of a tanker truck and Watercolors Passion Fruit Berliner from Skygazer Brewing Company of Southington. The rest of the offerings amounted to something of a blur, but overall I was both pleased and impressed. There were some unpalatable concoctions, such as a Maibok that took “malty” much too far or a stout that tasted more like old coffee than beer. However, all things considered, Small State was a fantastic celebration of life in the Constitution State and I had an absolute blast. As a senior, I do not know whether I will be in Connecticut come fall 2020, but if I am you may be certain that I will be at Small State Great Beer.