CT BEER RANKINGS 2019: Most Popular Brewery

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CT BEER RANKINGS ARE BACK! Last year I compiled data on every single Connecticut brewery and created two lists – the first was Connecticut’s Most Popular Brewery and the second was the state’s Most Popular Beer.

For Connecticut’s Most Popular Brewery, we pulled data from five different sources – recording every single rating / follower from the following sites: Untappd, Beer Advocate, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

There are three caveats to note with this data. The first is that older breweries have a massive advantage over new ones. To compensate for this, I’ve created four smaller sub-rankings that are based on the year each brewery opened. They are located below the Overall Rankings and divided into the 1997-2012, 2013-2015, 2016-2017, and 2018-19 eras.

The second caveat is the indeterminate location of reviews / followers. There is no way to decipher if a rating is coming from in-state or out-of-state. As such, breweries that place a greater emphasis on distributing beer beyond Connecticut have an upper-hand.

Lastly, I am using the term popular loosely. Just because one brewery is ranked ahead of another doesn’t mean that I think it is superior. As the industry ages and matures though, I do think that – more often than not – quality breweries will hold high ranks on this list.

Let me know what you think! Sound off in the comments below!

Overall Rankings

BreweryTownEst.Total ReviewsOverall RankLast Year

2019 saw two changes in the Top 10 of our Most Popular Brewery Rankings. Fat Orange Cat and Back East Brewing Company replaced Thimble Island and OEC to move into ninth and tenth place respectively. The former of those two breweries had a whooping 250% increase in their ratings. Beer’d too had a big year replacing Black Hog in the Top 5, gaining nearly 40,000 more ratings than 2018’s #5.

New Park had a sizable jump from #21 to #16 on our list, nearly doubling their ratings in 2019. Alvarium claimed the #23 spot breaking into Connecticut’s Top 25, while Counterweight moved from #15 to #13. The class of 2017 is making their mark on CT Beer and fast. Stubborn Beauty also cracked the Top 25, with Willimantic dropping out. Two Roads, NEBCO, Stony Creek, Kent, Hooker, Relic, Shebeen, and Outer Light all stayed put, while City Steam, Firefly Hollow, and Half Full took a few steps back.

Impressively NEBCO, Beer’d, FOC, Counterweight, Fox Farm, and Alvarium all doubled their 2018 outputs. An exceptional grouping indeed.


BreweryCityEst.Total ReviewsOverall Rank

Olde Burnside closed down in 2019, which is sad. Ten Penny was a fine Scotch Ale and one of the first CT brews I ever drank. RIP.

Breweries such as Half Full, Thimble Island, City Steam, Cambridge House, Willimantic, and Charter Oak all dropped in our rankings. The latter two also had minimal percentage gains in their overall ratings.

Yet this grouping is all about the the Haves and the Have Nots. Two Roads, Beer’d, Thimble Island, Thomas Hooker, Relic, and NEBCO are bonafide goliaths in the state in their size, scope, and scale. It will take a lot to displace any of these behemoths.


BreweryCityEst.Total ReviewsOverall Rank

Our next class of breweries has three representatives in the Top 10. Stony Creek and Kent Falls opened in 2015 and are massive Connecticut breweries, though their paths to popularity have been starkly different.

OEC is a 2014 brewery who dropped a few spots in our rankings this year but, on a subjective list, would be near the top if only for their sui generis.

Stubborn Beauty moved the most in percentage terms of this group increasing their ratings by 156%. OEC, Outer Light, Shebeen, No Worries, 30 Mile, Aspetuck, and Front Porch all had greater than 50% gains too.

Cold Creek, Veracious, These Guys, Erector, and Duvig lagged in comparison to their competition. In terms of significant upward movement for this 2013-2015 class though, there wasn’t much to report.

2016 + 2017

BreweryCityEst.Total ReviewsOverall Rank

In the long term, the 2016-2017 class is poised for greatness. Of all of our sub-rankings, this group was Connecticut’s most upwardly mobile. The first eleven breweries on this list either moved up or retained their overall ranking, with Nod Hill jumping a staggering twelve places. Of those first eleven breweries all were ranked in the first thirty-five, with seven of them increasing their overall position in 2019.

Hoax was the biggest individual winner in terms of percentage gain with a 242% increase in ratings. Though not directly represented on our list, the Beeracks in East Haven – home of Armada, Hoax, Overshores, and Hull’s crushed it in 2019.

Fox Farm, Counterweight, New Park, CT Valley, Five Churches, Nod Hill, and Hoax all doubled their ratings, with Five Churches moving up nine spots in our rankings to #28. Hoax and FOC each had greater than 250% gains.

Where the top of this 2016-2017 feasted, the back third of this group had a bit of famine. Fairfield, Cliffside, Soundview, Redding, Barleyhead and Breakaway all had less than 50% gains in 2019.

2018 + 2019

BreweryCityEst.Total ReviewsOverall Rank

This is a fun sub-ranking because there is A LOT of percentage swings from the 2018 class. The first brewery of note is Tribus. They displaced Labyrinth from their throne atop the 2018 list and made a twenty-two place jump in our overall rankings. Claiming a Top 30 spot in the state in just their second year of operation is a serious feat folks. On the opposite end of the spectrum a sad note – Parable closed.

Athletic Brewing was up 466%, with Tribus at 217%, Great Falls at 195%, Problem Solved up 178%, East Rock at 151%, Little House up 135%, Labyrinth at 126% , and Norbrook Farm up 120%. All of these 2018 breweries had at least 10,000 ratings.

Niantic Public House, 2nd Bridge, and Milford Point were up 161%, 130%, and 106% respectively too, though starting at a much lower base. It’s easy for the 2018 class to have impressive gains in their second year. We’ll see who stays hot as the degree of difficulty to amass a huge percentage output swells.

Skygazer, Tox, and Urban Lodge all have great reputations from the 2019 class and have amassed a favorable amount of ratings too. Skygazer is close to 20,000 ratings and finished one spot ahead of my beloved Little House in the sub-rankings. An impressive debut to say the least.

Thanks for reading. Connecticut’s Most Popular Beer for 2019 is up next!