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
Two RoadsStratford, CT20121,340,446#1#1
NEBCOWoodbridge2002655,507#2#2
Stony CreekBranford, CT2015277,499#3#3
Kent FallsKent, CT2015260,960#4#4
Beer'd Stonington, CT2012252,430#5#7
Thomas HookerBloomfield, CT2006241,140#6#6
Black HogOxford, CT2014230,968#7#5
RelicPlainville, CT2012219,819#8#8
Fat Orange CatEast Hampton, CT2016216,776#9#12
Back EastBloomfield, CT2012187,752#10#11
Thimble IslandBranford, CT2012182,581#11#9
CT ValleySouth Windsor, CT2016167,605#12#13
CounterweightHamden 2017162,720#13#15
OECOxford, CT2014144,738#14#10
Fox FarmSalem, CT2016139,043#15#17
New ParkWest Hartford, CT2017123,383#16#21
City SteamHartford, CT1997116,015#17#14
Firefly HollowBristol, CT2013115,631#18#16
ShebeenWolcott, CT201396,064#19#19
Outer LightGroton, CT201595,329#20#20
Half Full Stamford201294,621#21#18
Stubborn BeautyMiddletown, CT201492,709#22#26
AlvariumNew Britian201785676#23#28
Hanging HillsHartford, CT201673,426#24#24
KinsmenSouthington, CT201670,658#25#25
WillimanticWillimantic, CT201062,410#26#23
Bad SonsDerby 201760,521#27#27
Five ChurchesNew Britain, CT201748,666#28#37
CottrellPawcatuck, CT199743,274#29#32
TribusMilford, CT201842,194#30#53
Powder HollowEnfield, CT201442,102#31#30
No WorriesHamden, CT201540,389#32#34
Steady HabitHigganum201440,241#33#33
Cold CreekEllington201539,935#34#31
ArmadaEast Haven, CT201739624#35#36
Hog RiverHartford, CT201639,071#36#35
LabyrinthManchester, CT201834,719#37#44
Nod HillRidgefield201730,797#38#51
Lock CityStamford, CT201729,759#39#46
Still HillRocky Hill, CT201628,341#40#39
BrewportBridgeport, CT201628,126#41N/A
VeraciousMonroe, CT201527,905#42#38
Brewery LegitamusNew Hartford, CT201627,071#43#43
Lasting BrassOakville, CT201625,864#44#45
DuvigBranford, CT201424,721#45#41
AthleticStratford, CT201824383#46#73
These GuysNorwich, CT201524,147#47#40
30 MileOld Saybrook201523,566#48#47
Witch DoctorSouthington, CT201623,332#49#49
AspetuckBridgeport, CT201523134#50#52
Charter OakDanbury, CT201222,109#51#48
Black PondDanielson, CT201220,842#52#57
OvershoresEast Haven, CT201520,540#53#42
SkygazerSouthington201919,500#542019
Forest CityMiddletown201618,880#55#54
EpicureNorwich, CT201718,852#56#55
Front PorchWallingford, CT201418,177#57#58
BrassworksWaterbury, CT201517,361#58#50
Little HouseChester, CT201815,267#59#64
Cambridge HouseGranby200515,238#60#56
Tox New London201915,202#612019
East RockNew Haven201814,449#62#68
Urban LodgeManchester201914,244#632019
Norbrook FarmColebrook, CT201814,142#64#65
FairfieldStratford, CT201613,682#65#59
HoaxEast Haven, CT201713,665#66#75
Broken SymmetryBethel201813,425#67#61
WoodburyWoodbury, CT 201812,738#68#62
Problem SolvedEast Windsor, CT201812,697#69#72
NighthawkEast Haven, CT201912,633#702019
HousatonicNew Milford, CT201812,405#71#60
Great FallsCanaan, CT201811,216#72#76
Hop CultureColchester201910,847#732019
BarleyheadMystic, CT201710,846#74#66
ReverieNewtown201910,259#752019
Little Red BarnWinsted201910,085#762019
Bad DreamNew Milford, CT20188,842#77#70
2nd Bridge Brewing CompanyManchester20188,628#78#77
Noble JayNiantic 20188,317#79#67
Hops on the HillSouth Glastonbury20198,056#802019
CliffsideWallingford, CT20177,520#81#74
Stranger TidesColchester 20197,297#822019
Milford PointMilford, CT20187,142#83#79
ElicitManchester20197,103#842019
Hull'sEast Haven, CT20186,968#85#78
Center StreetWallingford20196,413#862019
Better HalfBristol20196,050#872019
SoundviewEast Haven, CT20175,988#88#71
Niantic Public HouseNiantic 20185,841#89#83
Maple View FarmGranby20195,375#902019
Taylor BrookeWoodstock20194,998#912019
Iron BrewingNorwalk, CT20174,894#92#82
ErectorNew Haven, CT20154,554#93#81
ReddingRedding, CT20174,509#94#80
Stewards of the LandNorthford20192897#952019
BreakawayBolton 20172412#96#84
High NineDeep River20192035#972019
LuppoletoWindsor Locks20192009#982019
Skulls Brew HouseMeriden20191975#992019
Shunock RiverNorth Stonington20191275#1002019

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.

1997-2012

BreweryCityEst.Total ReviewsOverall Rank
Two RoadsStratford, CT20121340446#1
NEBCOWoodbridge2002655507#2
Beer'd Stonington, CT2012252430#5
Thomas HookerBloomfield, CT2006241140#7
RelicPlainville, CT2012219819#8
Back EastBloomfield, CT2012187752#10
Thimble IslandBranford, CT2012182581#11
City SteamHartford, CT1997116015#17
Half Full Stamford201294621#21
WillimanticWillimantic, CT201062410#26
CottrellPawcatuck, CT199743274#29
Charter OakDanbury, CT201222109#51
Black PondDanielson, CT201220842#52
Cambridge HouseGranby, CT201115238#60

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.

2013-2015

BreweryCityEst.Total ReviewsOverall Rank
Stony CreekBranford, CT2015277499#3
Kent FallsKent, CT2015260960#4
Black HogOxford, CT2014230968#7
OECOxford, CT2014144738#14
Firefly HollowBristol, CT2013115631#18
ShebeenWolcott, CT201396064#19
Outer LightGroton, CT201595329#20
Stubborn BeautyMiddletown, CT201492709#22
No WorriesHamden, CT201540389#32
Powder HollowEnfield, CT201442102#31
Steady HabitHigganum, CT201440241#33
Cold CreekEllington201539935#34
VeraciousMonroe, CT201527905#42
DuvigBranford, CT201424721#45
These GuysNorwich, CT201524147#47
30 MileOld Saybrook201523566#48
AspetuckBridgeport, CT201523134#50
OvershoresEast Haven, CT201520540#53
Front PorchWallingford, CT201418177#57
BrassworksWaterbury, CT201517361#58
ErectorNew Haven, CT20154554#93

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
Fat Orange CatEast Hampton, CT2016216776#9
CT ValleySouth Windsor, CT2016167605#12
CounterweightHamden 2017162720#13
Fox FarmSalem, CT2016139043#15
New ParkWest Hartford, CT2017123383#16
AlvariumNew Britian201785676#23
Hanging HillsHartford, CT201673426#24
KinsmenSouthington, CT201670658#25
Bad SonsDerby 201760521#27
Five ChurchesNew Britain, CT201748666#28
ArmadaEast Haven, CT201739624#35
Hog RiverHartford, CT201639071#36
Nod HillRidgefield201730797#38
Lock CityStamford, CT201729759#39
Still HillRocky Hill, CT201628341#40
BrewportBridgeport, CT201628126#41
Brewery LegitamusNew Hartford, CT201627071#43
Lasting BrassOakville, CT201625,864#44
Witch DoctorSouthington, CT201623332#49
Forest CityMiddletown201618880#55
EpicureNorwich, CT201718852#56
FairfieldStratford, CT201613682#65
HoaxEast Haven, CT201713665#66
BarleyheadMystic, CT201710846#74
CliffsideWallingford, CT20177520#81
SoundviewEast Haven, CT20175988#88
ReddingRedding, CT20174509#95
Breakaway Brew HausBolton 20172412#97

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
TribusMilford, CT201842194#30
LabyrinthManchester, CT201834719#37
AthleticStratford, CT201824383#46
SkygazerSouthington201919500#54
Little HouseChester, CT201815267#59
Tox New London201915202#61
East RockNew Haven201814449#62
Urban LodgeManchester201914244#63
Norbrook FarmColebrook, CT201814142#64
Broken SymmetryBethel201813425#67
WoodburyWoodbury, CT 201812738#68
Problem SolvedEast Windsor, CT201812697#69
NighthawkEast Haven, CT201912633#70
HousatonicNew Milford, CT201812405#71
Great FallsCanaan, CT201811216#72
Hop CultureColchester201910847#73
ReverieNewtown201910259#75
Little Red BarnWinsted201910085#76
Bad DreamNew Milford, CT20188842#77
2nd Bridge Brewing CompanyManchester20188628#78
Noble JayNiantic 20188317#79
Hops on the HillSouth Glastonbury20198,056#80
Stranger TidesColchester 20197297#82
Milford PointMilford, CT20187142#83
ElicitManchester20197103#84
Hull'sEast Haven, CT20186968#85
Center StreetWallingford20196413#86
Better HalfBristol20196050#87
Niantic Public HouseNiantic 20185841#89
Maple View FarmGranby20195375#90
Taylor BrookeWoodstock20194998#91
Stewards of the LandNorthford20192897#95
High NineDeep River20192035#97
LuppoletoWindsor Locks20192009#98
Skulls Brew HouseMeriden20191975#99
Shunock RiverNorth Stonington20191275#100

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!