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Manchester, Connecticut, is a small suburb off of Hartford, mainly known as a commerce area with the Buckland Mall and many other strip malls scattered around the area.  Some sites may be a bit “run down,” but the town has a historical charm that is not well known by many.

Bud          Adam        Sean

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     Manchester began its recorded history as the camping grounds of a small band of peaceful Native Americans known as the Podunk tribe. The area was settled by colonists around 1673, some 40 years after Thomas Hooker led a group of Puritans from Massachusetts Bay Colony to found Hartford.  

 

     The many rivers and brooks provided power for paper, lumber, and textile industries and the town quickly evolved into an industrial center. The town of Hartford once included the land now occupied by the towns of Manchester, East Hartford, and West Hartford. In 1783, East Hartford became a separate town, including Manchester in its city limits, until 1823, when it was established as Manchester.

 

     I want to focus on the industrial aspect of the town.  I found these excerpts from the Manchester Historical Society’s website: 

 

     “Beginning in 1838, Cheney Brothers built the silk mills that made Manchester famous and drew workers from throughout the United States and Europe. During the Second Industrial Revolution (1860-1890), the Cheney business prospered and eventually became the largest silk manufacturer in the country.”       “After the peak year of 1923, the silk industry began to decline. Cheney Brothers fell on hard times during the 1930s, due in part to the Great Depression, the elimination of protective import tariffs, new fashion trends, and the arrival of synthetics.”  

     “In 1978, the mill area became a National Historic Landmark District. In 2002, the Town of Manchester purchased nine acres of the Great Lawn for open space to preserve this historic site.”

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     During the 1980s and 90s, many of the larger mill buildings were renovated and turned into apartments.  But in one of the smaller buildings, a cozy little spot serves some of the finest beers in Connecticut.  It’s a brewery named Labyrinth Brewing Company, and I had the privilege to tour the site, talk to the owners, and taste some of their delicious beers.

 

     When you enter the driveway to Labyrinth brewing, you can see the historical value of the building.  Being in the historical district means there are rules to follow, and keeping the historical continuity intact is rule number one.  This rule poses a challenge to the owners, Adam Delaura and Sean Gaura, as they make plans for expanding the brewery for production and patronage.  “We want to change this large window into a doorway that will lead out to a deck.  But with the historical society, materials, contractors, and finding the best deals, it's going to take some time,” stated Adam while pointing at a massive window in the seating area.

 

     The seating area is a rustic design with a homey feel, or, at least, to this country-raised boy.  It is furnished with brick walls, hardwood floors, and black pipes running around a wood-slat ceiling.  Along with that homey feel, there is a historical industrial look with wooden tables held up by black pipe legs and chairs to match the theme.  The stacked pine board design bar fits into the décor with perfection.

 

     Adam brought me into the production room, where the magic happens. There was a lot of noise due to work going on with the expansion. They are adding to the production area, and by the look of it, they really need the space. Adam explained how some of their equipment is on wheels so they can move it around to get to stationary equipment. This workspace showed me their determination to get the job done. 

 

     As Adam and I were talking, Sean came into the room. He is the main brew-man.  I asked if he was the brewmaster, and he jokingly objected to that title being applied to himself.  But if you taste their beers, you will agree with me that the title fits.

     It was time to taste some beer now.  We found a cozy spot in a corner where a sofa and a few chairs have been provided for customers to relax.  Adam handed me a new beer called “I’m Trash.”  It’s an American IPA with an ABV of 6.7%.  You can see my quick review of it in the video box next to this section.

     Sean brought me a dark beer that was not available to the public yet.  It is one of four Belgian-style ales that will premiere in two weeks.  Adam explained that there would be a release party for the four beers, and patrons would have to reserve a seat to attend.  So I made my reservation straightway.  I will review all four beers while attending the party.  

      It was still early in the afternoon, so the taproom wasn’t full yet.  So the boys and I sat and chatted for a while, and I had the pleasure of sipping on a third beer, the Double Love Juice.  In the small amount of time I had to chat with Adam and Sean, I found these two men to be genuine, laid back, and dedicated.  They love what they do, and they intend to continue to brew more beers and expand their business.  How fortunate for us.  I hope they succeed in all they put into their hearts and minds. 

 

     Labyrinth Brewing Company is the one Connecticut brewery you need to visit.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  The owners are great guys, the staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and the building is very comfortable environment for enjoying some incredible beer that they love to provide. 

I hope to run into you there.  Cheers!

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Bud's Overall Rating

Atmosphere:  Relaxed and homey

Staff:  Friendly and knowledgable

Seating:  Plenty.  Historic Industrial

Beer:  A+

Location:  Easy to find and a nice area.

Rating:  I give Labyrinth Brewing Co.         4.5 mugs.  A great place to go!

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Labyrinth Brewing Co.

148 Forest Street
Manchester CT, 06040

Hours Of Operation
Monday-Thursday Open 4-9 p.m.
Friday: Taproom Open 4-11 p.m.
Saturday: Taproom Open 12-11 p.m.
Sunday: Taproom Open 12-6 p.m.

Get In Touch:
Phone - (860) 791-2295
Email - info@LBC.beer

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What's a Blurb?!!

 

blurb  /blərb/

noun

  1. a short description of a book, movie, or other product written for promotional purposes 

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