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Something Is Brewing

Beer is bubbling in these homes



It all started when I tasted real English ale at the Lamb & Flag pub in Covent Garden and thought it was the nectar of the gods. Then I bought a hand-pump from a pub that was going out of business. But what to pump—fizzy American beer in kegs? Given my name, not for me.

Then my son Jordan and his friend Chris Ahlberg presented me with beer they had made in their basement. It was fabulously tasty and fresh. So I trundled up to Maltose Express Home Brew & Wine Supplies, in Monroe, one of several such sites in Connecticut and online. What I found was Tess and Mark Szamatulski’s shop, stocked with everything for home brewing. The couple, who’ve written books on the subject, also clone famous beers—more than 200 recipes, like Windhoek Special, from Namibia; Harp Irish lager; and the one I was after, Old Speckled Hen, made by Morland in Bury St. Edmunds, England.

Home brewing has been astir since winemaking was made legal after Prohibition. Beer was added to the list of allowable home brews in 1978; in Connecticut, a couple can brew up to 100 gallons for their private use.

For the Szamatulskis, a hobby that started in their basement is now a business with 2,000 customers worldwide and a 7,000-square-foot Mecca of all things brewable. For around $100, you get all the equipment necessary to brew your own beer—bottle caps included. For another $40 or so, Bud Hansell will clone your favorite recipe—measured proportions for stewing a five-gallon keg or two and a half cases of bottles.

Wilton resident Jonathon Foltz, who has been brewing his own beer for about 15 years, started with a kit given to him for Christmas. “I’d been making my own bread, which involves yeast, grains, and formulas, so beer seemed like the next logical step,” he says. Now he buys malt-extracts, powder, and syrups and adds whole grains for flavor, cooking the liquid on his stovetop. “It can make the house smell sickly-sweet before the beer ferments,” he says, “but I enjoy doing it.” He tends to brew porters and stouts, giving away the best batches as gifts. His wife designed the label for his finished product, which he calls Three Streams Brewery, for the three streams running in his backyard.

Geoff Kooris also enjoys using the kits. “When I first tried this a few years ago, you couldn’t find anything like the quality ingredients they have now. The kits make it extremely easy.”

Working with a kit is straightforward. Basically, you boil water in a very large pot, add the pre-measured ingredients, stir, and let boil for an hour. Add hops for flavor, more water, pour into a large pail, cool it, and add a little chimney thing that keeps bad bacteria out and allows fermenting gases to escape. Store for a week, then carefully pump the contents into a clear glass container called a carboy, cover for two weeks, then bottle it. The result is good beer you made yourself.

Then there are brewers like Jim Scalzi of Fairfield, who obtains his own grain and grows his own hops. “When I started, there were no microbreweries, and doing it yourself was a really cheap way to get good beer,” he says.

Complete head cases can be found through Underground Brewers of Connecticut. Tom Fenton, a member of Yahoos (Yankee Association of Homebrewers Objecting to Organized Society), joins fellow hopheads to swap beers and pick up tips. “Some of these guys can make beer that is just so good, I can’t come close,” Fenton admits.

Most home brewers tell the same tale. The moment they announce to a friend that they’ve made their own beer, the friend balks, prepared for his Uncle Emerson’s dandelion wine. A tentative sip, and then a mouthful. “Hey, this is really good,” the friend declares.

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Profiles

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August 2017

Who knew? Silvermine Arts Center, in our own backyard, is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. This summer, Whitney Museum’s David Kiehl curates the 2017...

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Cost: $15 for Adults. $12 for children 12 & Under.

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Who knew? Silvermine Arts Center, in our own backyard, is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. This summer, Whitney Museum’s David Kiehl curates the 2017...

Where:
Silvermine Arts Center
1037 Silvermine Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

"From first frame to last, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle (see it in IMAX if you can) that hits you...

Cost: $15 for Adults. $12 for children 12 & Under.

Where:
The Maritime Aquarium
10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
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Who knew? Silvermine Arts Center, in our own backyard, is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. This summer, Whitney Museum’s David Kiehl curates the 2017...

Where:
Silvermine Arts Center
1037 Silvermine Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

"From first frame to last, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle (see it in IMAX if you can) that hits you...

Cost: $15 for Adults. $12 for children 12 & Under.

Where:
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Cost: Tickets start at $30

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Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
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Sing choral works by the great composers on Tuesday evenings starting August 8th. Music on the Hill hosts a series of four stand-alone music reading sessions, each led by a different...

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Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road (Rte. #106)
Wilton, CT  06897
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Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
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Where:
Silvermine Arts Center
1037 Silvermine Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


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Cost: $15 for Adults. $12 for children 12 & Under.

Where:
The Maritime Aquarium
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View map »


Website »

More information

“Appropriate,” the 2014 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play, will be staged at Westport Country Playhouse, from August 15 through September 2. The story of family secrets...

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
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Cost: Free and open to the public.

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Gunn Memorial Library
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Who knew? Silvermine Arts Center, in our own backyard, is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. This summer, Whitney Museum’s David Kiehl curates the 2017...

Where:
Silvermine Arts Center
1037 Silvermine Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

"From first frame to last, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle (see it in IMAX if you can) that hits you...

Cost: $15 for Adults. $12 for children 12 & Under.

Where:
The Maritime Aquarium
10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

“Appropriate,” the 2014 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play, will be staged at Westport Country Playhouse, from August 15 through September 2. The story of family secrets...

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Who knew? Silvermine Arts Center, in our own backyard, is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. This summer, Whitney Museum’s David Kiehl curates the 2017...

Where:
Silvermine Arts Center
1037 Silvermine Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

"From first frame to last, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle (see it in IMAX if you can) that hits you...

Cost: $15 for Adults. $12 for children 12 & Under.

Where:
The Maritime Aquarium
10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

“Appropriate,” the 2014 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play, will be staged at Westport Country Playhouse, from August 15 through September 2. The story of family secrets...

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
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Music Theatre of Connecticut MainStage, Fairfield County’s professional award-winning theatre company, presents the final installment of MTC’s Hot Summer Nights series, An Evening with...

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Music Theatre of Connecticut
509 Westport Ave.
Norwalk, CT  06851
View map »


Website »

More information

Who knew? Silvermine Arts Center, in our own backyard, is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. This summer, Whitney Museum’s David Kiehl curates the 2017...

Where:
Silvermine Arts Center
1037 Silvermine Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

"From first frame to last, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle (see it in IMAX if you can) that hits you...

Cost: $15 for Adults. $12 for children 12 & Under.

Where:
The Maritime Aquarium
10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Ghosts, ghouls and goblins greet visitors to the historic Sheffield Island Lighthouse, which is decorated to provide thrills and chills for youngsters of all ages (only two rooms are kept dark)....

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Norwalk Seaport Association Dock
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Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

“Appropriate,” the 2014 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play, will be staged at Westport Country Playhouse, from August 15 through September 2. The story of family secrets...

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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