We can still remember walking into Half Full Brewery when it was in shambles and just a run down skeleton of a building. Even with so much work ahead, Conor and crew saw it all as if the glass was, well, half full. Then, we saw Half Full Bright Ales all over Stamford, then we saw more brews hitting Stamford restaurants, and then we saw Half Full expand out to restaurants all over Connecticut. And now, almost one year later, they celebrate their first ever American Craft Brew Week (May 13-19) with amazingly awesome events . Here we go:
May 3, 17, and 31: Friday Night Open House, 5:30-8:30
Pay $15 and get a Half Full recycled plastic pint glass. Taps are open for your consumption pleasures. You are free to circulate, look around, hang with friends, play bags, and play the huge Jenga game. Note: Friday Night Open Houses happen every other Friday from here until eternity.
Gentlemen and gentlewomen, start your, er, horses. And they’re off…well, off to Derby Day at Plan B Burger Bar in Stamford from 3-7 on May 4. Yup yup! You’ll be able to watch the Kentucky Derby at Plan B and get to comment on all the cool horse names such as Charming Kitten, Itsmyluckyday, Fear the Kitten, Frac Daddy, and the number one contender Black Onyx.
But, does anyone really watch the races? Everybody knows what it’s really about:
Looking spiffy, wearing huge hats that strangely resemble ufos, dressing like a princess (or prince), and drinking lots of bourbon. And, you’ll be happy to know that at Plan B you’ll be rewarded for your crazy hat and your daper and dressiness with contests. There’s even going to be a raffle if you can’t find an ugly hat. But, perhaps one of the sweetest things is that Plan B is giving back to The American Cancer Society. You’ll be drinking bourbon anyway, so just make sure to order Four Roses straight, on the rocks, or in their mixed drinks such as their Four Roses Mint Julep.
Update: learn how to get your own CT Beer Week badge by using Untappd!
Connecticut, we have a beer week! Actually, the FIRST annual CT Beer Week, brought to you by Connecticut Beer Wholesalers Association. The brews are being poured out all over the Hartford and New Haven areas from May 11-18, 2013. On the CT Beer Week Site, you’ll notice a big list of events that are going down. That list is growing daily and we hope to see some events for Fairfield County, too. The slogan for this week, as you can see, is “Brew & Buy Local.” And, that’s part of the focus of this week: let’s keep making Connecticut a great state for beer by opening up more breweries and buying the brews at pubs, restaurants, stores, and at the breweries themselves. CT Beer Week also wants to show the Connecticut Legislature just how important beer is to Connecticut’s economy. We can concur with that, having paid a nice portion of our salaries to Half Full, Two Roads, Charter Oak, New England Brewing, and City Steam. Oh, and we’ve bought quite a few Hookers, too.
And, in addition to all the events that are happening throughout Connecticut, there will also be a massive gathering of over
60 70 brewers that will be providing samples for over 250 varieties and styles. The third annual Rising Pint Brewfest is the literal kick off for CT Beer Week and happens on May 11 from 1-5 pm at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Tickets are $40 and that gets you free parking, a tasting cup, free live music from Kenny Mehler Band and Musical Monk, and tastes of all brews. Proceeds will benefit Folds of Honor, who gives back to families of soldiers killed or disabled in battle.
Here are the restaurants that will be at the Rising Pint Brewfest:
If the world kept doing the same thing over and over, we’d never grow and evolve. We’d stagnate and get caught up in the same ol’ routines of life. But, one of the great things about our world today is our quest for knowledge, for change, and for growth. This can especially be seen when you look at various vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma Valley. In fact, there are a handful of people at these vineyards who have revolutionized winemaking and they are the highlight of a new book called Rock and Vine. The book is written by Ridgefield resident Chelsea Prince, who is also the publisher at Chelsea Print & Publishing. It is edited by Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine, and photographed by Mary Steinbacher.
As we mentioned, Rock and Vine highlights “Next generation changemakers in America’s Wine Country” from Napa and Sonoma…eleven of them to be exact.
The people who are featured in the book are:
It’s time again for Taste of Westport (we covered this event last year, too). What’s great about this event is that you get to taste some of the best food that Westport has to offer and you do good at the same time. Taste of Westport will be on May 2 from 6-9 pm at the Westport Inn and will cost $75 prepaid or $80 at the door. You can get your tickets easily by going to the purchasing page or calling (203) 226-7895 x144. Proceeds are being donated to Clasp Homes of Westport and even more will go to Clasp through silent auctions. Here’s a little bit about Clasp, from their website: “Our mission is to provide homes and opportunities for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. We offer high quality personalized services that enhance each person’s independence, dignity, and continued growth. As a non-profit community organization we are dedicated to increasing public understanding of the people we serve and their ability to be contributing members of the community.”
Now back to the food…but, we’re not talking about just great restaurants. Michele’s Pies, the award-winning and Bobby Flay-throwdown-winners, will be on hand. Plus, there will be lots to drink like Beaver Beer, local Onyx Moonshine, and even more provided by Black Bear Wines & Spirits, Crystal Rock, and Green Farms Spirits. Here is all the info.
Southport Brewing Company
Last year we told you about something special that Southport Brewing Company does. They have a special “Help Line” that you can ask for. You’ll get to pick any of their house brews, but just for asking for the “Help Line” you’ll be donating .50 to a charity that they have chosen.
The two charities that they are currently collecting for (.25 per beer goes to each charity) goes until the end of June and are near and dear to us. The first charity is ALS TDI who is working hard to wipe out ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. According to their site, “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to paralysis, due to the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. There is no known cure for the disease…the average patient survives only 2-5 years following diagnosis.” The second charity is Camp Promise East who hosts a summer camp each year for people of all ages with muscular dystrophy. The collection of funds for both charities is going on now until the end of June, so if you’re having some SBC brews, remember to ask for the “Help Line.” You’ll be helping out big time.
And also Garden Catering of Old Greenwich is helping raise money again, too. They’ll be donating a portion of their sales to the same two charities on May 22 from 2 to 7 pm. They’ll be donating 10% of all in-store sales and will donate 20% of all gift card sales. You know what that means? Yup! Plenty of birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Groundhogs Day, and any other holiday where you get presents for the people you love. Or, maybe you’ll just hoard them for yourself to make that next trip to Garden Catering a bit easier?
If you didn’t know, Dan teaches middle school English. So, it’s no surprise that he values reading, literacy, and the pursuit of knowledge. Hey, life isn’t about just food. Also, we both value libraries. They educate, they bring the community together, and they move the world ahead. That being said, we are all aware of the money crisis throughout America and we know that libraries often end up on the chopping block. And, being former Stamford residents, we have seen hours cut and worse, but we have also seen people work together to keep the local library system going. For example, local businesses such as Citizens Bank and Pitney Bowes have sponsored Sunday hours at The Ferguson Library.
The three bbq sauces at Bar Q BBQ and Saloon
And, another major source of funds comes from The Ferguson Library’s annual fundraiser, A Novel Affair. This year the food, drinks, music, fun, and auctions are going down on Thursday, 4/25, starting at 6 pm. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased here. Let’s share with you some of the amazing things that you can look forward to:
Noms (that’s food in our language)
Garlic mustard takes over, but not for long… (photo from SM&NC)
To celebrate Earth Day, Stamford Museum & Nature Center (only one of our most favoritest places ever) is doing something a bit different. Just a day before Earth Day, on April 21 from 9 am – 12:30 pm, volunteers will join in for the first ever Garlic Mustard Pull. See, guess some people in the 1860s thought it’d be cool to bring over some garlic mustard to North America. They would eat it and would even use it as medicine. Guess they didn’t realize, though, it would take over this continent like The Beatles or, better yet, One Direction or Justin Bieber. According to SM&NC, if nothing is done about the garlic mustard, it will basically choke out other life in forests and nature, dominating and decimating the biodiversity of our land.
Volunteers will pull up the garlic mustard that’s found throughout SM&NC and it will be collected. By the end of the day, the garlic mustard leaves will be donated to local food banks, helping to feed the hungry. The staff encourage you, also, to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after you’ve rid SM&NC of these invasive pests. Anybody 11 or older can volunteer, but if you’re 11-14 you’ll need to have an adult with you. Eat for Equity Stamford has already stepped up, pledging to help. How ’bout you? Also, SM&NC is looking for team captains to help oversee the pulling. Please contact Cathryn Oulighan by April 17 by calling her at (203) 977-6530 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Plates started January 2011 in Norwalk, rescuing food from restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores that would otherwise hit a landfill. Then, from there, volunteers would deliver the food to local shelters and food kitchens throughout Fairfield County. As time went on, the restaurants and stores started to add up, so did the food collected, and so did the volunteers.
The Community Plates mission only grew from there, with them expanding their food rescuing through volunteerism into Columbus, Ohio and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Getting food onto the plates of the hungry is no easy feat, but the GoRescue app that they developed has made it easier. In fact, in under two years, they have rescued over one million meals that were transferred to over 300 volunteer drivers who then delivered them to over 40 receiving agencies. Now New Haven is on board, too, helping the food insecure. Executive Director Kevin Mullins explains why New Haven was an ideal location: “We selected New Haven as our next launch site due to the high incidence of food insecurity and proximity to our headquarters in Fairfield County, but those were not the only reasons. We are about communities helping their own communities, and New Haven has a rich tradition in grassroots organizations which is critical in this first phase as we sign up volunteer food runners, food donors and receiving agencies. We just knew this was the right place.”