10 of the Country’s Most Interesting Breweries
When you’re a brewer and your family owns B. United, an American importer for respected and iconic breweries, you are afforded the means to indulge every sour beer maker’s wildest fantasies—and to conjure up new ones.
Enter custom-made Bavarian granite fermenters, a Kenyan Urwaga fermenting pit, an orchard, greenhouses bursting with herbs, grapes and exotic fruits from around the world, or a barn in which your creations are allowed to fluctuate with the seasons while snug in their barrels. And while you’re at it, throw in some of the best European sours in the world to blend with your own beers, a bakery that crafts artisanal breads made with your wort, and a tasting room where your copper brewing system and coolship are two of the most prominent features.
OEC (Ordinem Ecentrici Coctores, or Order of the Eccentric Boilers) is a sour beer nirvana in the woods of Connecticut that developed a cult following for pushing the boundaries of American sour beer production.
Take a recent release, Morpheus & Phantasus, which is a blend of Brouwerij Alvinne Morpheus lambic-style beer and five OEC sour ales that were matured in pinot noir, gin, tequila and Zinfandel barrels. Each of the beers ranged between 5 months and 3 years old.
OEC owner Ben Neidhart, whose father, Matthias, is president of B. United, serves visitors beer in the tasting room on Saturdays (typically the only day OEC opens its doors), and long lines are common for some releases, such as a recent release of Experimentalis with kumquats and peaches.
OEC offers tours of the brewery and the B. United facility (the vintage cellar is a thing of beauty) just a few times a year, and the tours sell out quickly, so grab the remaining 2017 dates while you can.