At City Steam Brewery Cafe, the owners concoct some of the area’s finest beers, scoring “best of” awards from Hartford magazine and Connecticut Magazine. They also brew potent batches of laughter inside their 200-seat comedy show-room theater. Ensconced in the historic Brown Thomson and Co. building, which was the state’s largest department store in 1877, Brew Ha Ha once was known as the Last Laugh Comedy Club, where fledgling unknowns such as Ray Romano and Kevin James vied for laughs in the smoky rathskeller of a restaurant.
Reborn in 1997 under a new moniker, the standup speakeasy keeps its calendar packed with nationally touring comics and local joke slingers. During shows, guests can toast with mugs of handcrafted beer and make edible sculptures of their favorite comedian using menu’s custom burgers, pizzas, and omelets.
Presented by Valley Discount Wine & Liquor, Hoptoberfest lets taste buds loose on a bounty of frothy pours. As many as 130 beers and a smattering of spirits anoint tasting glasses, letting beer connoisseurs expand their palates wider than that of a whale sommelier. A selection of food complements the diverse brews, and attendees can sit and listen or get up and groove while live bands electrify the air with popular tunes. All proceeds from the festival benefit the Seymour Ambulance Association and Ansonia Civil Defense Rescue Association.
SBC Restaurant & Brewery lines up an inviting smorgasbord of comfort food to be devoured alongside an arsenal of brewed on-site beers. Take in the expanse of the appetite-assassinating lunch menu (served from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.) and try not to set off the fire alarms while your head smokes with indecision before easing yourself in with the SBC calamari, which comes prepared three ways: crispy with marinara and rémoulade, fried with hot peppers and artichoke hearts, and sticky with a sweet chili Sriracha glaze ($6.99). Follow that up with the crispy chicken salad, festooned with mandarin oranges, grape tomatoes, gorgonzola, and honey white balsamic vinaigrette ($12.99), or the margherita pizza topped with sliced fresh tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella and basil ($10). SBC burgers are 8 ounces of natural custom-quality beef served on a handmade roll and topped with american, provolone, cheddar, swiss, fontina, or mozzarella cheese ($7.99).
At The Wine Press, aficionados crush, press, rack, and bottle their own brand of wine. Overseen by the shop's staff, amateur winemakers craft their silky reds with the same process as modern-day wineries. Through this process, they learn how much time and care goes into winemaking. They can produce varietals such as sangiovese or pinot noir or create hybrids such as a cabernet-merlot or a sentient pinot-human. To show off the possibilities of winemaking at their facility, The Wine Press also leads guided tours and wine tastings during the summer months.