Overshores Brewing Company, Connecticut’s first and only dedicated Belgian brewery, in its world debut won third place at last Sunday’s CPTV Craft Beer and Chili Challenge at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Overshores Brewing's beers Tripel Brun and Belgian Simple stood out in a field of over 70 breweries, including a number of true Belgian imports.
The CPTV Craft Beer and Chili Challenge was the first time retailers, distributors and beer connoisseurs had the opportunity to taste Overshores’ line of Belgian style beers.
“We’re really energized by the response from our first public tasting of Overshores,” said Christian Amport, founder and president of Overshores Brewing Co. “Belgian beer is exciting to brew, exciting to try and we are very encouraged by the great reception by our new fans in Connecticut. To take third place in our first beer fest is absolutely huge for us."
Of the competitors present, Overshores ranked above brewing giant Chimay.
Amport wrote down the business plan for the brewery in the fall of 2008 while he was studying for his MBA at Boston College. He finally pulled the trigger on incorporating Overshores Brewery as a corporate entity in Killingworth, Conn. in Feb. of 2010, developing recipes, a website, label artwork and investor relationships in the meantime.
Amport says he attended the University of Vermont, where he was introduced to American Craft beer and then spent a year in New York before moving back to Connecticut.
"It's hard to be there (VT) and not be impressed by craft American beer," says Amport. "The one thing I lamented is Connecticut did not have a well developed beer culutre that Vermont has. New York has come a long way, but not ubiquitous like it is in Vermont. I always thought of moving back to Connecticut and if I wanted there to be a true beer culture, I shouldn't wait for others to do it. I'd have to do it myself."
Why Belgian beer?
"'Cause I love it," Amport responds promptly. "It’s what I live for in the beer world. It's the most exciting sub-niche in beer right now."
Amport explains that Belgian beer isn't so much a type or category for different brews, rather, it's an umbrella under which certain brews stand.
"It's very liberating to brew within the guideline of the Belgian style because there really are no guidelines. It's Belgian characteristics, not so much rules. The point of brewing goes beyond an obscure idea of authenticity or culture relevance," says Amport.
In a way, Overshores brews embody the experimentation of an American Craft with the freedom of the Belgian umbrella.
As Autumn approaches, beer enthusiasts such as myself shift their selection to brews more appropriate for crisp temperatures. Amport suggests Overshores' Triple Brun, a darker, richer brew sure to compliment a variety of dishes, such as shepherd's pie, beef stew and spiced sweet potatoes. Amport says it's a very flexible beer that pairs up nicely with any spice.
Here's the bad news: you can't try it...yet. Overshores Brewery is still in its infancy in terms of heavily regulated business bureaucracy. Before any of the fine and fantastic brews you enjoy so much can be brewed, distributed and poured into your chilled glass, various licenses and permits need to be obtained, followed by label approval, finding a location, making sure every single aspect of the brewery is up to code...Amport says the process is extensive and still in the works.
I for one am thrilled to have Belgian brewers incorporated in Killingworth and look forward to tasting the Triple Brun as soon as it is commercially available.
For more information on tastings and events with Overshores Brewery, be sure to request a follow-up this article. You'll know as soon as we know.
For more information, please visit the Overshores Brewery website.