Ships come in many forms. On the one hand, there is the Port Jefferson ferry, which bypasses choked highways to deliver travelers across the Long Island Sound. Then there is the daintier coolship, a rare vessel in the craft brewing world that is stationary but cools wort (the grain-extracted liquid that become beer) and lets in wild yeast and microflora to make beers such as lambics.
Come mid-March, Long Island beer explorers can experience both in the same day: Hop the ferry to a new, experimental arm of Two Roads Brewing Co., Connecticut’s largest brewery, where a custom-built coolship is newly installed -- as is a sleek tasting room for sampling its results.
Area Two, as its called, is a soaring new facility for fermenting sour beers and cask-aging others, and it’s about 10 minutes from the Bridgehampton ferry terminus, in Stratford (Uber can take you there, as can a vintage school bus that Two Roads runs Friday through Sunday).
The 6-year-old Two Roads is housed in an old steel factory 800 feet away; Area Two, by contrast, is all clean lines and oak barrels, and is the playground of Phil Markowski, Two Road’s brewmaster. Markowski’s name might sound familiar: He spent 16 years as brewmaster at Southhampton Public House before returning to his native Connecticut to join Two Roads in 2012.
Markowski, who has written a book on farmhouse-style ales, seemed quietly happy as he recently led a tour of towering French oak casks (one was filled with a sour cherry kriek, a Belgian-style beer) and old wine and bourbon barrels stacked high inside the aging room. He designed the coolship, a Scandinavian-looking structure with vented wooden walls. Inside, an open steel tank is where lambics and sours are born.
Area Two will enable the brewery to expand its sours and cask-aged offerings, said CEO Brad Hittle — and while visitors can’t necessarily go inside the coolship, they can sip Area Two’s beers and ales in a modern upstairs tasting room with a wetland view (This summer, a rooftop beer garden will open).
On tap just before opening: A punchy blood-peach lambic; a kombucha made with sour cherries and rooibos tea; and Table Terroir, a crisp ale made with local-to-Connecticut hops and grain.
Area Two/Two Roads Brewing Co., 1700 Stratford Ave., Stratford, Conn.; 203-335-2010, tworoadsbrewing.com