Alcohol Around East Haddam
Updated: Jan 13
In and around East Haddam, several alcohol producers have opened their businesses and their tap rooms to the public. While East Haddam is not home to a brewery, there is a winery and cider tap room. Fortunately, there are several excellent breweries surrounding East Haddam as well as additional wineries - making it perfect for an afternoon trip!
Starting from the north the first stop along your Connecticut River alcohol tour should be Fat Orange Cat in East Hampton. Located at 47 Tartia Road, Fat Orange Cat (FOC) is open seasonal hours starting in the spring and through the fall. FOC creates small batches of beers on-site and then uses the 12 Percent Beer Collective to scale these beers to meet demand. Using this model, they haven't really become known for any one particular type of beer. But enjoying FOC's beers in the native environment, versus off the shelf, is certainly a treat and enhances the experience.
Next stop would be over to Priam Vineyards in Colchester, just a few minutes away from FOC. Located at 11 Shailor Hill Road, this winery is set on a scenic hill surrounded by grapes. This farm winery is entirely solar powered and is very close to the Napa Valley experience you would get out in California - that is to say very high-end and poised. You'll find a range of wines produced onsite from a blend of the Vineyard's own grapes as well as imports from around the world.
From there, follow Connecticut Highway 149 through Moodus and into East Haddam proper, where it connects up with CT-151 and then to CT-82. Just beyond the intersection for CT-82 and CT-151 is where you will find East Haddam's winery as well as East Haddam's cidery. We recommend going to the winery tasting room first, and then cider tap room but being only a minute from each other you can visit them in either order.
At Staehly Farm Winery, located at 278 Town Street, you'll find a quaint little marketplace with farm goods and a standing bar for wine tastings. Similar to Priam Vineyards, the Winery grows its own fruit but at this winery the main input for the wine is non-grape fruits. The winemaker takes special care to produce a fruit wine that is not overly sweet - In fact one of the whites has lower sugar than most Napa Pinots! The result is a beautifully crafted wine that highlights the flavor of the apples and other fruits used without the cloying sweetness of dessert wines.
Using fruit from the same farm, Yankee Cider Company is producing hard ciders which you can try at the cider tap room located just around the corner from the winery at 23 Petticoat Lane. We recommend visiting the Winery first because while the tasting room is for tastings only, the Cider Barn tap room offers both Staehly Farm Winery wines and Yankee Hard Ciders for glass pours and tastings. Typically at the cider tap room you will find additional wines not available for tasting at the Winery in addition to many tasty types of hard ciders. Yankee Cider Barn's tap room is the first of its kind in Connecticut; all of the ciders are made with fruit grown on the East Haddam farm.
The final two destinations are interchangeable depending on what you're in the mood for. Both are located to the south of East Haddam: Sunset Hill Vineyard in Lyme and Fox Farm Brewery in Salem.
Sunset Hill is located at 5 Elys Ferry Road and is a hybrid of the Staehly Farm Winery and Priam Vineyard experiences. Boasting beautiful vineyard acreage, the winery produces just a few different varieties of grape wines entirely from fruit grown on the property. The tasting room is similar to Staehly Farm Winery's being just a small space but the ambiance is fantastic.
Fox Farm Brewery, at 62 Music Vale Road in Salem, is similarly known for using ingredients that it grows on the property in its beers. Similar to Yankee Cider Company, it is located within a renovated barn and surrounded by picnic tables for outdoor enjoyment of your beer. Fox Farm produces a broad range of beers and, like FOC, doesn't have just one thing that it does well. If Fox Farm is high on your list of places to go, you may want to consider visiting the different alcohol producers listed here in reverse order, as Fox Farm tends to sell out frequently and early.