Local brewery to offer Litchfield County Lager

Click to enlarge

TORRINGTON — This week, a new permanent flavor was added to the Cambridge House Brew Pub, and it has Litchfield County written all over it.

The Litchfield County Lager is now one of the four permanent craft brews on tap at the downtown pub, along with its IPA, Kolsch and Stout flavors, said owner Steve Boucino. While Boucino operates another Cambridge House Brew Pub in Granby, the Torrington branch will be the only locale where the Litchfield County Lager can be enjoyed, he said.

“We thought it’d be fun just for the northwest county,” Boucino said.

Since February, the pub has been officially crafting its own beers, after being opened since last fall. As the pub prepares to enter its first summer in Torrington, the seasonal craft brew will have its time to shine.

Boucino said the Cambridge House will feature eight to 12 seasonal drafts a year, averaging about one each month, he said. Some of the experimental flavors the venue hopes to have include a chocolate pumpkin spice, a raspberry wheat and the newly anointed Breakfast Summer Ale, Boucino said.

One man stands behind the crafting of all these brews — 25-year-old Head Brewer Stephen Luke.

Luke brews once week, getting up at 6 a.m. to get the oats and barley rolling in the mixer, one of the first steps in producing the tap beer. The process includes several levels thereafter, and is all heavily based on accurate and exact timing, Luke said.

So how does it all happen? Luke demonstrated the crafting of Breakfast Summer Ale Thursday.

First, the malt is steeped in water for three days, along with the barley, which causes it to germinate and sprout slightly, Luke said. After the steeping stops, it activates the sugar-enzymes, and is then milled and mashed all at 162 degrees Fahrenheit.

As this goes on, water is sprinkled on the mash, which combines with the sugar to create a mixture called wort, Luke said. The wort is then transferred to the boil kettle and the remaining oats and wheat are removed from the tank into large bins, which is then distributed to a local farm as animal feed, he said.

In the boil kettle, hops are added to give the brew its bitter and aromatic taste, he said.

“If you don’t add hops, it’d be undrinkably sweet,” Luke said.

Before hops became common among brewers in the mid-19th century, brews would be made with other plants such as pine needles, spruce needles and rosemary, he said.

Depending on the type of brew, other flavors are added to each boil kettle. In the case of the Breakfast Summer Ale, Luke added several quarts of honey.

After the boiling mixture cools to 65 degrees, the wort turns to beer as the yeast eats through the sugar to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol, the two by-products, Luke said. All of this, at Cambridge House, are done in the main fermenting machines sitting right at the window facing Main Street.

Luke said he is the main person who determines the ingredients of the beers, and he orders all of the necessary products for them. The pub tries to obtain local ingredients for the beers, he said.

As an example, in crafting his Summer Breakfast Ale, Cambridge House utilizes oats from Holly’s Oatmeal on East Main Street to mash along with the barley, Luke said.

As long as the four key brews are consistently made, it is up to Luke to experiment on what to make for the extra taps.

“When I get an open line, it’s my turn to play,” he said.

The Cambridge House Brew Pub currently offers its own brews and other microbrews and craft brews. Examples are Thomas Hooker Beer and Long Trail, which is made in Vermont, Boucino said. The focus is on craft brews, and no major macro brew companies — such as Budweiser and Miller — are offered at the pub.

“If the customer base demands it, then we would have to provide it,” he said.

So far, however, in the four-years of Granby and the past year of Torrington, nobody has asked the Cambridge House for those major beer brands.

The most important for the pub, is that people know it is a “middle-of-the-road” regular place, Boucino said.

“We came to Torrington because we saw opportunity,” he said. “We’re not high end, we’re not meant to be upscale… you can come here off the golf course, or off of a construction job, for a beer.”

Ronald DeRosa can be reached by e-mail at torrington@registercitizen.com.


The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of registercitizen.com.

Expensive Beer wrote on May 29, 2009 6:33 AM:

" Yeah, at five bucks a pint, why would I go to this place again? So I can watch them make the beer? No thanks. The Mexican restaurnt around the corner charges half that price. I guess it's just nor as fancy though. High society in Torrington! "

Been there wrote on May 29, 2009 7:46 AM:

" The food is terrible and the beer is warm. "

beer helping ugly folks get some action wrote on May 29, 2009 8:16 AM:

" good luck to the brew house
ps. how do I get free advertising for my business? "

I Know wrote on May 29, 2009 8:52 AM:

" This newspaper seems to be pushing the brewhouse down everyones throat.Must be the staff of RC get a discount on their drinks or something. "

bru wrote on May 29, 2009 8:53 AM:

" Love the Cambridge House....excellent beer, great food & music. Nice to have nearby, without having to travel to Granby for a night out. Keep up the good work....Thanks for naming a brew for Litchfield County - looking forward to giving it a try. "

ts wrote on May 29, 2009 9:03 AM:

" We really like the Cambridge House.It's a great place to go out with a large group of friends, especially when a band is playing! So happy to have in Torrington. Best of Luck to the cambridge House "

rastaman wrote on May 29, 2009 9:35 AM:

" The beer is great here, food is good too. Yea, the beer is a little more expensive but it's WAY better, fresher, and made on the spot. Well worth the price if you really enjoy good beer...you get what you pay for. "

dls wrote on May 29, 2009 9:55 AM:

" We LOVE the Cambridge House! The food is great, the beer is great and the atmosphere is unrivaled in T-town. Keep up the good work! "

People who dont like wrote on May 29, 2009 9:58 AM:

" the beer just don't know what a good beer is, they're used to Busch. "

pebble wrote on May 29, 2009 11:13 AM:

" I don't care for beer. Probably have 3 to 4 cans of bud light per year. My favorite is a non-alchoholic beverage to quench my thirst. "

sales taxes wrote on May 29, 2009 11:55 AM:

" are they paying them? Cause they didn't in Granby. "

Steve B wrote on May 29, 2009 1:32 PM:

" Hand crafted pints (16oz) are actually
$3.00 from 3 - 6 & 10 - close. "

db wrote on May 29, 2009 2:10 PM:

" The beers aren't 5 bucks each ...plus they have two happy hours with $3 pints 3-6 and 10 to close. Very reasonable for their beers! Always have had a positive experience. Bartenders and staff are friendly! Love the portobello app and lobster mac and cheese! "

RE Cambridge wrote on May 29, 2009 3:15 PM:

" People can go to the Cambridge or not go. The economy is bad, Cambridge is a new place in Torrington. If they sell beer or anything else people shouldn't hope they go under and complain when they get advertisement. They have food there and for the beer drinkers they are letting the public knew what they have on tap or want to have on tap. The place brings in a good crowd of people.

The beer is expensive but your paying for quality product. Lot of work goes into the production.

I watched a program on Discovery Channel some weeks ago that covered a little of the history of beer and how they make it. Showed a few big companies, think Harpoon was on there, can't remember the others. I think they said budweiser is brewed in a shorter amount of time. They showed the budweiser getting made and then the really good quality beer.

In one country there is a place where they brew their own alcohol, might be in Switzerland. They let the person get into a bath tub and take a bath in beer. They pump beer out the faucet. They say it's good for the skin. "

Pay Up wrote on May 29, 2009 7:55 PM:

" Maybe Boucino should pay the city what he owes it. "

b.a.r. wrote on May 29, 2009 9:25 PM:

" maybe it's time to relax, enjoy a beer and watch the ball game

just want to watch the ball game nurse ratchet......

....support local businesses, musicians and help your neighbors keep their jobs......mmmmm now there's a thought.... "

Laura Lee wrote on May 29, 2009 9:43 PM:

" Just like a good wine costs more than the average jug of screw top bottles of wine... a good beer costs a bit more, and it's worth it! No one complains when they pay $8.00 for 6 oz's of wine!!, and they get 8-12 oz's of great beer for the same price. Stick with quality craft beer!! "

Submit a Comment

We encourage your feedback and dialog. All comments are moderated by the editors. We ask you to follow a few simple guidelines when commenting on stories on registercitizen.com.
1) Please post responsibly.
2) Be polite.
3) Don't hate.
4) If you object to someone's post, use the "Report Abuse" button and we'll review it.
5) Users who don't play by the rules will be blocked and won't be allowed to participate.


Jobs Homes Autos


Browse print ads, find online deals, and search valuable coupons from local retailers!

Place An Ad, Special Sections, Classifieds

National AP Headlines

View all AP National Headlines

Blog Center

Northwest Connecticut Politics

All the latest news and opinion.

The RC's Local Entertainment Blog

What are you doing for fun? We'll give you some ideas with The Register Citizen's Local Entertainment Blog.

From the Publisher's Desk

Publisher Matt DeRienzo offers the inside story with dispatches directly from The Publisher's Desk.

More Blogs