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Willimantic Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
BA SCORE
3.9/5
Very Good
663 Ratings
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

967 Main St
Willimantic, Connecticut, 06226-2330
United States

(860) 423-6777 | map
willibrew.com

Notes:
AKA - Main Street Café

Added by BeerAdvocate

BEER STATS
Beers:
93
Reviews:
290
Ratings:
663
PLACE STATS
BA Score:
4.31/5
Reviews:
105
Ratings:
157
pDev:
8.12%
 
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Ratings: 157 |  Reviews: 105
Photo of slander
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Located not remotely near a damn thing, Willimantic Brewing Co. is the last out post (office) before civilization ends. We had to spend some time mulling around suspiciously in the parking lot before they opened, braving the elements on this warm, oft drizzley late April Sunday, but neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these BA's from the swift completion of a few appointed rounds...
Entering through the side doors of this old abandoned post office, you're at the foot of the main dining room, seating throughout and a bunch of fermenters and mashers displayed in a small glass room. The old PO boxes are still over there in the corner and they've got postal pieces here and there. Around the bend lies long narrow room with a 60 foot mahogany bar that seats roughly 20, and about a dozen tables lying adjacent running it's length. It's a nice room with mirrors behind the bar, large windows above and giant framed windows to the front of the room. High ceilings with fans a-spinnin', TV's, a wine rack that holds 9 dozen bottles, and tap handles lining a good part of the length of the bar up above. Some of them are great old handles of beers and breweries past, New England Holiday Ale & Oatmeal Stout, Elm City, Post Road, Oregon, etc.
There's a blackboard over the bar listing the current house taps, 8 beers of which a few were IPA varieties and a cask Golden Ale.
I sampled the Rail Mail Rye (an unfiltered rye beer), the Uninhibited IPA (a 4 hop IPA), the IDA (dark and pleasant), and the Pony Espresso Stout (an unfiltered stout made from Mt. Hood hops and decaf espresso). The stout was thinnish and not too stouty and I don't know why they made it decaf but they did.
Additionally, there were 30 guest taps, 20 of which were New England offerings, mostly from Connecticut (Hooker, Old Burnside, Cottrell) and Massachussetts (Farmington River, Buzzards Bay, Paper City, Sam, Harpoon) and the remainder were the likes of Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada, Victory, Corsendonk, Spaten, Delirium Tremons, Lindemans, Stella, Beamish. A small collection of shitty bottled macros, malternatives and NA's and the Victory Old Horizontal and the Wyndham Grim Reaper Barleywine. Most unusual.
We grabbed a light bite, I had the soup and a dessert, all good there. Service was pleasant and offered up samples of this and that of their house brews to help us along in our decision making processes.
If you've never read Eudora Welty's, "Why I live at the P.O.", let me save you the read... it was probably because they made great beer.

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Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Great building, with alot of character. Large dining room, long bar, nice little outside eating area. All in all a super beer destination, with about 10 quality micros on tap, mixed in with several tap wasters, and about 10 of their own high quality brews also on tap and available for growler fills. When I visited they had several wheat beers and several IPA of their own makings available. Extensive pub grub plus menu. Dave the owner and brewer is a fine and gracious host. He's a disc golfer to boot! This is a very worthy spot, offering many fine beer options.

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Photo of Sammy
3.89/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I travelled and stayed far from home to see this brewpub, and did come away disapointed. No heavy abvs here in the summer, I was pleased to find three saisons on tap. Near a Best Western, a half hour from Hartford. A very decent and very generous guest tap selection.Roomy inside, with a small but nice patio outside. Good mix of people, ages, decorum. A few rooms filled with tables in this historical building. Parking lot. Near an unusual bridge with big frogs. Bartenderess was a little annoyed at the end of what looked like a hot fussy day,but did not bother me.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.71/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of qcbrewer
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Photo of Yetiman420
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This was stop #250 on my quest to visit every quality brewery in North America.

We stopped in for lunch on a Saturday. Impressive building (an old post office) and they have hops running up the front of the building - probably 60 feet - which I later learning they do use for aroma in their beers.

They had three different IPA's on tap including an imperial IPA that was more barleywine to me. They also had an awesome selection of guest taps from local micros.

We sat at the bar and our server was very friendly and knew her stuff.

A worthwile stop for the great beers/selection and the architecture of an old post office.

 631 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -30.4%

Photo of nickfl
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is one of the most interesting brewpub locations I have ever been to. This old post office building has been transformed into a brewpub in a way that retains a lot of the character of the old building. I sat at the bar and it was fairly crowded on a Sunday afternoon. They had six of their own beers on tap plus quite a few guest beers. I tried a 5 beer sampler and then a pint to sample them all and while the beer was kind of hit or miss there was a nice chocolate porter and a pretty decent DIPA in the mix. I had a very good burger and the menu offered quite a few other options for anyone who might want something a little more upscale. As a bonus, they had their own kombucha on tap and while it isn't actually a beer, it is really worth trying. This was definitely worth the visit, and I would definitely come back if I am ever in the area again.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped by yesterday (11MAR10) for lunch. Still a super place. About 6-7 house biers, and closer to 20 guest taps. The Buffalo Chicken Wrap was real nice, and the service is still quite good.
Wish it were closer to home... Same scores, and Prosit!!

*** *** ***

31MAR02 - Willimantic is a very interesting place....situated in an old Post Office building that was abandoned in 1967. They had 5 of their own biers on tap...and it was a good range...golden ale...IPA...stout... Their Veg IPA was top-notch! Also had 15 or so guest biers...mostly local micros, but also Victory Storm King and Golden Monkey! The woman behind the bar was very attentive and helpful. Had appetizers to chow, and they were pretty good. Will definitely stop by again if I'm in the area! Zum Wohl!!!

overall: 4.4
atmosphere: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

2

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Photo of akorsak
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

En route to the wedding, Willibrew is only a slight detour (slight is a relative term). We visited on a Tuesday night, two days removed from the most recent snowfall. The area still hasn't recovered.

Atmosphere: We entered through the bar, a long, spacious wooden one that has televisions on both ends. At least 15 guest taps, by my estimate, joined the 7 tap and 1 cask in-house offerings. Winding our way around to the dining area, we were seating in a large, breweriana-adorned room.

Quality: Service, food and beers were all good. We were even seated at a hoity-toity table reserved for large parties (thank you, Lizzie).

Service: Sarah was friendly and helpful, visiting us regularly, even as the dining area got busier. I returned later that night for a nightcap and the bartender (didn't catch a name) was also prompt.

Selection: This is where Willibrew comes through. In addition to its 8 offerings, the guest line-up includes locals and heavy hitters. I stayed with the in-house line and slowly worked my way through 7 of the 8 in some form or another. Even took a growler of Rail Mail Rye home with me.

Food: Food was also good, the menu punctuated with zip codes for each offering, a nod to the postal origins of the building. My Bulk Mail burrito was good (lighten up on the beans and add more chicken, please). Finger food for shorties is available too.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place is awesome. Erica and I went here two weeks in a row, once on a Sunday afternoon and once on a Saturday night. Although the first visit was marred by me being a bit sick, the second visit more than made up for the first. The atmosphere here is great. As you may or may no know this place is located in the old post office building of Willimantic. Having a brewpub/restaurant in this big, ornate 1910 structure was just an awesome idea as the atmosphere is great with the long bar in the pub room, and the many nice tables in the restaurant section. Although the SUPER high celings are a bit distracting as noise carries very easily and there is almost a school cafeteria vibe going on. Never-the-less I like the atmosphere here. The selection and quality of brews is excellent. Between two trips there were 14 house-brewed beers on-tap as well as 20+ other New England micros with a good spread from all of the NE states (CT, NH, MA, ME, VT, no RI brews though ;-). The quality of all of the beers sampled was excellent. I got a 5 beer sampler (with 5 5 oz glasses of brew for $4.75) both times I was here, and several glasses as well. Between both visits I tried 8 brews. Of these 8 I would say that 2 we're good, but not great, 1 was very good, 1 was very strange, but awesome, and the other 4 were just amazingly well crafted and world-class. Some of the best beers that I have ever had, were had on-tap here. Service was very good both times with quick service, and polite manners. On the second visit I thought our waiters did an excellent job. The food here is 5 star quality as well. The biggest/best? nachos we have ever had were had here, and the ale-onion soup I had was one of the best i've had as well. All in all this is an awesome, cool-looking place with excellent service, selection, quality, and food. Although it is so out of the way for me I may never be back, I urge all beer and food lovers to at least make the pilgrimage out here once. This is probably the best brewpub in CT, and perhaps the best in all of New England. Oh, and say hi for the frog bridge for me too!

 2,101 characters

Photo of Iamjeff6
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I was happy to get the chance to stop at Willimantic with friends on two occasions - once for drinks and the next day for lunch and a brew.

The brewpub is actually a renovated old post office which is a really unique concept - the brewhouse is where the registered malt cage once was I am assuming. the kitchen is downstairs and the bar area is where the mail sorting happened -they have wine bottles stored in the letter slots. The atmospher is casual and relaxed with a friendly locals vibe. The service is very good-quick, friendly, accurate and we met the brewer who gave us a few samples from a barrel that was aging a flanders red - excellent!

The food is well made and tasty - the menu has plenty of variety and some unique items like mandarin chicken wrap. I had the onion ale soup which was really cheesy and delicious w/ pumpernickle bread crust soakin the oniony broth. They have plenty of wing sauce levels too if you enjoy some heat.

I was pleased with the choices of house brews which included a bock, rye, Ipa, pale and wheat but they also have plenty of guest taps which make over 25 choices overall.

The quality and value are well above average -you can tell everyone works together to create a comfortable dining and drinking experience - I am really impressed with the quality level of beers across the board and the people couldn't be friendlier -top notch place to have a craft brew and eat!

 1,417 characters

Photo of mltobin
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

After much procrastination, I finally made the trip out to WilliBrew. It is located right along Main Street in Willimantic, which had more traffic in the middle of the day on a work day than I would have expected.
The setting is a former post office, with a very tall ceiling and a good amount space in general. You can sit at the long bar right at the main entrance or one of their many tables. Their beer sampler of 5 pours is a very good option. Nugget IPA & Salacious Saison were a couple of the favorites that I tried. Food was pretty good, especially the garlic fries. And the staff does a nice job of keeping up with the busy crowd w/ a positive attitude. For those who live closer to WBC, consider yourself fortunate.

 725 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We stopped off in Willimantic back in February to check out this brewpub on the way back from a Boston visit for the EBF. Pretty cool atmosphere here, as the brewpub is in what used to be the town's post office and the theme reflects that. Lots of postal and beer themed memorabilia are all over the place. It's all a little cluttered but there is lots to look at and it generally gives off a fairly cozy ambience. The postal theme even carries over to the menu with some of the beers and many of the food items being named after zip codes or towns that are in the surrounding area. The brewhouse is prominently featured to the right as you walk into the dining area and did I mention the giant movie screen hanging from the ceiling? It appears that they have movie nights available during dining as well. They also have Stein Sundays, where you can bring in your own stein and have it filled. It's always cool when a brewpub goes the extra mile with fun things like that.

They also have a rather classic (and long) looking bar along the back portion of the building, from which they were dispensing 5 house beers and a huge 26 guest taps! For the house beers, they didn't have the large number of IPAs on that I understand they usually do but with the hop shortage going on, it's totally understandable. As a matter of fact, it looked like they were being released in more of the staggered pattern now. Luckily, I was able to enjoy a pint of their "Pushing the Envelope" DIPA, which did just that, loaded with hops, malt, and alcohol. I also really enjoyed their Valentine's themed S.W.A.K. Stout, which was rich with tasty vanilla notes.

They also have a pretty large and varied menu here with salads, sandwiches, and appetizers being reasonably priced and most entrees being more expensive, in the $15-20 range. Beers were generally pretty reasonable, being in the $4-5 range. Service was a little all over the place. Our waitress had not only us but a couple of other large tables to deal with and seemed to get a little scatterbrained at times, especially when it came time to get the check. We did get great service though from the seating hostess, who went out of her way to hook us up with some merch that we wanted to buy, so we'll call it a wash. We still loved the beers and overall atmosphere here though and still had a great time. I'm really glad that we stopped, as we had heard a lot of great things about it. Although its out-of-the-way location makes it hard to call it a destination spot, this is still a must hit if your in Eastern CT.

 2,559 characters

Photo of rousee
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped by this place on my way home over Memorial Day weekend '08. The mapquest directions off their website are perfect and its real easy to find. Its about 20 miles due north on rte 32-off of I-395--so it really wasnt too far out of the way at all.

The building that it is located in-is an old post office or government building and while it is nice architecturally, I felt it was situated too close to the main street. When I first walked in, I noticed the lovely smell of malt but there really wasnt anything real nice about the interior--just kind of average looking. Not dirty looking but not especially clean either. We opted to sit outside in the front yard because the weather was beautiful. The only problem is its pretty noisy out there with Harley Davidsons cruising by and an occasional siren from a firetruck or police car.

I opted to try a sampler which is your choice of 5 of their beers on-tap. They have a very extensive selection of guest beers too-almost all of which are craft which is real nice to see. The beers I tried were a flavored (pomegranite) hefe, the gold lager , an IPA, a rye and a cream ale. All of the beers were true to style, fresh and clean tasting. The cream ale and the rye may have been 2 of the best examples of these respective styles that I have tried. Big kudos to the brewer and I liked that they didnt have much of a sameyness to them which many brewpub offerings often do.

We had eaten a big breakfast earlier, so we werent too hungry but we did have the mussels and some onion rings as a light lunch and they were both good. The service was good and the guy was pretty friendly. I didnt really test him on how much he knew about beer because that type thing is just not very important to me. Prices were reasonable and I would definitely go back.

One other thing that needs mentioning is apprently, Connecticut is the only New England state remaining that wont sell alcohol to go on a Sunday. Would have loved to purchase some growlers to try at home but they couldnt sell them to me on a Sunday.

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Photo of Deuane
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

What more can be said. I have been here a handful of times now over the years and every visit has been very pleasant.

The building is simply fantastic and must been seen to be appreciated.

Service has always been solid and cheerful with the servers actually knowing something about the beer they serve! The food falls into this line too...solid and tasty. Last time I had a delicious Rhode Island style clam chowder that I loved so much that when I came home I made my own version.

As fas as the beers....usually solid to fantastic. Plenty of house brewed tap choices along with occasional guests and usually a cask selection or two.

A totally solid establishment and it is with little wonder that they are ranked in the top 50 places to have a beer in the USA. If you are anywhere even close to WilliBrew do yourself a favor and GO!

 838 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

*** Growlers filled until 9PM ***

Set in a former UnitednStates Post Office and it shows. This is their motif from their logo to their beer names. Ominous concrete building that will instantly strike you with the urge to order stamps with your first beer. Several guest taps hanging on the wall establish this brewpub as world class. House beers are impressive as well. Grab a seat at the bar or one of their tables and grab some beers. I had the Rye Ale which is a bright rye and cascade. Wow! An IPA and a double IPA that is Unfiltered. Nice! Hot hot (oy vey!) chicken tenders were HOT! yes!

Friendly folks and one of the brewmasters chatted it up with us. Even the standard "Gold" was sturdy. Quality brewpub through and through.

Last call: Yes, you could bring Mother here. Thanks Jimmy B for I would've never found it alone!

 840 characters

Photo of socon67
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Went here with a few friends for lunch on a Saturday.

A - Nice crowd of beer drinkers who enjoy qulaity beer. Very laid back and relaxed.

Q - Plenty of their own crafted brews plus plenty of guest taps.

S - Waiter allowed me to sample Brooklyn Concoation Ale since he had previous bad feedback. Servers know their beers and are helpful. Workers care about what they are doing.

Sel- 8 of their own beer plus about 25 taps of other good stuff including some one-offs. Plenty of options for the craft beer enthusiast.

F - Nice menu of options filled with appetizers, lunch choices and entrees. Even without the beer this place is a solid restaurant choice.

V - 4 people with samplers and pints plus lunch was $75. Very reasonably priced.

 740 characters

Photo of ecoboy
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Sat at the bar on a snowy night that had much of the state slowed to a crawl. Place was crawling with people who appreciated NTN, warm food and great beer. Bartender from Canada laughed that a snowstorm would scare so many off the streets.

But he also scored big points by pointing me to non-house beers that were worthy (Old Burnside Ten Penny Ale was a nice surprise.) You got it right guy, if I love beer, I'll be back even if Willamantic is so far off the interstates. You don't have to try to get me to drink Willamantic beers exclusively. On another trip through, the brewer himself was puttering behind the bar and when he heard the distance we had travelled, he offered an impromptu tour of his glassed-in brewery in the other room. I bet folks from Willamantic think every town tavern is this nice to strangers.

Their Red Letter IPA is another that shows restraint in the adding of hops, which I appreciate if my food isn't going to keep up with massive hops infusion. I also felt fortunate to try their "Willywhammer" barleywine sampler of '99, '01 and '02. '01 was my favorite.

 1,095 characters

Photo of grahuba
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

A diamond in the rough! Really! Willimantic is not the nicest city in the world but "WilliBrew" is definitely doing all it can to change that.

You'll notice as you drive up that it's a staggering, huge, old converted Post Office. You'll also notice that as you pull into the parking lot that there's usually not enough parking.

When you step inside they usually carry all the good "beeriodicals" - Yankee Brew News, Ale Street News, and even BA mag if you're lucky!

As you turn the corner there's the looong hallway style bar (and you'll also notice to the left the restaurant part as you come in the door) with tables to sit at as well. The long, dark wood old school bar is part of what makes the atmosphere almost perfect.

I suggest taking a seat at the bar as you'll get your beers quicker and can also order food. They have many, many taps (and I believe a few cask lines and nitro drafts) that are always offering up fine brews. If you're from out of town, I would try as many of their house offerings as possible - they're great.

Any of the food I've ever gotten has been delicious. I recommend the beer bread for starters (it comes with a creamy cinnamon butter), the hot buffalo/honey bbq wings, and any of their burgers for the entree.

You will not be disappointed with your experience here as they have a very friendly staff and knowledgeable bartenders.

 1,371 characters

Photo of NJBeer265
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of indiapaleale
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Willibrew is awesome.

Atmosphere is pretty amazing, this is an old post office...hence the postal theme with all the beers and food.

Food is very good, lots and lots of options. Try the garlic fries!

Beer, okay this is where this place obviously shines...

Lots of brewed in-house beers that are all pretty tasty. I had the rye ale which was excellent. Along with all of their house beers they also have a ton of awesome guest taps, way more than most brewpubs have. On 4/21 they had the ST Jahva, Brooklyn Intensified Chocolate Stout, Stoudts Maibock among a lot of other great ones.

Overall, this place does everything great...its a pub/bar/restaurant with awesome beer and great food. Its always packed and the staff are all very nice. Don't miss out...

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Willimantic Brewing Co. in Willimantic, CT
Brewery rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 663 ratings
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