By Jean De Ieso
Following the recommendation of my son Angelo, a hot summer Sunday afternoon found us in Willimantic, CT to check out the Main Street Café at Willimantic Brewing Company.
Entering Willimantic, the former Thread Capital of the World, we were greeted by the famous bronze frogs which sit atop the concrete spools of thread on the City Crossing Bridge. Now only a shadow of its former glory, Willimantic is struggling to re-invent itself. Located in the city are Eastern Connecticut State University, several artist co-ops, Windham Textile and History Museum, many restored painted Victorian mansions, and last but certainly least, Willimantic Brewery.
Upon arrival at the Café, once the city’s Post Office, we were seated in the Main Street patio, shaded by large umbrellas and greeting by waitress Danielle who was more than willing to offer recommendations. My companion ordered the Certified Gold, the brewery’s flagship bright golden ale balanced with Munich malt and Goldings hops, with a touch of Hallertau hops for a pleasant aroma. At 4.7% ABV, it offered a refreshing prequel to lunch. My choice was the much heartier Salacious Saison, an unfiltered Farmhouse Saison with Pilsner and Vienna malts hopped with Lomik and spiced with Juniper berries, cardamom, peppercorns and lemongrass. At 7.3% ABV, it packed a delightful complexity and robustness that carried over throughout the hot afternoon.
Lunch, of course, was delicious, with many choices to delight the pallet. A lazy, relaxing, and perfect afternoon would best describe our time spent at Willimantic Brewery with a strong recommendation for anyone in the vicinity to stop in. Most assuredly, we will return when in the vicinity, or as we did, make it one of our favorite day trip destinations.