My brother, Michael, turned 21 last week and we celebrated the milestone at The Hops Company in Derby! The Hops Company is a great place for parties – in fact, it's where we celebrated my dad's 60th birthday in October.
The Hops Company – a beer garden with pizza and snacks served on site – is housed in the former Grassy Hill Lodge, a popular Connecticut wedding venue. Not only is the place a good size, but the building itself is beautiful and rustic, and the property includes a waterfall and gorgeous gazebo. (True to the property's original use, The Hops Company can be booked for weddings, too).
It's easy to host a party at The Hops Company. You can book space for a private party in the Cascade Lounge or Barn, or just walk in to the main lodge and snag some tables (which is what we did). We ordered pizza and salad from Zuppardi's (a West Haven gem that has an outpost at the Hops Company) and nachos from Snak, which also serves snacky party favorites like brats, kielbasa, and pierogies.
Zuppardi's serves New Haven-style pizza, so you know it's good. We ordered a first round of pies (ranging from cheese to meatball to my favorite, escarole & bean) and it was easy and quick to order a couple more pizzas when it was apparent our party was still hungry. I highly recommend the buffalo chicken pizza with ranch drizzle,
And the meaty meatball.
Another fun birthday tradition at the Hops Company is the boot. The birthday boy or girl (as long as the ID proves the celebration of his or her birthday) gets a free boot full of Octoberfest or Coors Light. We took advantage for our special 21-year-old.
There are dozens of craft beers on tap (after all, it is a beer garden). I had a Black Hog Denali Pale Ale (smooth and great with a slice of spicy buffalo chicken pizza!) and followed it with a Farmhouse Raspberry Cider by Embark Craft Ciderworks (delicious and tart).
We celebrated Mike's birthday last Wednesday, which also happens to be Trivia Night at The Hops Company. Our party split into teams and my team, Big Brains, came in third place! (We each won one flight glass of beer). It was a fun way to cap off a wonderful occasion!
Your turn: Have you ever been to The Hops Company?