Hops, Ales, and Lagers at Norwalk's Urban Core Restaurants and Pubs

Andrew Dominick

Do you find yourself going to the same craft beer bar over and over again? It’s OK to have a favorite. But we’re betting there are more than a few restaurants and pubs in Norwalk that you may have glossed over when thinking “CRAFT.” Craft beer bars are not all the same, and they don’t have to boast a 50+ beer list. Some are unique in their own way, whether they offer a more concise list or a rotating one. Maybe they’re more international or they focus on a few must-haves. Many simply offer quality brews in a relaxed environment and there are those that are prime for Sunday Fundays and football watching over a pint or two.

Here’s a rundown of what’s special about the taps at these Norwalk businesses.

Killer B, 80 Washington Street

You know about their beast-sized burgers and whole lobsters stuffed with mac and cheese, but their beer lineup may be Norwalk’s best-kept secret. “Beer” is one of Killer B’s staples—the others being burgers, bacon, and bourbon—and restauranteur Greg Pettinella says there’s a real focus on craft beer here. What you’ll see on their beer list is a concentration of East Coast breweries, with enough Connecticut selections to keep the locals happy. Variety is key too, with no overabundance of a particular style. Another tidbit you likely didn’t know before is that Killer B updates their 20-deep draft list daily on Untappd. Check out Killer B and Johnny Utah’s, their sister bar and gathering place next door, for an abundance of large screen TVs to catch the games on.

O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, 93 N Main Street

Norwalk’s premiere Irish pub has recently hopped on the craft brew train dedicating a line to NEBCO’s Sea Hag and another that’s reserved for the ever-changing Two Roads beer varieties, and others scattered about their 13 taps. Make no mistake; they will ALWAYS carry three popular Irish beers in Smithwick’s, Harp, and Guinness behind the bar, customer favorites. Their perfect Guinness pours have earned mad respect. It starts by having the correct blender, a temperature appropriate draft system (around 40 degrees), and by pouring it in a sparkling clean Guinness glass, resting it close to two minutes, then topping it off with more of the famed stout for a creamy head. O’Neill’s is the proper pub in which to kick back, catch a game with friends, and down multiple pints. Looking for a current list? Check out O’Neill’s on BeerMenus.

The Spread, 70 N Main Street

The Spread will never pretend to be a craft beer haven, but it’s not trying to be. At the end of the day, it’s a damn fine restaurant. However, they knew that their bar crowd wanted something more than the generic stuff. Sure, they keep Connecticut gems like Sea Hag, Thimble Island Amber Ale, and Two Roads Road 2 Ruin on almost always, and they keep Guinness, Stella, and a Brooklyn Brewery seasonal around as well. Lately, they’ve stepped their game up with the remaining two taps. Bartender Kyle Mastropietro tells us that they did it for the self-proclaimed. beer geeks, so those two “Beer of the Moment” spots will be taken by rotatable area IPA favorites like Two Roads Two Juicy, Thomas Hooker #nofilter, and Lawson’s Finest (brewed at Two Roads) Sip of Sunshine and Super Session #2 and #8.

Peaches Southern Pub & Juke Joint, 7 Wall Street

A legit Southern food restaurant and live music venue that has an extensive craft beer list? Sign me up! Your mind might immediately jump to conclusions, thinking Peaches might have an array of beers produced south of the Mason-Dixon line, but at the end of the day, their brews scream New England, with other lines dedicated to Tri-state area breweries. New England Brewing, Thimble Island, Two Roads, and Captain Lawrence make regular appearances, but you’ll also see Maine Brewing, Clown Shoes, and Narragansett represented. In addition to the good ol’ standbys and a line reserved for something seasonal and something southern, according to beverage director Thomas Siano, the list as a whole is all-encompassing. “We try to please a wide array of palates (with styles),” he said. “and fill some niches with New Belgium Fat Tire, Evil Twin, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog. We bring in special seasonal bottles on a regular basis.”