Nod Hill Brewery targets late October opening
By Chris BosakUpdated
Nod Hill Brewery will soon be added to Fairfield County’s suddenly burgeoning micro-brewery scene.
The business, owned by the father-son team of Robert and Dave Kaye and named after the hill that rises behind the brewery in Ridgefield, is scheduled to open in late October. The beer vats are operating already but the owners are awaiting final state permits to open the taproom.
Robert Kaye, a Redding resident, purchased Riverside Fence in 2006 following a career in sports merchandising. Dave, a Newtown resident and 2002 graduate of Joel Barlow High School, has worked at the fence company for years and knows what it is like to work with his father. Nod Hill Brewery is located in the same building as Riverside Fence at 137 Ethan Allen Highway (Route 7).
“We get along fine,” Dave Kaye said. “It’s been pleasant and fun working on this. We’re working on something we’re passionate about and having a great time creating this.”
They started brewing at home, but the hobby quickly outgrew the confines of the kitchen and they moved the operation outdoors. They refined the process to the point where they entered their home brews in regional contests.
The move to the commercial 10-barrel brewing system Nod Hill is using was too large a leap for the Kayes to tackle on their own so they sought out a head brewer to oversee the beer-making operation. They found Kyle Acenowr, who for the past three years was a brewer at The North Brewery in Endicott, N.Y.
“I’m looking to brew beers that are flavorful and have no flaws,” Acenowr said. “They’ll be easily palatable so everyone can enjoy them, whether they are new to beer drinking or beer enthusiasts.”
Acenowr said the water Nod Hill Brewery is using is soft and low in minerality, which is easily manipulated for the various styles of beer that will be brewed there. Acenowr said he was most known for his stouts at The North Brewery.
Nod Hill Brewery has a golden ale and hoppy pale ale ready to go. Other varieties, including an IPA and a darker brew, will be ready for the late October opening, Dave Kaye said. Nod Hill Brewery will have six taps featuring two or three beer varieties that will always be available, in addition to a few seasonal or limited edition brews.
“It’s a passion of ours,” Rob Kaye said. “We love good beer and felt we could bring something good to the local area.”
The taproom at Nod Hill Brewery, which will seat about 60 people, will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m. on Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. There will not be a kitchen at Nod Hill, but snacks will be sold. The Kayes are working with the town of Ridgefield for permission to have a food truck on the premises.
“We want to have something more substantial than potato chips,” Dave Kaye said.
Nod Hill Brewery hired Danbury-based New Antiquity to design the taproom. Owned by Sarah Bader and Matt Rink, New Antiquity often blends old and new styles, and makes use of reclaimed and sustainably harvested wood.
Bader described the decor as new traditionalism with a mix of “historic elements and modern organic elements,” such as eastern pine live edge planks along the wall and six chandeliers that Bader created.
“It’s refined and fun,” Bader said, adding descriptions such as alchemistic and whimsical.
Dave Kaye added: “There’s a touch of elegance. That’s not seen in a lot of brewery rooms.”
Nod Hill Brewery will sell its beer in draft form at its taproom and local bars and restaurants. Its taproom will offer flights, half pours, full pours and growlers to go. The Kayes plan to eventually bottle and can varieties to sell out of its brewery.
The plan contrasts with Redding Beer Co., which will open on Main Street in Georgetown on Oct. 14, and plans to sell only draft at its taproom. It also contrasts with Charter Oak Brewing, which plans an early 2018 opening in Danbury. Charter Oak is already established in liquor stores throughout the state.
Another brewery, Broken Symmetry Gastro Brewery, is scheduled to open soon in Bethel.
“It’s a pretty exciting time. There is a good sense of community in the brewing world,” Dave Kaye said. “It’s good for all of us because it creates a beer tourism destination.”
Rob Kaye added: “Because of the proliferation (of breweries) we felt we had to do it now. We’ve been planning this for three years. That’s the fun thing about this business. Every other business I’ve been in is very competitive. Here, everybody is supportive and wants each other to do well. It’s refreshing.”
To reach Nod Hill Brewery, call 203-617-1191.
The writer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 203-731-3338.