HARTFORD — More beer tents, more games, more seating, more space. The Friday pop-up beer garden in Hartford’s Bushnell Park is getting bigger.
Hanging Hills Brewing Company and Hog River Brewing Company, both based in Hartford, launched the weekly event at the end of June with success. The two breweries offer their ales (and lagers) outside the Pumphouse Gallery. The site is transformed into a beer garden with live music and games from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
This week the beer garden is expanding in size, taking up more area around the Pumphouse. Earlier this week metal barricades were set up in anticipation of the event. The same space hosts an ice skating rink during the winter months.
“Working with the city was fantastic,” Hanging Hills Founder Joe Ploof said. From the mayor’s office to the DPW to the BPF to Julio Concepcion over at the Chamber of Commerce, all were on board from the start,” Ploof said. “They wished nothing but success for us and offered support when they could and when appropriate.”
When asked why the breweries were interested in this venture, Ploof gave a very enthusiastic response:
“You want to know why we’re doing this? Have you packed a lunch? On one hand, we’re doing this because we’re in business to find new ventures to bring steady cash flows into our bank account. On the other much larger hand, we’re doing the Bushnell Beer Garden as praxis. Beer is safe, it’s attractive, it brings people together. Judging by the comments section of any Hartford based legislative decisions or even on various social media networks, Hartford is often seen as a wart on the face of this state. And that’s an unfair viewpoint. Not only is it an economic driver for the suburban communities that surround it but the city is a cultural and artistic hub. There are so many beautiful people and businesses and buildings and, in our case, parks that are written off as part of urban blight. We want to change that by challenging the notion that there’s nothing to do in Hartford or that it’s dangerous here. We live in a beautiful, fun, energetic, youthful, vibrant place and the goal is to use the beer garden as a jump off to other points in the park, a stroll down Park Street, maybe head over to get some beef patties over at Scott’s, eat the best hummus I’ve ever had in my life (no hyperbole) over at Tangiers, or a world-class mixed drink at Little River, or a beer at either Hanging Hills or Hog River…the idea is to bring people here, rave about our city and then hope that they go explore on their own. And maybe, while we’re at it, give them a good time. That’s our hope anyway.”
The event is billed as family-friendly. Minors under 21 years of age are allowed entrance if accompanied by a legal guardian. Dogs are also welcome in the park. Harry’s Pizza also sells pizza and snacks.
Remaining Beer Garden Dates:
The group also plans to hold an Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, September 28.