While homebrewing and craft beers are taking the world by storm lately and even giving more people jobs, there really aren’t that many local brewshops, at least in Connecticut. Maltose Express in Monroe has been many people’s go-to shop for a long time. While they are indeed awesome, it’s not exactly around the corner for everyone when you just need to run out and grab a bag of hops.
This is where the Luck and Levity Brewshop comes in. Located on Court Street in downtown New Haven, it’s a much-needed haven for homebrewers, beer fans, and generally fun people alike. I popped in to pick up some brewing supplies and chat with owner Scott Vignola last weekend to see how it came about.
A New England native, Vignola most recently worked in the Peace Corps in Morocco and moved to New Haven shortly upon returning. He told me that he originally wanted to start a brewery, but in doing some research, opening a brewing shop seemed to be a better idea. His research primarily talking with people and seeing what people were looking for. Vignola says, “Everyone had a friend or family member who made beer”. So what better than to create a place to help out the homebrewers, and give beer fans a place to congregate in an atmosphere of barley and camaraderie?
The thing I like best about Luck and Levity is that it’s more than a place to buy brewing supplies. It’s a place to hang out. Vignola tells me that he wanted to “create something to serve the needs of people and act as a nexus”. There are a lot of social components at work here- if you’re not a brewer, it’s a wonderful place to come and hang out. and who knows? Maybe being surrounded by all those grains and brewpots will make you want to start making your own. The store stocks kits from Brooklyn Brew Shop that make a super-small batch of all-grain brew in a growler, perfect if you’re not sure about investing in larger-scale brewing gear yet. Or if you want to try a small batch of something new. I was eyeing their Coffee and Donut Stout kit myself.
There are also plans at work to offer people a brewing space. Vignola says that it will be different than a class on how to make beer. Continuing to follow the mantra of serving the needs of people, the brewing space would give people a chance to experiment and try making new beers that they are curious about but haven’t tried making at home yet. Using specific hops, or trying a unique style of beer are just a few examples of what these brewing workshops will entail.
Every Thursday evening is an open lounge from 6-8 PM where anyone can come, enjoy some beer, and chat about all things brew-related. There also plans for other upcoming events, such as a holiday party to celebrate the winter solstice, which will also be involved in a local charity. If the two-day grand opening celebration is any indication, the upcoming events at Luck and Levity will definitely be a great party. The folks there snapped a picture of me grinding my grains during the grand opening!
A simple statement from Vignola- “Beer is cool.” He goes on that there is a “long history of appreciating fermented products”. Craft breweries are growing, and in turn people want to make their own beer. Going back in history, Vignola says “every town had their own brewery”. Every town may not have their own brewery anymore, but I think every town should have a place like Luck and Levity for beer-lovers to congregate outside of a bar.