NORWALK – There’s a new microbrewery in town. Spacecat Brewing, which had its grand opening on Friday, is now serving craft beer made in-house at its Chestnut St. location, by owner James Bloom, operations manager Jeff Dunn and head brewer Roger Krackow, formerly of Two Roads Brewing in Stratford.
High vaulted ceilings and many-windowed walls – all throwbacks to when the space was the main factory of the J. & J. mill – punctuate the newly-renovated space. Brewing tanks and kettles visually star, set up behind the bar where visitors can watch staff work their magic while they sip on flights or eat snacks purchased from a food truck on the Edison-bulbed back patio.
“I want people to make their way down Chestnut Street, which doesn’t happen all that often,” Bloom said from behind the bar before opening on Sunday, “and sit with one of our beers and experience everything that is South Norwalk.”
Bloom explained, “You can’t have South Norwalk without industrial revival.”
Spacecat started as an idea dreamed up by Bloom and Dunn when they were working at an insurance company in Darien and starting to feel the ‘get me out of this desk chair’ itch. Dunn would introduce Bloom to homebrewing — the beginning of a lasting partnership.
When they found the old mill building, which has also housed the Pac-Kit company and served as a storage room for Coastwise Boat Works, among other things since the 1900s, they knew they had something special.
Patrons enjoy the selection on opening night
“It was filled up with boat parts and engines, so we had to do some imagining, but we could see that it could really be something,” Bloom says. The duo broke ground in December 2020, opening for business less than a year later.
For now, Spacecat Brewing has 7 beers on offer, ranging from the mango-forward kettle-soured “Cosmic Candy” to the full bodied “Felix” IPA — a favorite on opening night. But Bloom said they plan to make a regular practice of brewing new recipes.
Bloom said the partners also plan on making Spacecat a community affair.
“Really, the whole point of being a business in a small-ish town is that you know other business owners and you want to support each other and the people who live here,” said Bloom. “We want to do events, and tastings, and all of those kinds of things.”
For now, beer drinkers can visit Spacecat, enjoy the vibe, the beer, and the food by Norwalk-based Knot Norms Catering Company.
You can take Spacecat’s beer home with you, as well, with every beer on tap available by the crowler. Bloom said they eventually plan to get their beer in stores, but for now they’re focused on giving people the experience of beer at its freshest, in the place where it’s made.
“I want people to experience this,” Bloom says. “I want them to associate the space with the beer, and if we ever appear on the store shelves they’ll grab it there and they’ll remember that they had a great experience here, in this building that really embodies so much of what South Norwalk is.”
You (and your dog) can visit Spacecat Brewing Co. in SoNo
Open: Friday – Saturday, 2pm-10pm, and Sunday 12-6pm.
Where: 57 Chestnut St., Norwalk, CT