NEW BRITAIN - Contortionists covered the floor of the Alvarium Beer Company Sunday morning, as hops and malts did their own balancing act in the brew kettles above.
Yoga teacher and Berlin native Kelly Murphy led 22 people through more than an hour of positions inside the taproom/brewery on John Downey Drive.
“My intention is to provide an environment people feel comfortable doing yoga in,” she explained of her studio choice. “You have leisure and fun mixed together here.”
Serene sounds replaced the loud punk music that usually fills the room. Meanwhile, head brewer Chris DeGasero conducted his Sunday morning business as usual.
“Yoga is introspective; it slows your thought process so you can focus on what’s in front of you,” he pointed out. “Craft beer is part of the slow food movement. Both things slow you down a bit.”
Co-owners and brothers-in-law Brian Bugnacki and Mike Larsen greeted participants after the class. People bustled up to the bar, eager to taste the Treewalker IPA, Kraftwerk Hefeweizen and other brews.
“We have this every few Sundays and attendance has been increasing,” taproom manager Kate Bugnacki said. “Right now I think we’re close to max capacity.”
Alvarium staff grew up together in Berlin. Childhood friends became business partners when they opened the brewery this past June.
Sunday was Farmington resident Brigit Rioual’s first time doing the “downward dog” position with giant steel brew kettles looming above.
“I practice yoga regularly,” Rioual said. “I thought it would be cool to try at a brewery. For me, yoga brings people together. This is a way to meet different people you wouldn’t meet in a studio.”
She was joined by mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and couples. Some were new to yoga, others new to craft beer.
Warren Weigel is well-versed in both.
“I used to do yoga a lot but I haven’t done it in a long time,” said Weigel, who lives in Rocky Hill.
He also happens to be a member of Alvarium’s Fellowship of the Hive Mug Club.
Sunday’s was a totally new experience for his girlfriend, Irene Matulis.
“Boy, do I need the workout,” she said after the class. “It was worth coming.”
Included in the ticket price was a pint of any beer on the tap list. Participants took advantage of this perk, lingering at the 10-Ton Bar, as it’s known, long after their yoga mats were rolled up.
“It just goes to show you, you can do yoga anywhere,” “Beertender” Alexis Ramirez said as she filled glasses with beers called New American Church, Gruff and Thug Cat.
Murphy instructs yoga classes at breweries across Central Connecticut. She’ll be returning to Alvarium sometime next month.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.